Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Later works of Titian by Claude Phillips

Part 1 out of 2

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.




Keeper of the Wallace Collection


[Illustration: Titian. From a photograph by G. Brogi.]




Portrait of Titian, by himself. Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Frontispiece

La Bella di Tiziano. Pitti Palace, Florence.

Titian's daughter Lavinia. Berlin Gallery.

The Cornaro Family. Collection of the Duke of Northumberland.


Drawing of St. Jerome. British Museum.

Landscape with Stag. Collection of Professor Legros.


Madonna and Child with St. Catherine and St. John the Baptist. In the
National Gallery.

Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici. Pitti Palace, Florence.

Francis the First. Louvre.

Portrait of a Nobleman. Pitti Palace, Florence.

S. Giovanni Elemosinario giving Alms. In the Church of that name at

The Girl in the Fur Cloak. Imperial Gallery, Vienna.

Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino. Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

The Battle of Cadore (from a reduced copy of part only). Uffizi Gallery,

The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. Accademia delle Belle
Arti, Venice.

The Magdalen. Pitti Palace, Florence.

The Infant Daughter of Roberto Strozzi. Royal Gallery, Berlin.

Ecce Homo. Imperial Gallery, Vienna

Aretino. Pitti Palace, Florence

Pope Paul III. with Cardinal Farnese and Ottavio Farnese. Naples Gallery

Danae and the Golden Rain. Naples Gallery

Charles V. at the Battle of Muehlberg. Gallery of the Prado, Madrid

Venus with the Mirror. Gallery of the Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Christ crowned with Thorns. Louvre

The Rape of Europa

Portrait of Titian, by himself. Gallery of the Prado, Madrid

St. Jerome in the Desert. Gallery of the Brera, Milan

The Education of Cupid. Gallery of the Villa Borghese, Rome

Religion succoured by Spain. Gallery of the Prado, Madrid

Portrait of the Antiquary Jacopo da Strada. Imperial Gallery, Vienna

Madonna and Child. Collection of Mr. Ludwig Mond

Christ crowned with Thorns. Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Pieta. By Titian and Palma Giovine. Accademia delle Belle Arti, Venice



_Friendship with Aretino--Its effect on Titian's art--Characteristics of
the middle period--"Madonna with St. Catherine" of National
Gallery--Portraits not painted from life--"Magdalen" of the Pitti--First
Portrait of Charles V.--Titian the painter, par excellence, of
aristocratic traits--The "d'Avalos Allegory"--Portrait of Cardinal
Ippolito de' Medici--S. Giovanni Elemosinario altar-piece._

Having followed Titian as far as the year 1530, rendered memorable by
that sensational, and, of its kind, triumphant achievement, _The
Martyrdom of St. Peter the Dominican_, we must retrace our steps some
three years in order to dwell a little upon an incident which must
appear of vital importance to those who seek to understand Titian's
life, and, above all, to follow the development of his art during the
middle period of splendid maturity reaching to the confines of old age.
This incident is the meeting with Pietro Aretino at Venice in 1527, and
the gradual strengthening by mutual service and mutual inclination of
the bonds of a friendship which is to endure without break until the
life of the Aretine comes, many years later, to a sudden and violent
end. Titian was at that time fifty years of age, and he might thus be
deemed to have over-passed the age of sensuous delights. Yet it must be
remembered that he was in the fullest vigour of manhood, and had only
then arrived at the middle point of a career which, in its untroubled
serenity, was to endure for a full half-century more, less a single
year. Three years later on, that is to say in the middle of August
1530, the death of his wife Cecilia, who had borne to him Pomponio,
Orazio, and Lavinia, left him all disconsolate, and so embarrassed with
the cares of his young family that he was compelled to appeal to his
sister Orsa, who thereupon came from Cadore to preside over his
household. The highest point of celebrity, of favour with princes and
magnates, having been attained, and a certain royalty in Venetian art
being already conceded to him, there was no longer any obstacle to the
organising of a life in which all the refinements of culture and all the
delights of sense were to form the most agreeable relief to days of
continuous and magnificently fruitful labour. It is just because
Titian's art of this great period of some twenty years so entirely
accords with what we know, and may legitimately infer, to have been his
life at this time, that it becomes important to consider the friendship
with Aretino and the rise of the so-called Triumvirate, which was a kind
of Council of Three, having as its _raison d'etre_ the mutual
furtherance of material interests, and the pursuit of art, love, and
pleasure. The third member of the Triumvirate was Jacopo Tatti or del
Sansovino, the Florentine sculptor, whose fame and fortune were so far
above his deserts as an artist. Coming to Venice after the sack of Rome,
which so entirely for the moment disorganised art and artists in the
pontifical city, he elected to remain there notwithstanding the pressing
invitations sent to him by Francis the First to take service with him.
In 1529 he was appointed architect of San Marco, and he then by his
adhesion completed the Triumvirate which was to endure for more than a
quarter of a century.

It has always excited a certain sense of distrust in Titian, and caused
the world to form a lower estimate of his character than it would
otherwise have done, that he should have been capable of thus living in
the closest and most fraternal intimacy with a man so spotted and in
many ways so infamous as Aretino. Without precisely calling Titian to
account in set terms, his biographers Crowe and Cavalcaselle, and above
all M. Georges Lafenestre in _La Vie et L'Oeuvre du Titien_, have
relentlessly raked up Aretino's past before he came together with the
Cadorine, and as pitilessly laid bare that organised system of
professional sycophancy, adulation, scurrilous libel, and blackmail,
which was the foundation and the backbone of his life of outward pomp
and luxurious ease at Venice. By them, as by his other biographers, he
has been judged, not indeed unjustly, yet perhaps too much from the
standard of our own time, too little from that of his own. With all his
infamies, Aretino was a man whom sovereigns and princes, nay even
pontiffs, delighted to honour, or rather to distinguish by honours. The
Marquess Federigo Gonzaga of Mantua, the Duke Guidobaldo II. of Urbino,
among many others, showed themselves ready to propitiate him; and such a
man as Titian the worldly-wise, the lover of splendid living to whom
ample means and the fruitful favour of the great were a necessity; who
was grasping yet not avaricious, who loved wealth chiefly because it
secured material consideration and a life of serene enjoyment; such a
man could not be expected to rise superior to the temptations presented
by a friendship with Aretino, or to despise the immense advantages which
it included. As he is revealed by his biographers, and above all by
himself, Aretino was essentially "good company." He could pass off his
most flagrant misdeeds, his worst sallies, with a certain large and
Rabelaisian gaiety; if he made money his chief god, it was to spend it
in magnificent clothes and high living, but also at times with an
intelligent and even a beneficent liberality. He was a fine though not
an unerring connoisseur of art, he had a passionate love of music, and
an unusually exquisite perception of the beauties of Nature.

To hint that the lower nature of the man corrupted that of Titian, and
exercised a disintegrating influence over his art, would be to go far
beyond the requirements of the case. The great Venetian, though he might
at this stage be much nearer to earth than in those early days when he
was enveloped in the golden glow of Giorgione's overmastering influence,
could never have lowered himself to the level of those too famous
_Sonetti Lussuriosi_ which brought down the vengeance of even a Medici
Pope (Clement VII.) upon Aretino the writer, Giulio Romano the
illustrator, and Marcantonio Raimondi the engraver. Gracious and
dignified in sensuousness he always remained even when, as at this
middle stage of his career, the vivifying shafts of poetry no longer
pierced through, and transmuted with their vibration of true passion,
the fair realities of life. He could never have been guilty of the
frigid and calculated indecency of a Giulio Romano; he could not have
cast aside all conventional restraints, of taste as well as of
propriety, as Rubens and even Rembrandt did on occasion; but as Van
Dyck, the child of Titian almost as much as he was the child of Rubens,
ever shrank from doing. Still the ease and splendour of the life at Biri
Grande--that pleasant abode with its fair gardens overlooking Murano,
the Lagoons, and the Friulan Alps, to which Titian migrated in 1531--the
Epicureanism which saturated the atmosphere, the necessity for keeping
constantly in view the material side of life, all these things operated
to colour the creations which mark this period of Titian's practice, at
which he has reached the apex of pictorial achievement, but shows
himself too serene in sensuousness, too unruffled in the masterly
practice of his profession to give to the heart the absolute
satisfaction that he affords to the eyes. This is the greatest test of
genius of the first order--to preserve undimmed in mature manhood and
old age the gift of imaginative interpretation which youth and love
give, or lend, to so many who, buoyed up by momentary inspiration, are
yet not to remain permanently in the first rank. With Titian at this
time supreme ability is not invariably illumined from within by the lamp
of genius; the light flashes forth nevertheless, now and again, and most
often in those portraits of men of which the sublime _Charles V. at
Muehlberg_ is the greatest. Towards the end the flame will rise once more
and steadily burn, with something on occasion of the old heat, but with
a hue paler and more mysterious, such as may naturally be the outward
symbol of genius on the confines of eternity.

The second period, following upon the completion of the _St. Peter
Martyr_, is one less of great altar-pieces and _poesie_ such as the
miscalled _Sacred and Profane Love_ (_Medea and Venus_), the
_Bacchanals_, and the _Bacchus and Ariadne_, than it is of splendid
nudities and great portraits. In the former, however mythological be the
subject, it is generally chosen but to afford a decent pretext for the
generous display of beauty unveiled. The portraits are at this stage
less often intimate and soul-searching in their summing up of a human
personality than they are official presentments of great personages and
noble dames; showing them, no doubt, without false adulation or cheap
idealisation, yet much as they desire to appear to their allies, their
friends, and their subjects, sovereign in natural dignity and
aristocratic grace, yet essentially in a moment of representation.
Farther on the great altar-pieces reappear more sombre, more agitated in
passion, as befits the period of the sixteenth century in which
Titian's latest years are passed, and the patrons for whom he paints. Of
the _poesie_ there is then a new upspringing, a new efflorescence, and
we get by the side of the _Venus and Adonis_, the _Diana and Actaeon_,
the _Diana and Calisto_, the _Rape of Europa_, such pieces of a more
exquisite and penetrating poetry as the _Venere del Pardo_ of Paris, and
the _Nymph and Shepherd_ of Vienna.

This appears to be the right place to say a word about the magnificent
engraving by Van Dalen of a portrait, no longer known to exist, but
which has, upon the evidence apparently of the print, been put down as
that of Titian by himself. It represents a bearded man of some
thirty-five years, dressed in a rich but sombre habit, and holding a
book. The portrait is evidently not that of a painter by himself, nor
does it represent Titian at any age; but it finely suggests, even in
black and white, a noble original by the master. Now, a comparison with
the best authenticated portrait of Aretino, the superb three-quarter
length painted in 1545, and actually at the Pitti Palace, reveals
certain marked similarities of feature and type, notwithstanding the
very considerable difference of age between the personages represented.
Very striking is the agreement of eye and nose in either case, while in
the younger as in the older man we note an idiosyncrasy in which
vigorous intellect as well as strong sensuality has full play. Van
Dalen's engraving very probably reproduces one of the lost portraits of
Aretino by Titian. In Crowe and Cavalcaselle's _Biography_ (vol. i. pp.
317-319) we learn from correspondence interchanged in the summer of 1527
between Federigo Gonzaga, Titian, and Aretino, that the painter, in
order to propitiate the Mantuan ruler, sent to him with a letter, the
exaggerated flattery of which savours of Aretino's precept and example,
portraits of the latter and of Signor Hieronimo Adorno, another
"faithful servant" of the Marquess. Now Aretino was born in 1492, so
that in 1527 he would be thirty-five, which appears to be just about the
age of the vigorous and splendid personage in Van Dalen's print.

Some reasons were given in the former section of this monograph[1] for
the assertion that the _Madonna with St. Catherine_, mentioned in a
letter from Giacomo Malatesta to the Marchese Federigo Gonzaga, dated
February 1530, was not, as is assumed by Crowe and Cavalcaselle, the
_Madonna del Coniglio_ of the Louvre, but the _Madonna and Child with
St. John the Baptist and St. Catherine_, which is No. 635 at the
National Gallery.[2] Few pictures of the master have been more
frequently copied and adapted than this radiantly beautiful piece, in
which the dominant chord of the scheme of colour is composed by the
cerulean blues of the heavens and the Virgin's entire dress, the deep
luscious greens of the landscape, and the peculiar, pale, citron hue,
relieved with a crimson girdle, of the robe worn by the St. Catherine, a
splendid Venetian beauty of no very refined type or emotional intensity.
Perfect repose and serenity are the keynote of the conception, which in
its luxuriant beauty has little of the power to touch that must be
conceded to the more naive and equally splendid _Madonna del
Coniglio_.[3] It is above all in the wonderful Venetian landscape--a
mountain-bordered vale, along which flocks and herds are being driven,
under a sky of the most intense blue--that the master shows himself
supreme. Nature is therein not so much detailed as synthesised with a
sweeping breadth which makes of the scene not the reflection of one
beautiful spot in the Venetian territory, but without loss of essential
truth or character a very type of Venetian landscape of the sixteenth
century. These herdsmen and their flocks, and also the note of warning
in the sky of supernatural splendour, recall the beautiful Venetian
storm-landscape in the royal collection at Buckingham Palace. This has
been very generally attributed to Titian himself,[4] and described as
the only canvas still extant in which he has made landscape his one and
only theme. It has, indeed, a rare and mysterious power to move, a true
poetry of interpretation. A fleeting moment, full of portent as well as
of beauty, has been seized; the smile traversed by a frown of the stormy
sky, half overshadowing half revealing the wooded slopes, the rich
plain, and the distant mountains, is rendered with a rare felicity. The
beauty is, all the same, in the conception and in the thing actually
seen--much less in the actual painting. It is hardly possible to
convince oneself, comparing the work with such landscape backgrounds as
those in this picture at the National Gallery in the somewhat earlier
_Madonna del Coniglio_, and the gigantic _St. Peter Martyr_, or, indeed,
in a score of other genuine productions, that the depth, the vigour, the
authority of Titian himself are here to be recognised. The weak
treatment of the great Titianesque tree in the foreground, with its too
summarily indicated foliage--to select only one detail that comes
naturally to hand--would in itself suffice to bring such an attribution
into question.

[Illustration: _Madonna and Child with St. Catherine and St. John the
Baptist. National Gallery. From a Photograph by Morelli._]

Vasari states, speaking confessedly from hearsay, that in 1530, the
Emperor Charles V. being at Bologna, Titian was summoned thither by
Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, using Aretino as an intermediary, and
that he on that occasion executed a most admirable portrait of His
Majesty, all in arms, which had so much success that the artist received
as a present a thousand scudi. Crowe and Cavalcaselle, however, adduce
strong evidence to prove that Titian was busy in Venice for Federigo
Gonzaga at the time of the Emperor's first visit, and that he only
proceeded to Bologna in July to paint for the Marquess of Mantua the
portrait of a Bolognese beauty, _La Cornelia_, the lady-in-waiting of
the Countess Pepoli, whom Covas, the all-powerful political secretary of
Charles the Fifth, had seen and admired at the splendid entertainments
given by the Pepoli to the Emperor. Vasari has in all probability
confounded this journey of Charles in 1530 with that subsequent one
undertaken in 1532 when Titian not only portrayed the Emperor, but also
painted an admirable likeness of Ippolito de' Medici presently to be
described. He had the bad luck on this occasion to miss the lady
Cornelia, who had retired to Nuvolara, indisposed and not in good face.
The letter written by our painter to the Marquess in connection with
this incident[5] is chiefly remarkable as affording evidence of his too
great anxiety to portray the lady without approaching her, relying
merely on the portrait, "che fece quel altro pittore della detta
Cornelia"; of his unwillingness to proceed to Nuvolara, unless the
picture thus done at second hand should require alteration. In truth we
have lighted here upon one of Titian's most besetting sins, this
willingness, this eagerness, when occasion offers, to paint portraits
without direct reference to the model. In this connection we are
reminded that he never saw Francis the First, whose likeness he
notwithstanding painted with so showy and superficial a magnificence as
to make up to the casual observer for the absence of true vitality;[6]
that the Empress Isabella, Charles V.'s consort, when at the behest of
the monarch he produced her sumptuous but lifeless and empty portrait,
now in the great gallery of the Prado, was long since dead. He
consented, basing his picture upon a likeness of much earlier date, to
paint Isabella d'Este Gonzaga as a young woman when she was already an
old one, thereby flattering an amiable and natural weakness in this
great princess and unrivalled dilettante, but impairing his own
position as an artist of supreme rank.[7] It is not necessary to include
in this category the popular _Caterina Cornaro_ of the Uffizi, since it
is confessedly nothing but a fancy portrait, making no reference to the
true aspect at any period of the long-since deceased queen of Cyprus,
and, what is more, no original Titian, but at the utmost an atelier
piece from his _entourage_. Take, however, as an instance the _Francis
the First_, which was painted some few years later than the time at
which we have now arrived, and at about the same period as the _Isabella
d'Este_. Though as a _portrait d'apparat_ it makes its effect, and
reveals the sovereign accomplishment of the master, does it not shrink
into the merest insignificance when compared with such renderings from
life as the successive portraits of _Charles the Fifth_, the _Ippolito
de' Medici_, the _Francesco Maria della Rovere_? This is as it must and
should be, and Titian is not the less great, but the greater, because he
cannot convincingly evolve at second hand the true human individuality,
physical and mental, of man or woman.

It was in the earlier part of 1531 that Titian painted for Federigo
Gonzaga a _St. Jerome_ and a _St. Mary Magdalene_, destined for the
famous Vittoria Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara, who had expressed to
the ruler of Mantua the desire to possess such a picture. Gonzaga writes
to the Marchioness on March 11, 1831[8]:--"Ho subito mandate a Venezia e
scritto a Titiano, quale e forse il piu eccellente in quell' arte che a
nostri tempi si ritrovi, ed e tutto mio, ricercandolo con grande
instantia a volerne fare una bella lagrimosa piu che si so puo, e
farmela haver presto." The passage is worth quoting as showing the
estimation in which Titian was held at a court which had known and still
knew the greatest Italian masters of the art.

It is not possible at present to identify with any extant painting the
_St. Jerome_, of which we know that it hung in the private apartments
of the Marchioness Isabella at Mantua. The writer is unable to accept
Crowe and Cavalcaselle's suggestion that it may be the fine moonlight
landscape with St. Jerome in prayer which is now in the Long Gallery of
the Louvre. This piece, if indeed it be by Titian, which is by no means
certain, must belong to his late time. The landscape, which is marked by
a beautiful and wholly unconventional treatment of moonlight, for which
it would not be easy to find a parallel in the painting of the time, is
worthy of the Cadorine, and agrees well, especially in the broad
treatment of foliage, with, for instance, the background in the late
_Venus and Cupid_ of the Tribuna.[9] The figure of St. Jerome, on the
other hand, does not in the peculiar tightness of the modelling, or in
the flesh-tints, recall Titian's masterly synthetic way of going to work
in works of this late period. The noble _St. Jerome_ of the Brera, which
indubitably belongs to a well-advanced stage in the late time, will be
dealt with in its right place. Though it does not appear probable that
we have, in the much-admired _Magdalen_ of the Pitti, the picture here
referred to--this last having belonged to Francesco Maria della Rovere,
Duke of Urbino, and representing, to judge by style, a somewhat more
advanced period in the painter's career--it may be convenient to mention
it here. As an example of accomplished brush-work, of handling careful
and yet splendid in breadth, it is indeed worthy of all admiration. The
colours of the fair human body, the marvellous wealth of golden blond
hair, the youthful flesh glowing semi-transparent, and suggesting the
rush of the blood beneath; these are also the colours of the picture,
aided only by the indefinite landscape and the deep blue sky of the
background. If this were to be accepted as the _Magdalen_ painted for
Federigo Gonzaga, we must hold, nevertheless, that Titian with his
masterpiece of painting only half satisfied the requirements of his
patron. _Bellissima_ this Magdalen undoubtedly is, but hardly _lagrimosa
pin che si puo_. She is a _belle pecheresse_ whose repentance sits all
too lightly upon her, whose consciousness of a physical charm not easily
to be withstood is hardly disguised. Somehow, although the picture in
no way oversteps the bounds of decency, and cannot be objected to even
by the most over-scrupulous, there is latent in it a jarring note of
unrefinement in the presentment of exuberant youth and beauty which we
do not find in the more avowedly sensuous _Venus of the Tribuna_. This
last is an avowed act of worship by the artist of the naked human body,
and as such, in its noble frankness, free from all offence, except to
those whose scruples in matters of art we are not here called upon to
consider. From this _Magdalen_ to that much later one of the Hermitage,
which will be described farther on, is a great step upwards, and it is a
step which, in passing from the middle to the last period, we shall more
than once find ourselves taking.

[Illustration: ST. JEROME. PEN DRAWING BY TITIAN (?) _British Museum_.]

It is impossible to give even in outline here an account of Titian's
correspondence and business relations with his noble and royal patrons,
instructive as it is to follow these out, and to see how, under the
influence of Aretino, his natural eagerness to grasp in every direction
at material advantages is sharpened; how he becomes at once more humble
and more pressing, covering with the manner and the tone appropriate to
courts the reiterated demands of the keen and indefatigable man of
business. It is the less necessary to attempt any such account in these
pages--dealing as we are chiefly with the work and not primarily with
the life of Titian--seeing that in Crowe and Cavalcaselle's admirable
biography this side of the subject, among many others, is most patiently
and exhaustively dealt with.

In 1531 we read of a _Boy Baptist_ by Titian sent by Aretino to Maximian
Stampa, an imperialist partisan in command of the castle of Milan. The
donor particularly dwells upon "the beautiful curl of the Baptist's
hair, the fairness of his skin, etc.," a description which recalls to
us, in striking fashion, the little St. John in the _Virgin and Child
with St. Catherine_ of the National Gallery, which belongs, as has been
shown, to the same time.

It was on the occasion of the second visit of the Emperor and his court
to Bologna at the close of 1532 that Titian first came in personal
contact with Charles V., and obtained from that monarch his first
sitting. In the course of an inspection, with Federigo Gonzaga himself
as cicerone, of the art treasures preserved in the palace at Mantua, the
Emperor saw the portrait by Titian of Federigo, and was so much struck
with it, so intent upon obtaining a portrait of himself from the same
brush, that the Marquess wrote off at once pressing our master to join
him without delay in his capital. Titian preferred, however, to go
direct to Bologna in the train of his earlier patron Alfonso d'Este. It
was on this occasion that Charles's all-powerful secretary, the greedy,
overbearing Covos, exacted as a gift from the agents of the Duke of
Ferrara, among other things, a portrait of Alfonso himself by Titian;
and in all probability obtained also a portrait from the same hand of
Ercole d'Este, the heir-apparent. There is evidence to show that the
portrait of Alfonso was at once handed over to, or appropriated by, the

Whether this was the picture described by Vasari as representing the
prince with his arm resting on a great piece of artillery, does not
appear. Of this last a copy exists in the Pitti Gallery which Crowe and
Cavalcaselle have ascribed to Dosso Dossi, but the original is nowhere
to be traced. The Ferrarese ruler is, in this last canvas, depicted as a
man of forty or upwards, of resolute and somewhat careworn aspect. It
has already been demonstrated, on evidence furnished by Herr Carl Justi,
that the supposed portrait of Alfonso, in the gallery of the Prado at
Madrid, cannot possibly represent Titian's patron at any stage of his
career, but in all probability, like the so-called _Giorgio Cornaro_ of
Castle Howard, is a likeness of his son and successor, Ercole II.

Titian's first portrait of the Emperor, a full-length in which he
appeared in armour with a generalissimo's baton of command, was taken in
1556 from Brussels to Madrid, after the formal ceremony of abdication,
and perished, it would appear, in one of the too numerous fires which
have devastated from time to time the royal palaces of the Spanish
capital and its neighbourhood. To the same period belongs, no doubt, the
noble full-length of Charles in gala court costume which now hangs in
the _Sala de la Reina Isabel_ in the Prado Gallery, as a pendant to
Titian's portrait of Philip II. in youth. Crowe and Cavalcaselle assume
that not this picture, but a replica, was the one which found its way
into Charles I.'s collection, and was there catalogued by Van der Doort
as "the Emperor Charles the Fifth, brought by the king from Spain, being
done at length with a big white Irish dog"--going afterwards, at the
dispersal of the king's effects, to Sir Balthasar Gerbier for _L_150.
There is, however, no valid reason for doubting that this is the very
picture owned for a time by Charles I., and which busy intriguing
Gerbier afterwards bought, only to part with it to Cardenas the Spanish
ambassador.[10] Other famous originals by Titian were among the choicest
gifts made by Philip IV. to Prince Charles at the time of his runaway
expedition to Madrid with the Duke of Buckingham, and this was no doubt
among them. Confirmation is supplied by the fact that the references to
the existence of this picture in the royal palaces of Madrid are for the
reigns of Philip II., Charles II., and Charles III., thus leaving a
large gap unaccounted for. Dimmed as the great portrait is, robbed of
its glow and its chastened splendour in a variety of ways, it is still a
rare example of the master's unequalled power in rendering race, the
unaffected consciousness of exalted rank, natural as distinguished from
assumed dignity. There is here no demonstrative assertion of _grandeza_,
no menacing display of truculent authority, but an absolutely serene and
simple attitude such as can only be the outcome of a consciousness of
supreme rank and responsibility which it can never have occurred to any
one to call into question. To see and perpetuate these subtle qualities,
which go so far to redeem the physical drawbacks of the House of
Hapsburg, the painter must have had a peculiar instinct for what is
aristocratic in the higher sense of the word--that is, both outwardly
and inwardly distinguished. This was indeed one of the leading
characteristics of Titian's great art, more especially in portraiture.
Giorgione went deeper, knowing the secret of the soul's refinement, the
aristocracy of poetry and passion; Lotto sympathetically laid bare the
heart's secrets and showed the pathetic helplessness of humanity.
Tintoretto communicated his own savage grandeur, his own unrest, to
those whom he depicted; Paolo Veronese charmed without _arriere-pensee_
by the intensity of vitality which with perfect simplicity he preserved
in his sitters. Yet to Titian must be conceded absolute supremacy in the
rendering not only of the outward but of the essential dignity, the
refinement of type and bearing, which without doubt come unconsciously
to those who can boast a noble and illustrious ancestry.

Again the writer hesitates to agree with Crowe and Cavalcaselle when
they place at this period, that is to say about 1533, the superb
_Allegory_ of the Louvre (No. 1589), which is very generally believed to
represent the famous commander Alfonso d'Avalos, Marques del Vasto,
with his family. The eminent biographers of Titian connect the picture
with the return of d'Avalos from the campaign against the Turks,
undertaken by him in the autumn of 1532, under the leadership of Croy,
at the behest of his imperial master. They hazard the surmise that the
picture, though painted after Alfonso's return, symbolises his departure
for the wars, "consoled by Victory, Love, and Hymen." A more natural
conclusion would surely be that what Titian has sought to suggest is the
return of the commander to enjoy the hard-earned fruits of victory.

[Illustration: _Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici. Pitti Palace, Florence.
From a Photograph by G. Brogi_.]

The Italo-Spanish grandee was born at Naples in 1502, so that at this
date he would have been but thirty-one years of age, whereas the mailed
warrior of the _Allegory_ is at least forty, perhaps older. Moreover,
and this is the essential point, the technical qualities of the picture,
the wonderful easy mastery of the handling, the peculiarities of the
colouring and the general tone, surely point to a rather later date, to
a period, indeed, some ten years ahead of the time at which we have
arrived. If we are to accept the tradition that this Allegory, or
quasi-allegorical portrait-piece, giving a fanciful embodiment to the
pleasures of martial domination, of conjugal love, of well-earned peace
and plenty, represents d'Avalos, his consort Mary of Arragon, and their
family--and a comparison with the well-authenticated portrait of Del
Vasto in the _Allocution_ of Madrid does not carry with it entire
conviction--we must perforce place the Louvre picture some ten years
later than do Crowe and Cavalcaselle. Apart from the question of
identification, it appears to the writer that the technical execution of
the piece would lead to a similar conclusion.[11]

To this year, 1533, belongs one of the masterpieces in portraiture of
our painter, the wonderful _Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici in a Hungarian
habit_ of the Pitti. This youthful Prince of the Church, the natural
son of Giuliano de' Medici, Duke of Nemours, was born in 1511, so that
when Titian so incomparably portrayed him, he was, for all the perfect
maturity of his virile beauty, for all the perfect self-possession of
his aspect, but twenty-two years of age. He was the passionate
worshipper of the divine Giulia Gonzaga, whose portrait he caused to be
painted by Sebastiano del Piombo. His part in the war undertaken by
Charles V. in 1532, against the Turks, had been a strange one. Clement
VII., his relative, had appointed him Legate and sent him to Vienna at
the head of three hundred musketeers. But when Charles withdrew from the
army to return to Italy, the Italian contingent, instead of going in
pursuit of the Sultan into Hungary, opportunely mutinied, thus affording
to their pleasure-loving leader the desired pretext for riding back with
them through the Austrian provinces, with eyes wilfully closed the while
to their acts of depredation. It was in the rich and fantastic habit of
a Hungarian captain that the handsome young Medici was now painted by
Titian at Bologna, the result being a portrait unique of its kind even
in his life-work. The sombre glow of the supple, youthful flesh, the
red-brown of the rich velvet habit which defines the perfect shape of
Ippolito, the red of the fantastic plumed head-dress worn by him with
such sovereign ease, make up a deep harmony, warm, yet not in the
technical sense hot, and of indescribable effect. And this effect is
centralised in the uncanny glance, the mysterious aspect of the man
whom, as we see him here, a woman might love for his beauty, but a man
would do well to distrust. The smaller portrait painted by Titian about
the same time of the young Cardinal fully armed--the one which, with the
Pitti picture, Vasari saw in the closet (_guardaroba_) of Cosimo, Duke
of Tuscany--is not now known to exist.[12]

[Illustration: _Francis the First. Louvre. From a Photograph by

[Illustration: _Portrait of a Nobleman. Pitti Palace, Florence. From a
Photograph by E. Alinari_.]

It may be convenient to mention here one of the most magnificent among
the male portraits of Titian, the _Young Nobleman_ in the Sala di Marte
of the Pitti Gallery, although its exact place in the middle time of the
artist it is, failing all data on the point, not easy to determine. At
Florence there has somehow been attached to it the curious name _Howard
duca di Norfolk_,[13] but upon what grounds, if any, the writer is
unable to state. The master of Cadore never painted a head more finely
or with a more exquisite finesse, never more happily characterised a
face, than that of this resolute, self-contained young patrician with
the curly chestnut hair and the short, fine beard and moustache--a
personage high of rank, doubtless, notwithstanding the studied
simplicity of his dress. Because we know nothing of the sitter, and
there is in his pose and general aspect nothing sensational, this
masterpiece is, if not precisely not less celebrated among connoisseurs,
at any rate less popular with the larger public, than it deserves to

[Illustration: _S. Giovanni Elemosinario giving Alms. In the Church of
that name at Venice. From a Photograph by Naya._]

The noble altar-piece in the church of S. Giovanni Elemosinario at
Venice showing the saint of that name enthroned, and giving alms to a
beggar, belongs to the close of 1533 or thereabouts, since the
high-altar was finished in the month of October of that year. According
to Vasari, it must be regarded as having served above all to assert once
for all the supremacy of Titian over Pordenone, whose friends had
obtained for him the commission to paint in competition with the
Cadorine an altar-piece for one of the apsidal chapels of the church,
where, indeed, his work is still to be seen.[15] Titian's canvas, like
most of the great altar-pieces of the middle time, was originally arched
at the top; but the vandalism of a subsequent epoch has, as in the case
of the _Madonna di S. Niccola_, now in the Vatican, made of this arch a
square, thereby greatly impairing the majesty of the general effect.
Titian here solves the problem of combining the strong and simple
decorative aspect demanded by the position of the work as the central
feature of a small church, with the utmost pathos and dignity, thus
doing incomparably in his own way--the way of the colourist and the
warm, the essentially human realist--what Michelangelo had, soaring high
above earth, accomplished with unapproachable sublimity in the
_Prophets_ and _Sibyls_ of the Sixtine Chapel.

The colour is appropriately sober, yet a general tone is produced of
great strength and astonishing effectiveness. The illumination is that
of the open air, tempered and modified by an overhanging canopy of
green; the great effect is obtained by the brilliant grayish white of
the saint's alb, dominating and keeping in due balance the red of the
rochet and the under-robes, the cloud-veiled sky, the marble throne or
podium, the dark green hanging. This picture must have had in the years
to follow a strong and lasting influence on Paolo Veronese, the keynote
to whose audaciously brilliant yet never over-dazzling colour is this
use of white and gray in large dominating masses. The noble figure of S.
Giovanni gave him a prototype for many of his imposing figures of
bearded old men. There is a strong reminiscence, too, of the saint's
attitude in one of the most wonderful of extant Veroneses--that
sumptuous altar-piece _SS. Anthony, Cornelius, and Cyprian with a Page_,
in the Brera, for which he invented a harmony as delicious as it is
daring, composed wholly of violet-purple, green, and gold.


_Francesco Maria della Rovere--Titian and Eleonora Gonzaga--The "Venus
with the Shell"--Titian's later ideals--The "Venus of Urbino"--The
"Bella di Tiziano"--The "Twelve Caesars"--Titian and Pordenone--The
"Battle of Cadore"--Portraits of the Master by himself--The
"Presentation in the Temple"--The "Allocation" of Madrid--The Ceiling
Pictures of Santo Spirito--First Meeting with Pope Paul III.--The "Ecce
Homo" of Vienna--"Christ with the Pilgrims at Emmaus_."

Within the years 1532 and 1538, or thereabouts, would appear to fall
Titian's relations with another princely patron, Francesco Maria della
Rovere, Duke of Urbino, the nephew of the redoubtable Pope Julius II.,
whose qualities of martial ardour and unbridled passion he reproduced in
an exaggerated form. By his mother, Giovanna da Montefeltro, he
descended also from the rightful dynasty of Urbino, to which he
succeeded in virtue of adoption. His life of perpetual strife, of
warfare in defence of his more than once lost and reconquered duchy, and
as the captain first of the army of the Church, afterwards of the
Venetian forces, came to an abrupt end in 1538. With his own hand he
had, in the ardent days of his youth, slain in the open streets of
Ravenna the handsome, sinister Cardinal Alidosi, thereby bringing down
upon himself the anathemas of his uncle, Julius II., and furnishing to
his successor, the Medici pope Leo X., the best possible excuse for the
sequestration of the duchy of Urbino in favour of his own house. He
himself died by poison, suspicion resting upon the infamous Pier Luigi
Farnese, the son of Paul III.

Francesco Maria had espoused Eleonora Gonzaga, the sister of Titian's
protector, Federigo, and it is probably through the latter that the
relations with our master sprang up to which we owe a small group of
his very finest works, including the so-called _Venus of Urbino_ of the
Tribuna, the _Girl in a Fur Cloak_ of the Vienna Gallery, and the
companion portraits of Francesco Maria and Eleonora which are now in the
Venetian Gallery at the Uffizi. The fiery leader of armies had, it
should be remembered, been brought up by Guidobaldo of Montefeltro, one
of the most amiable and enlightened princes of his time, and, moreover,
his consort Eleonora was the daughter of Isabella d'Este Gonzaga, than
whom the Renaissance knew no more enthusiastic or more discriminating
patron of art.

[Illustration: _The Girl in the Fur Cloak. Imperial Gallery, Vienna.
From a Photograph by Loewy._]

A curious problem meets us at the outset. We may assume with some degree
of certainty that the portraits of the duke and duchess belong to the
year 1537. Stylistic characteristics point to the conclusion that the
great _Venus_ of the Tribuna, the so-called _Bella di Tiziano_, and the
_Girl in the Fur Cloak_--to take only undoubted originals--belong to
much the same stage of Titian's practice as the companion portraits at
the Uffizi. Eleonora Gonzaga, a princess of the highest culture, the
daughter of an admirable mother, the friend of Pietro Bembo, Sadolet,
and Baldassarre Castiglione, was at this time a matron of some twenty
years' standing; at the date when her avowed portrait was painted she
must have been at the very least forty. By what magic did Titian manage
to suggest her type and physiognomy in the famous pictures just now
mentioned, and yet to plunge the duchess into a kind of _Fontaine de
Jouvence_, realising in the divine freshness of youth and beauty beings
who nevertheless appear to have with her some kind of mystic and
unsolved connection? If this was what he really intended--and the
results attained may lead us without temerity to assume as much--no
subtler or more exquisite form of flattery could be conceived. It is
curious to note that at the same time he signally failed with the
portrait of her mother, Isabella d'Este, painted in 1534, but showing
the Marchioness of Mantua as a young woman of some twenty-five years,
though she was then sixty. Here youth and a semblance of beauty are
called up by the magic of the artist, but the personality, both physical
and mental, is lost in the effort. But then in this last case Titian was
working from an early portrait, and without the living original to refer

But, before approaching the discussion of the _Venus of Urbino_, it is
necessary to say a word about another _Venus_ which must have been
painted some years before this time, revealing, as it does, a
completely different and, it must be owned, a higher ideal. This is the
terribly ruined, yet still beautiful, _Venus Anadyomene_, or _Venus of
the Shell_, of the Bridgewater Gallery, painted perhaps at the
instigation of some humanist, to realise a description of the
world-famous painting of Apelles. It is not at present possible to place
this picture with anything approaching to chronological exactitude. It
must have been painted some years after the _Bacchus and Ariadne_ of the
National Gallery, some years before the _Venus_ of the Tribuna, and that
is about as near as surmise can get. The type of the goddess in the
Ellesmere picture recalls somewhat the _Ariadne_ in our masterpiece at
the National Gallery, but also, albeit in a less material form, the
_Magdalens_ of a later time. Titian's conception of perfect womanhood is
here midway between his earlier Giorgionesque ideal and the frankly
sensuous yet grand luxuriance of his maturity and old age. He never,
even in the days of youth and Giorgionesque enchantment, penetrated so
far below the surface as did his master and friend Barbarelli. He could
not equal him in giving, with the undisguised physical allurement which
belongs to the true woman, as distinguished from the ideal conception
compounded of womanhood's finest attributes, that sovereignty of amorous
yet of spiritual charm which is its complement and its corrective.[16]
Still with Titian, too, in the earlier years, woman, as presented in the
perfection of mature youth, had, accompanying and elevating her bodily
loveliness, a measure of that higher and nobler feminine attractiveness
which would enable her to meet man on equal terms, nay, actively to
exercise a dominating influence of fascination. In illustration of this
assertion it is only necessary to refer to the draped and the undraped
figure in the _Medea and Venus (Sacred and Profane Love)_ of the
Borghese Gallery, to the _Herodias_ of the Doria Gallery, to the _Flora_
of the Uffizi. Here, even when the beautiful Venetian courtesan is
represented or suggested, what the master gives is less the mere votary
than the priestess of love. Of this power of domination, this feminine
royalty, the _Venus Anadyomene_ still retains a measure, but the _Venus
of Urbino_ and the splendid succession of Venuses and Danaes, goddesses,
nymphs, and heroines belonging to the period of the fullest maturity,
show woman in the phase in which, renouncing her power to enslave, she
is herself reduced to slavery.

These glowing presentments of physical attractiveness embody a lower
ideal--that of woman as the plaything of man, his precious possession,
his delight in the lower sense. And yet Titian expresses this by no
means exalted conception with a grand candour, an absence of
_arriere-pensee_ such as almost purges it of offence. It is Giovanni
Morelli who, in tracing the gradual descent from his recovered treasure,
the _Venus_ of Giorgione in the Dresden Gallery,[17] through the various
Venuses of Titian down to those of the latest manner, so finely
expresses the essential difference between Giorgione's divinity and her
sister in the Tribuna. The former sleeping, and protected only by her
sovereign loveliness, is safer from offence than the waking goddess--or
shall we not rather say woman?--who in Titian's canvas passively waits
in her rich Venetian bower, tended by her handmaidens. It is again
Morelli[18] who points out that, as compared with Correggio, even
Giorgione--to say nothing of Titian--is when he renders the beauty of
woman or goddess a realist. And this is true in a sense, yet not
altogether. Correggio's _Danae_, his _Io_, his _Leda_, his _Venus_, are
in their exquisite grace of form and movement farther removed from the
mere fleshly beauty of the undraped model than are the goddesses and
women of Giorgione. The passion and throb of humanity are replaced by a
subtler and less easily explicable charm; beauty becomes a perfectly
balanced and finely modulated harmony. Still the allurement is there,
and it is more consciously and more provocatively exercised than with
Giorgione, though the fascination of Correggio's divinities asserts
itself less directly, less candidly. Showing through the frankly human
loveliness of Giorgione's women there is after all a higher
spirituality, a deeper intimation of that true, that clear-burning
passion, enveloping body and soul, which transcends all exterior grace
and harmony, however exquisite it may be in refinement of

It is not, indeed, by any means certain that we are justified in
seriously criticising as a _Venus_ the great picture of the Tribuna.
Titian himself has given no indication that the beautiful Venetian woman
who lies undraped after the bath, while in a sumptuous chamber,
furnished according to the mode of the time, her handmaidens are seeking
for the robes with which she will adorn herself, is intended to present
the love-goddess, or even a beauty masquerading with her attributes.
Vasari, who saw it in the picture-closet of the Duke of Urbino,
describes it, no doubt, as "une Venere giovanetta a giacere, con fieri e
certi panni sottili attorno." It is manifestly borrowed, too--as is now
universally acknowledged--from Giorgione's _Venus_ in the Dresden
Gallery, with the significant alteration, however, that Titian's fair
one voluptuously dreams awake, while Giorgione's goddess more divinely
reposes, and sleeping dreams loftier dreams. The motive is in the
borrowing robbed of much of its dignity and beauty, and individualised
in a fashion which, were any other master than Titian in question, would
have brought it to the verge of triviality. Still as an example of his
unrivalled mastery in rendering the glow and semi-transparency of flesh,
enhanced by the contrast with white linen--itself slightly golden in
tinge; in suggesting the appropriate atmospheric environment; in giving
the full splendour of Venetian colour, duly subordinated nevertheless to
the main motive, which is the glorification of a beautiful human body as
it is; in all these respects the picture is of superlative excellence, a
representative example of the master and of Venetian art, a piece which
it would not be easy to match even among his own works.

More and more, as the supreme artist matures, do we find him disdaining
the showier and more evident forms of virtuosity. His colour is more and
more marked in its luminous beauty by reticence and concentration, by
the search after such a main colour-chord as shall not only be beautiful
and satisfying in itself, but expressive of the motive which is at the
root of the picture. Play of light over the surfaces and round the
contours of the human form; the breaking-up and modulation of masses of
colour by that play of light; strength, and beauty of general
tone--these are now Titian's main preoccupations. To this point his
perfected technical art has legitimately developed itself from the
Giorgionesque ideal of colour and tone-harmony, which was essentially
the same in principle, though necessarily in a less advanced stage, and
more diversified by exceptions. Our master became, as time went on, less
and less interested in the mere dexterous juxtaposition of brilliantly
harmonising and brilliantly contrasting tints, in piquancy, gaiety, and
sparkle of colour, to be achieved for its own sake. Indeed this phase of
Venetian sixteenth-century colour belongs rather to those artists who
issued from Verona--to the Bonifazi, and to Paolo Veronese--who in this
respect, as generally in artistic temperament, proved themselves the
natural successors of Domenico and Francesco Morone, of Girolamo dai
Libri, of Cavazzola.

Yet when Titian takes colour itself as his chief motive, he can vie with
the most sumptuous of them in splendour, and eclipse them all by the
sureness of his taste. A good example of this is the celebrated _Bella
di Tiziano_ of the Pitti Gallery, another work which, like the _Venus of
Urbino_, recalls the features without giving the precise personality of
Eleonora Gonzaga. The beautiful but somewhat expressionless head with
its crowning glory of bright hair, a waving mass of Venetian gold, has
been so much injured by rubbing down and restoration that we regret what
has been lost even more than we enjoy what is left. But the surfaces of
the fair and exquisitely modelled neck and bosom have been less cruelly
treated; the superb costume retains much of its pristine splendour. With
its combination of brownish-purple velvet, peacock-blue brocade, and
white lawn, its delicate trimmings of gold, and its further adornment
with small knots, having in them, now at any rate, but an effaced note
of red, the gown of _La Bella_ has remained the type of what is most
beautiful in Venetian costume as it was in the earlier half of the
sixteenth century. In richness and ingenious elaboration, chastened by
taste, it far transcends the over-splendid and ponderous dresses in
which later on the patrician dames portrayed by Veronese and his school
loved to array themselves. A bright note of red in the upper jewel of
one earring, now, no doubt, cruder than was originally intended, gives a
fillip to the whole, after a fashion peculiar to Titian.

[Illustration: _La Bella di Tiziano. From a photograph by Aplinari.
Walter L. Cells. Ph._]

The _Girl in the Fur Cloak_, No 197 in the Imperial Gallery at Vienna,
shows once more in a youthful and blooming woman the features of
Eleonora. The model is nude under a mantle of black satin lined with
fur, which leaves uncovered the right breast and both arms. The picture
is undoubtedly Titian's own, and fine in quality, but it reveals less
than his usual graciousness and charm. It is probably identical with the
canvas described in the often-quoted catalogue of Charles I.'s pictures
as "A naked woman putting on her smock, which the king changed with the
Duchess of Buckingham for one of His Majesty's Mantua pieces." It may
well have suggested to Rubens, who must have seen it among the King's
possessions on the occasion of his visit to London, his superb, yet
singularly unrefined, _Helene Fourment in a Fur Mantle_, now also in the
Vienna Gallery.

The great portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino in the Uffizi
belong, as has already been noted, to 1537. Francesco Maria, here
represented in the penultimate year of his stormy life, assumes
deliberately the truculent warrior, and has beyond reasonable doubt made
his own pose in a portrait destined to show the leader of armies, and
not the amorous spouse or the patron of art and artists. Praise
enthusiastic, but not excessive, has ever been and ever will be lavished
on the breadth and splendid decision of the painting; on the magnificent
rendering of the suit of plain but finely fashioned steel armour, with
its wonderful reflections; on the energy of the virile countenance, and
the appropriate concentration and simplicity of the whole. The superb
head has, it must be confessed, more grandeur and energy than true
individuality or life. The companion picture represents Eleonora Gonzaga
seated near an open window, wearing a sombre but magnificent costume,
and, completing it, one of those turbans with which the patrician ladies
of North Italy, other than those of Venice, habitually crowned their
locks. It has suffered in loss of freshness and touch more than its
companion. Fine and accurate as the portrait is, much as it surpasses
its pendant in subtle truth of characterisation, it has in the opinion
of the writer been somewhat overpraised. For once, Titian approaches
very nearly to the northern ideal in portraiture, underlining the truth
with singular accuracy, yet with some sacrifice of graciousness and
charm. The daughter of the learned and brilliant Isabella looks here as
if, in the decline of her beauty, she had become something of a
_precieuse_ and a prude, though it would be imprudent to assert that she
was either the one or the other. Perhaps the most attractive feature of
the whole composition is the beautiful landscape so characteristically
stretching away into the far blue distance, suggested rather than
revealed through the open window. This is such a picture as might have
inspired the Netherlander Antonio Moro, just because it is Italian art
of the Cinquecento with a difference, that is, with a certain admixture
of northern downrightness and literalness of statement.

About this same time Titian received from the brother of this princess,
his patron and admirer Federigo Gonzaga, the commission for the famous
series of the _Twelve Caesars_, now only known to the world by stray
copies here and there, and by the grotesquely exaggerated engravings of
AEgidius Sadeler. Giulio Romano having in 1536[20] completed the Sala di
Troja in the Castello of Mantua, and made considerable progress with the
apartments round about it, Federigo Gonzaga conceived the idea of
devoting one whole room to the painted effigies of the _Twelve Caesars_
to be undertaken by Titian. The exact date when the _Caesars_ were
delivered is not known, but it may legitimately be inferred that this
was in the course of 1537 or the earlier half of 1538. Our master's
pictures were, according to Vasari, placed in an _anticamera_ of the
Mantuan Palace, below them being hung twelve _storie a olio_--histories
in oils--by Giulio Romano.[21] The _Caesars_ were all half-lengths,
eleven out of the twelve being done by the Venetian master and the
twelfth by Giulio Romano himself.[22] Brought to England with the rest
of the Mantua pieces purchased by Daniel Nys for Charles I., they
suffered injury, and Van Dyck is said to have repainted the _Vitellius_,
which was one of several canvases irretrievably ruined by the
quicksilver of the frames during the transit from Italy.[23] On the
disposal of the royal collection after Charles Stuart's execution the
_Twelve Caesars_ were sold by the State--not presented, as is usually
asserted--to the Spanish Ambassador Cardenas, who gave L1200 for them.
On their arrival in Spain with the other treasures secured on behalf of
Philip IV., they were placed in the Alcazar of Madrid, where in one of
the numerous fires which successively devastated the royal palace they
must have perished, since no trace of them is to be found after the end
of the seventeenth century. The popularity of Titian's decorative
canvases is proved by the fact that Bernardino Campi of Cremona made
five successive sets of copies from them--for Charles V., d'Avalos, the
Duke of Alva, Rangone, and another Spanish grandee. Agostino Caracci
subsequently copied them for the palace of Parma, and traces of yet
other copies exist. Numerous versions are shown in private collections,
both in England and abroad, purporting to be from the hand of Titian,
but of these none--at any rate none of those seen by the writer--are
originals or even Venetian copies. Among the best are the examples in
the collection of Earl Brownlow and at the royal palace of Munich
respectively, and these may possibly be from the hand of Campi. Although
we are expressly told in Dolce's _Dialogo_ that Titian "painted the
_Twelve Caesars_, taking them in part from medals, in part from antique
marbles," it is perfectly clear that of the exact copying of
antiques--such as is to be noted, for instance, in those marble
medallions by Donatello which adorn the courtyard of the Medici Palace
at Florence--there can have been no question. The attitudes of the
_Caesars_, as shown in the engravings and the extant copies, exclude any
such supposition. Those who have judged them from those copies and the
hideous grotesques of Sadeler have wondered at the popularity of the
originals, somewhat hastily deeming Titian to have been here inferior to
himself. Strange to say, a better idea of what he intended, and what he
may have realised in the originals, is to be obtained from a series of
small copies now in the Provincial Museum of Hanover, than from anything
else that has survived.[24] The little pictures in question, being on
copper, cannot well be anterior to the first part of the seventeenth
century, and they are not in themselves wonders. All the same they have
a unique interest as proving that, while adopting the pompous attitudes
and the purely decorative standpoint which the position of the pictures
in the Castello may have rendered obligatory, Titian managed to make of
his Emperors creatures of flesh and blood; the splendid Venetian warrior
and patrician appearing in all the glory of manhood behind the
conventional dignity, the self-consciousness of the Roman type and

[Illustration: _Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino. Uffizi
Gallery, Florence. From a Photograph by E. Alinari_.]

These last years had been to Titian as fruitful in material gain as in
honour. He had, as has been seen, established permanent and intimate
relations not only with the art-loving rulers of the North Italian
principalities, but now with Charles V. himself, mightiest of European
sovereigns, and, as a natural consequence, with the all-powerful
captains and grandees of the Hispano-Austrian court. Meanwhile a serious
danger to his supremacy had arisen. At home in Venice his unique
position was threatened by Pordenone, that masterly and wonderfully
facile _frescante_ and painter of monumental decorations, who had on
more than one occasion in the past been found in competition with him.

The Friulan, after many wanderings and much labour in North Italy, had
settled in Venice in 1535, and there acquired an immense reputation by
the grandeur and consummate ease with which he had carried out great
mural decorations, such as the facade of Martin d'Anna's house on the
Grand Canal, comprising in its scheme of decoration a Curtius on
horse-back and a flying Mercury which according to Vasari became the
talk of the town.[25] Here, at any rate, was a field in which even
Titian himself, seeing that he had only at long intervals practised in
fresco painting, could not hope to rival Pordenone. The Friulan, indeed,
in this his special branch, stood entirely alone among the painters of
North Italy.

The Council of Ten in June 1537 issued a decree recording that Titian
had since 1516 been in possession of his _senseria_, or broker's patent,
and its accompanying salary, on condition that he should paint "the
canvas of the land fight on the side of the Hall of the Great Council
looking out on the Grand Canal," but that he had drawn his salary
without performing his promise. He was therefore called upon to refund
all that he had received for the time during which he had done no work.
This sharp reminder operated as it was intended to do. We see from
Aretino's correspondence that in November 1537 Titian was busily engaged
on the great canvas for the Doges' Palace. This tardy recognition of an
old obligation did not prevent the Council from issuing an order in
November 1538 directing Pordenone to paint a picture for the Sala del
Gran Consiglio, to occupy the space next to that reserved for Titian's
long-delayed battle-piece.

That this can never have been executed is clear, since Pordenone, on
receipt of an urgent summons from Ercole II., Duke of Ferrara, departed
from Venice in the month of December of the same year, and falling sick
at Ferrara, died so suddenly as to give rise to the suspicion of foul
play, which too easily sprang up in those days when ambition or private
vengeance found ready to hand weapons so many and so convenient. Crowe
and Cavalcaselle give good grounds for the assumption that, in order to
save appearances, Titian was supposed--replacing and covering the
battle-piece which already existed in the Great Hall--to be presenting
the Battle of Spoleto in Umbria, whereas it was clear to all Venetians,
from the costumes, the banners, and the landscape, that he meant to
depict the Battle of Cadore fought in 1508. The latter was a Venetian
victory and an Imperial defeat, the former a Papal defeat and an
Imperial victory. The all-devouring fire of 1577 annihilated the _Battle
of Cadore_ with too many other works of capital importance in the
history both of the primitive and the mature Venetian schools. We have
nothing now to show what it may have been, save the print of Fontana,
and the oil painting in the Venetian Gallery of the Uffizi, reproducing
on a reduced scale part only of the big canvas. This last is of Venetian
origin, and more or less contemporary, but it need hardly be pointed out
that it is a copy from, not a sketch for, the picture.

[Illustration: _The Battle of Cadore (from a reduced copy of part only).
Uffizi Gallery, Florence. From a Photograph by G. Brogi._]

To us who know the vast battle-piece only in the feeble echo of the
print and the picture just now mentioned, it is a little difficult to
account for the enthusiasm that it excited, and the prominent place
accorded to it among the most famous of the Cadorine's works. Though the
whole has abundant movement and passion, and the _mise-en-scene_ is
undoubtedly imposing, the combat is not raised above reality into the
region of the higher and more representative truth by any element of
tragic vastness and significance. Even though the Imperialists are armed
more or less in the antique Roman fashion, to distinguish them from the
Venetians, who appear in the accoutrements of their own day, it is still
that minor and local combat the _Battle of Cadore_ that we have before
us, and not, above and beyond this battle, War, as some masters of the
century, gifted with a higher power of evocation, might have shown it.
Even as the fragment of Leonardo da Vinci's _Battle of Anghiari_
survives in the free translation of Rubens's well-known drawing in the
Louvre, we see how he has made out of the unimportant cavalry combat,
yet without conventionality or undue transposition, a representation
unequalled in art of the frenzy generated in man and beast by the clash
of arms and the scent of blood. And Rubens, too, how incomparably in the
_Battle of the Amazons_ of the Pinakothek at Munich, he evokes the
terrors, not only of one mortal encounter, but of War--the hideous din,
the horror of man let loose and become beast once more, the pitiless
yell of the victors, the despairing cry of the vanquished, the
irremediable overthrow! It would, however, be foolhardy in those who can
only guess at what the picture may have been to arrogate to themselves
the right of sitting in judgment on Vasari and those contemporaries who,
actually seeing, enthusiastically admired it. What excited their delight
must surely have been Titian's magic power of brush as displayed in
individual figures and episodes, such as that famous one of the knight
armed by his page in the immediate foreground.

Into this period of our master's career there fit very well the two
portraits in which he appears, painted by himself, on the confines of
old age, vigorous and ardent still, fully conscious, moreover, though
without affectation, of pre-eminent genius and supreme artistic rank.
The portraits referred to are those very similar ones, both of them
undoubtedly originals, which are respectively in the Berlin Gallery and
the Painters' Gallery of the Uffizi. It is strange that there should
exist no certain likeness of the master of Cadore done in youth or
earlier manhood, if there be excepted the injured and more than doubtful
production in the Imperial Gallery of Vienna, which has pretty generally
been supposed to be an original auto-portrait belonging to this period.
In the Uffizi and Berlin pictures Titian looks about sixty years old,
but may be a little more or a little less. The latter is a half-length,
showing him seated and gazing obliquely out of the picture with a
majestic air, but also with something of combativeness and disquietude,
an element, this last, which is traceable even in some of the earlier
portraits, but not in the mythological _poesie_ or any sacred work. More
and more as we advance through the final period of old age do we find
this element of disquietude and misgiving asserting itself in male
portraiture, as, for instance, in the _Maltese Knight_ of the Prado, the
_Dominican Monk_ of the Borghese, the _Portrait of a Man with a Palm
Branch_ of the Dresden Gallery. The atmosphere of sadness and foreboding
enveloping man is traceable back to Giorgione; but with him it comes
from the plenitude of inner life, from the gaze turned inwards upon the
mystery of the human individuality rather than outwards upon the
inevitable tragedies of the exterior life common to all. This same
atmosphere of passionate contemplativeness enwraps, indeed, all that
Giorgione did, and is the cause that he sees the world and himself
lyrically, not dramatically; the flame of aspiration burning steadily at
the heart's core and leaving the surface not indeed unruffled, but
outwardly calm in its glow. Titian's is the more dramatic temperament in
outward things, but also the more superficial. It must be remembered,
too, that arriving rapidly at the maturity of his art, and painting all
through the period of the full Renaissance, he was able with far less
hindrance from technical limitations to express his conceptions to the
full. His portraiture, however, especially his male portraiture, was and
remained in its essence a splendid and full-blown development of the
Giorgionesque ideal. It was grander, more accomplished, and for obvious
reasons more satisfying, yet far less penetrating, less expressive of
the inner fibre, whether of the painter or of his subject.

But to return to the portrait of Berlin. It is in parts unfinished, and
therefore the more interesting as revealing something of the methods
employed by the master in this period of absolute mastery, when his
palette was as sober in its strength as it was rich and harmonious;
when, as ever, execution was a way to an end, and therefore not to be
vain-gloriously displayed merely for its own sake. The picture came,
with very many other masterpieces of the Italian and Netherlandish
schools, from the Solly collection, which formed the nucleus of the
Berlin Gallery. The Uffizi portrait emerges noble still, in its
semi-ruined state, from a haze of restoration and injury, which has not
succeeded in destroying the exceptional fineness and sensitiveness of
the modelling. Although the pose and treatment of the head are
practically identical with that in the Berlin picture, the conception
seems a less dramatic one. It includes, unless the writer has misread
it, an element of greater mansuetude and a less perturbed

The double portrait in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at
Windsor Castle, styled _Titian and Franceschini_[26] has no pretensions
whatever to be even discussed as a Titian. The figure of the Venetian
senator designated as Franceschini is the better performance of the two;
the lifeless head of Titian, which looks very like an afterthought, has
been copied, without reference to the relation of the two figures the
one to the other, from the Uffizi picture, or some portrait identical
with it in character. A far finer likeness of Titian than any of these
is the much later one, now in the Prado Gallery; but this it will be
best to deal with in its proper chronological order.

We come now to one of the most popular of all Titian's great canvases
based on a sacred subject, the _Presentation in the Temple_ in the
Accademia delle Belle Arti at Venice. This, as Vasari expressly states,
was painted for the Scuola di S. Maria della Carita, that is, for the
confraternity which owned the very building where now the Accademia
displays its treasures. It is the magnificent scenic rendering of a
subject lending itself easily to exterior pomp and display, not so
easily to a more mystic and less obvious mode of conception. At the root
of Titian's design lies in all probability the very similar picture on a
comparatively small scale by Cima da Conegliano, now No. 63 in the
Dresden Gallery, and this last may well have been inspired by
Carpaccio's _Presentation of the Virgin_, now in the Brera at Milan.[27]
The imposing canvases belonging to this particular period of Titian's
activity, and this one in particular, with its splendid architectural
framing, its wealth of life and movement, its richness and variety in
type and costume, its fair prospect of Venetian landscape in the
distance, must have largely contributed to form the transcendent
decorative talent of Paolo Veronese. Only in the exquisitely fresh and
beautiful figure of the childlike Virgin, who ascends the mighty flight
of stone steps, clad all in shimmering blue, her head crowned with a
halo of yellow light, does the artist prove that he has penetrated to
the innermost significance of his subject. Here, at any rate, he
touches the heart as well as feasts the eye. The thoughts of all who are
familiar with Venetian art will involuntarily turn to Tintoretto's
rendering of the same moving, yet in its symbolical character not
naturally ultra-dramatic, scene. The younger master lends to it a
significance so vast that he may be said to go as far beyond and above
the requirements of the theme as Titian, with all his legitimate
splendour and serene dignity, remains below it. With Tintoretto as
interpreter we are made to see the beautiful episode as an event of the
most tremendous import--one that must shake the earth to its centre. The
reason of the onlooker may rebel against this portentous version, yet he
is dominated all the same, is overwhelmed with something of the
indefinable awe that has seized upon the bystanders who are witnesses of
the scene.

[Illustration: _The Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. Accademia
delle Belle Arti, Venice. From a Photograph by Naya._]

But now to discuss a very curious point in connection with the actual
state of Titian's important canvas. It has been very generally
assumed--and Crowe and Cavalcaselle have set their seal on the
assumption--that Titian painted his picture for a special place in the
Albergo (now Accademia), and that this place is now architecturally as
it was in Titian's time. Let them speak for themselves. "In this room
(in the Albergo), which is contiguous to the modern hall in which
Titian's _Assunta_ is displayed, there were two doors for which
allowance was made in Titian's canvas; twenty-five feet--the length of
the wall--is now the length of the picture. When this vast canvas was
removed from its place, the gaps of the doors were filled in with new
linen, and painted up to the tone of the original...."

That the pieces of canvas to which reference is here made were new, and
not Titian's original work from the brush, was of course well known to
those who saw the work as it used to hang in the Accademia. Crowe and
Cavalcaselle give indeed the name of a painter of this century who is
responsible for them. Within the last three years the new and
enterprising director of the Venice Academy, as part of a comprehensive
scheme of rearrangement of the whole collection, caused these pieces of
new canvas to be removed and then proceeded to replace the picture in
the room for which it is believed to have been executed, fitting it into
the space above the two doors just referred to. Many people have
declared themselves delighted with the alteration, looking upon it as a
tardy act of justice done to Titian, whose work, it is assumed, is now
again seen just as he designed it for the Albergo. The writer must own
that he has, from an examination of the canvas where it is now placed,
or replaced, derived an absolutely contrary impression. First, is it
conceivable that Titian in the heyday of his glory should have been
asked to paint such a picture--not a mere mural decoration--for such a
place? There is no instance of anything of the kind having been done
with the canvases painted by Gentile Bellini, Carpaccio, Mansueti, and
others for the various _Scuole_ of Venice. There is no instance of a
great decorative canvas by a sixteenth century master of the first
rank,[28] other than a ceiling decoration, being degraded in the first
instance to such a use. And then Vasari, who saw the picture in Venice,
and correctly characterises it, would surely have noticed such an
extraordinary peculiarity as the abnormal shape necessitated by the two
doors. It is incredible that Titian, if so unpalatable a task had indeed
been originally imposed upon him, should not have designed his canvas
otherwise. The hole for the right door coming in the midst of the
monumental steps is just possible, though not very probable. Not so that
for the left door, which, according to the present arrangement, cuts the
very vitals out of one of the main groups in the foreground. Is it not
to insult one of the greatest masters of all time thus to assume that he
would have designed what we now see? It is much more likely that Titian
executed his _Presentation_ in the first place in the normal shape, and
that vandals of a later time, deciding to pierce the room in the Scuola
in which the picture is now once more placed with one, or probably two,
additional doors, partially sacrificed it to the structural requirements
of the moment. Monstrous as such barbarism may appear, we have already
seen, and shall again see later on, that it was by no means uncommon in
those great ages of painting, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

When the untimely death of Pordenone, at the close of 1538, had
extinguished the hopes of the Council that the grandiose facility of
this master of monumental decoration might be made available for the
purposes of the State, Titian having, as has been seen, made good his
gravest default, was reinstated in his lucrative and by no means onerous
office. He regained the _senseria_ by decree of August 28, 1539. The
potent d'Avalos, Marques del Vasto, had in 1539 conferred upon Titian's
eldest son Pomponio, the scapegrace and spendthrift that was to be, a
canonry. Both to father and son the gift was in the future to be
productive of more evil than good. At or about the same time he had
commissioned of Titian a picture of himself haranguing his soldiers in
the pompous Roman fashion; this was not, however, completed until 1541.
Exhibited by d'Avalos to admiring crowds at Milan, it made a sensation
for which there is absolutely nothing in the picture, as we now see it
in the gallery of the Prado, to account; but then it would appear that
it was irreparably injured in a fire which devastated the Alcazar of
Madrid in 1621, and was afterwards extensively repainted. The Marquis
and his son Francesco, both of them full-length figures, are placed on a
low plinth, to the left, and from this point of vantage the Spanish
leader addresses a company of foot-soldiers who with fine effect raise
their halberds high into the air.[29] Among these last tradition places
a portrait of Aretino, which is not now to be recognised with any
certainty. Were the pedigree of the canvas a less well-authenticated
one, one might be tempted to deny Titian's authorship altogether, so
extraordinary are, apart from other considerations, the disproportions
in the figure of the youth Francesco. Restoration must in this instance
have amounted to entire repainting. Del Vasto appears more robust, more
martial, and slightly younger than the armed leader in the _Allegory_ of
the Louvre. If this last picture is to be accepted as a semi-idealised
presentment of the Spanish captain, it must, as has already been pointed
out, have been painted nearer to the time of his death, which took place
in 1546. The often-cited biographers of our master are clearly in error
in their conclusion that the painting described in the collection of
Charles I. as "done by Titian, the picture of the Marquis Guasto,
containing five half-figures so big as the life, which the king bought
out of an Almonedo," is identical with the large sketch made by Titian
as a preparation for the _Allocution_ of Madrid. This description, on
the contrary, applies perfectly to the _Allegory_ of the Louvre, which
was, as we know, included in the collection of Charles, and subsequently
found its way into that of Louis Quatorze.

[Illustration: _The Magdalen. Pitti Palace, Florence. From a Photograph
by Anderson._]

It was in 1542 that Vasari, summoned to Venice at the suggestion of
Aretino, paid his first visit to the city of the Lagoons in order to
paint the scenery and _apparato_ in connection with a carnival
performance, which included the representation of his fellow-townsman's
_Talanta.[30]_ It was on this occasion, no doubt, that Sansovino, in
agreement with Titian, obtained for the Florentine the commission to
paint the ceilings of Santo Spirito in Isola--a commission which was
afterwards, as a consequence of his departure, undertaken and performed
by Titian himself, with whose grandiose canvases we shall have to deal a
little later on. In weighing the value of Vasari's testimony with
reference to the works of Vecellio and other Venetian painters more or
less of his own time, it should be borne in mind that he paid two
successive visits to Venice, enjoying there the company of the great
painter and the most eminent artists of the day, and that on the
occasion of Titian's memorable visit to Rome he was his close friend,
cicerone, and companion. Allowing for the Aretine biographer's
well-known inaccuracies in matters of detail and for his royal disregard
of chronological order--faults for which it is manifestly absurd to
blame him over-severely--it would be unwise lightly to disregard or
overrule his testimony with regard to matters which he may have learned
from the lips of Titian himself and his immediate _entourage_.

To the year 1542 belongs, as the authentic signature and date on the
picture affirm, that celebrated portrait, _The Daughter of Roberto
Strozzi_, once in the splendid palace of the family at Florence, but
now, with some other priceless treasures having the same origin, in the
Berlin Museum. Technically, the picture is one of the most brilliant,
one of the most subtly exquisite, among the works of the great
Cadorine's maturity. It well serves to show what Titian's ideal of
colour was at this time. The canvas is all silvery gleam, all splendour
and sober strength of colour--yet not of colours. These in all their
plentitude and richness, as in the crimson drapery and the distant
landscape, are duly subordinated to the main effect; they but set off
discreetly the figure of the child, dressed all in white satin with hair
of reddish gold, and contribute without fanfare to the fine and
harmonious balance of the whole. Here, as elsewhere, more particularly
in the work of Titian's maturity, one does not in the first place pause
to pick out this or the other tint, this or the other combination of
colours as particularly exquisite; and that is what one is so easily
led to do in the contemplation of the Bonifazi and of Paolo Veronese.

[Illustration: _The Infant Daughter of Roberto Strozzi. Royal Gallery,
Berlin. From a Photograph by F. Hanfstaengl._]

As the portrait of a child, though in conception it reveals a marked
progress towards the _intimite_ of later times, the Berlin picture lacks
something of charm and that quality which, for want of a better word,
must be called loveableness. Or is it perhaps that the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries have spoilt us in this respect? For it is only in
these latter days that to the child, in deliberate and avowed
portraiture, is allowed that freakishness, that natural _espieglerie_
and freedom from artificial control which has its climax in the
unapproached portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds. This is the more curious
when it is remembered how tenderly, with what observant and sympathetic
truth the relation of child to mother, of child to child, was noted in
the innumerable "Madonnas" and "Holy Families" of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries; how both the Italians, and following them the
Netherlanders, relieved the severity of their sacred works by the
delightful roguishness, the romping impudence of their little angels,
their _putti_.

It has already been recorded that Titian, taking up the commission
abandoned by Vasari, undertook a great scheme of pictorial decoration
for the Brothers of Santo Spirito in Isola. All that he carried out for
that church has now found its way into that of the Salute. The three
ceiling pictures, _The Sacrifice of Isaac, Cain and Abel_, and _David
victorious over Goliath_, are in the great sacristy of the church; the
_Four Evangelists_ and _Four Doctors_ are in the ceiling of the choir
behind the altar; the altar-piece, _The Descent of the Holy Spirit_, is
in one of the chapels which completely girdle the circular church
itself. The ceiling pictures, depicting three of the most dramatic
moments in sacred history, have received the most enthusiastic praise
from the master's successive biographers. They were indeed at the time
of their inception a new thing in Venetian art. Nothing so daring as
these foreshortenings, as these scenes of dramatic violence, of physical
force triumphant, had been seen in Venice. The turbulent spirit was an
exaggeration of that revealed by Titian in the _St. Peter Martyr_; the
problem of the foreshortening for the purposes of ceiling decoration was
superadded. It must be remembered, too, that even in Rome, the
headquarters of the grand style, nothing precisely of the same kind
could be said to exist. Raphael and his pupils either disdained, or it
may be feared to approach, the problem. Neither in the ceiling
decorations of the Farnesina nor in the Stanze is there any attempt on a
large scale to _faire plafonner_ the figures, that is, to paint them so
that they might appear as they would actually be seen from below.
Michelangelo himself, in the stupendous decoration of the ceiling to the
Sixtine Chapel, had elected to treat the subjects of the flat surface
which constitutes the centre and climax of the whole, as a series of
pictures designed under ordinary conditions. It can hardly be doubted
that Titian, in attempting these _tours de force_, though not
necessarily or even probably in any other way, was inspired by
Correggio. It would not be easy, indeed, to exaggerate the Venetian
master's achievement from this point of view, even though in two at
least of the groups--the _Cain and Abel_ and the _David and
Goliath_--the modern professor might be justified in criticising with
considerable severity his draughtsmanship and many salient points in his
design. The effect produced is tremendous of its kind. The power
suggested is, however, brutal, unreasoning, not nobly dominating force;
and this not alone in the _Cain and Abel_, where such an impression is
rightly conveyed, but also in the other pieces. It is as if Titian, in
striving to go beyond anything that had hitherto been done of the same
kind, had also gone beyond his own artistic convictions, and thus, while
compassing a remarkable pictorial achievement, lost his true balance.
Tintoretto, creating his own atmosphere, as far outside and above mere
physical realities as that of Michelangelo himself, might have succeeded
in mitigating this impression, which is, on the whole, a painful one.
Take for instance the _Martyrdom of St. Christopher_ of the younger
painter--not a ceiling picture by the way--in the apse of S. Maria del
Orto. Here, too, is depicted, with sweeping and altogether irresistible
power, an act of hideous violence. And yet it is not this element of the
subject which makes upon the spectator the most profound effect, but the
impression of saintly submission, of voluntary self-sacrifice, which is
the dominant note of the whole.

It may be convenient to mention here _The Descent of the Holy Spirit_,
although in its definitive form, as we see it in its place in the Church
of the Salute, it appears markedly more advanced in style than the works
of the period at which we have now arrived, giving, both in manner and
feeling, a distinct suggestion of the methods and standpoint which mark
the later phase of old age. Vasari tells us that the picture, originally
painted in 1541, was seriously damaged and subsequently repainted; Crowe
and Cavalcaselle state that the work now seen at the Salute was painted
to replace an altar-piece which the Brothers of Santo Spirito had
declined to accept. Even as the picture now appears, somewhat faded, and
moreover seen at a disadvantage amid its cold surroundings of polished
white marble, it is a composition of wonderful, of almost febrile
animation, and a painting saturated with light, pierced through
everywhere with its rays. The effect produced is absolutely that which
the mystical subject requires.[31] Abandoning the passionless serenity
which has been the rule in sacred subjects of the middle time, Titian
shows himself more stimulated, more moved by his subject.

It was in the spring of 1543 that the master first came into personal
contact with Pope Paul III. and the Farnese family. The meeting took
place at Ferrara, and our painter then accompanied the papal court to
Busseto, and subsequently proceeded to Bologna. Aretino's correspondence
proves that Titian must at that time have painted the Pope, and that he
must also have refused the sovereign pontiff's offer of the _Piombo_,
which was then still, as it had been for years past, in the possession
of Sebastiano Luciani. That Titian, with all his eagerness for wealth
and position, could not find it in his heart to displace his
fellow-countryman, a friend no doubt of the early time, may legitimately
excite admiration and sympathy now, as according to Aretino it actually
did at the time. The portraits of the Farnese family included that of
the Pope, repeated subsequently for Cardinal Santafiore, that of Pier
Luigi, then that of Paul III. and this monstrous yet well-loved son
together,[32] and a likeness of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. Upon the
three-quarter length portrait of Paul III. in the Naples Museum, Crowe
and Cavalcaselle have lavished their most enthusiastic praise, placing
it, indeed, among his masterpieces. All the same--interesting as the
picture undoubtedly is, remarkable in finish, and of undoubtedly
Titianesque origin--the writer finds it difficult, nay impossible, to
accept this _Paul III._ as a work from the hand of Titian himself.
Careful to excess, and for such an original too much wanting in
brilliancy and vitality, it is the best of many repetitions and
variations; of this particular type the original is not at present
forthcoming. Very different is the "Paul III." of the Hermitage, which
even in a reproduction loudly proclaims its originality.[33] This is by
no means identical in design with the Naples picture, but appears much
less studied, much more directly taken from the life. The astute Farnese
Pope has here the same simiesque type, the same furtive distrustful
look, as in the great unfinished group now to be described.[34] This
Titian, which doubtless passed into the Hermitage with the rest of the
Barbarigo pictures, may have been the first foundation for the series of
portraits of the Farnese Pope, and as such would naturally have been
retained by the master for his own use. The portrait-group in the Naples
Museum, showing, with Paul III., Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Ottavio
Farnese (afterwards Duke of Parma), is, apart from its extraordinary
directness and swift technical mastery, of exceptional interest as being
unfinished, and thus doubly instructive. The composition, lacking in its
unusual momentariness the repose and dignity of Raphael's _Leo X. with
Cardinals Giulio de' Medici and de' Rossi_ at the Pitti, is not wholly
happy. Especially is the action of Ottavio Farnese, as in reverence he
bends down to reply to the supreme Pontiff, forced and unconvincing; but
the unflattered portrait of the pontiff himself is of a bold and quite
unconventional truth, and in movement much happier. The picture may
possibly, by reason of this unconventional conception less than
perfectly realised, have failed to please the sitters, and thus have
been left in its present state.[35]

Few of Titian's canvases of vast dimensions have enjoyed a higher degree
of popularity than the large _Ecce Homo_ to which the Viennese proudly
point as one of the crowning ornaments of the great Imperial Gallery of
their city. Completed in 1543[36] for Giovanni d'Anna, a son of the
Flemish merchant Martin van der Hanna, who had established himself in
Venice, it was vainly coveted by Henri III. on the occasion of his
memorable visit in 1574, but was in 1620 purchased for the splendid
favourite, George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, by the English envoy Sir
Henry Wotton. From him the noblest and most accomplished of English
collectors, Thomas, Earl of Arundel, sought to obtain the prize with the
unparalleled offer of L7000, yet even thus failed. At the time of the
great _debacle_, in 1648, the guardians and advisers of his youthful son
and successor were glad enough to get the splendid gallery over to the
Low Countries, and to sell with the rest the _Ecce Homo_, which brought
under these circumstances but a tenth part of what Lord Arundel would
have given for it. Passing into the collection of the Archduke Leopold
William, it was later on finally incorporated with that of the Imperial
House of Austria. From the point of view of scenic and decorative
magnificence combined with dramatic propriety, though not with any depth
or intensity of dramatic passion, the work is undoubtedly imposing. Yet
it suffers somewhat, even in this respect, from the fact that the
figures are not more than small life-size. With passages of Titianesque
splendour there are to be noted others, approaching to the acrid and
inharmonious, which one would rather attribute to the master's
assistants than to himself. So it is, too, with certain exaggerations of
design characteristic rather of the period than the man--notably with
the two figures to the left of the foreground. The Christ in His
meekness is too little divine, too heavy and inert;[37] the Pontius
Pilate not inappropriately reproduces the features of the worldling and
_viveur_ Aretino. The mounted warrior to the extreme right, who has been
supposed to represent Alfonso d'Este, shows the genial physiognomy made
familiar by the Madrid picture so long deemed to be his portrait, but
which, as has already been pointed out, represents much more probably
his successor Ercole II. d'Este, whom we find again in that superb piece
by the master, the so-called _Giorgio Cornaro_ of Castle Howard. The
_Ecce Homo_ of Vienna is another of the works of which both the
general _ordonnance_ and the truly Venetian splendour must have
profoundly influenced Paolo Veronese.

[Illustration: _Ecce Homo. Imperial Gallery, Vienna. From a Photograph
by Loewy_.]

[Illustration: _Aretino. Pitti Palace, Florence. From a Photograph by E.

To this period belongs also the _Annunciation of the Virgin_ now in the
Cathedral of Verona--a rich, harmonious, and appropriate altar-piece,
but not one of any special significance in the life-work of the painter.

Shall we not, pretty much in agreement with Vasari, place here, just
before the long-delayed visit to Rome, the _Christ with the Pilgrims at
Emmaus_ of the Louvre? A strong reason for dating this, one of the
noblest, one of the most deeply felt of all Titian's works, before
rather than after the stay in the Eternal City, is that in its
_naivete_, in its realistic episodes, in its fulness of life, it is so
entirely and delightfully Venetian. Here again the colour-harmony in its
subdued richness and solemnity has a completeness such as induces the
beholder to accept it in its unity rather than to analyse those infinite
subtleties of juxtaposition and handling which, avoiding bravura,
disdain to show themselves on the surface. The sublime beauty of the
landscape, in which, as often elsewhere, the golden radiance of the
setting sun is seen battling with masses of azure cloud, has not been
exceeded by Titian himself. With all the daring yet perfectly
unobtrusive and unconscious realism of certain details, the conception
is one of the loftiest, one of the most penetrating in its very
simplicity, of Venetian art at its apogee. The divine mansuetude, the
human and brotherly sympathy of the Christ, have not been equalled since
the early days of the _Cristo della Moneta_. Altogether the _Pilgrims at
Emmaus_ well marks that higher and more far-reaching conception of
sacred art which reveals itself in the productions of Titian's old age,
when we compare them with the untroubled serenity and the conventional
assumptions of the middle time.[38]

To the year 1545 belongs the supremely fine _Portrait of Aretino_, which
is one of the glories of the Pitti Gallery. This was destined to
propitiate the Grand Duke Cosimo of Tuscany, the son of his passionately
attached friend of earlier days, Giovanni delle Bande Nere. Aretino,
who had particular reasons for desiring to appear before the obdurate
Cosimo in all the pomp and opulence of his later years, was obviously
wounded that Titian, true to his genius, and to his method at this
moment, should have made the keynote of his masterpiece a dignified
simplicity. For once unfaithful to his brother Triumvir and friend, he
attacks him in the accompanying letter to the Tuscan ruler with the
withering sarcasm that "the satins, velvets, and brocades would perhaps
have been better if Titian had received a few more scudi for working
them out." If Aretino's pique had not caused the momentary clouding over
of his artistic vision, he would have owned that the canvas now in the
Pitti was one of the happiest achievements of Titian and one of the
greatest things in portraiture. There is no flattery here of the "Divine
Aretino," as with heroic impudence the notorious publicist styles
himself. The sensual type is preserved, but rendered acceptable, and in
a sense attractive, by a certain assurance and even dignity of bearing,
such as success and a position impregnable of its unique and unenviable
kind may well have lent to the adventurer in his maturity. Even Titian's
brush has not worked with greater richness and freedom, with an effect
broader or more entirely legitimate than in the head with its softly
flowing beard and the magnificent yet not too ornate robe and vest of
plum-coloured velvet and satin.


_The Visit to Rome--Titian and Michelangelo--The "Danae" of Naples--"St.
John the Baptist in the Desert"--Journey to Augsburg--"Venus and Cupid"
of the Tribuna--"Venus with the Organ Player" of Madrid--The Altar-piece
of Serravalle--"Charles V. at the Battle of Muehlberg"--"Prometheus
Bound" and companion pictures--Second Journey to Augsburg--Portraits of
Philip of Spain--The so-called "Marques del Vasto" at Cassel--The "St.
Margaret"--"Danae" of Madrid--The "Trinity"--"Venus and Adonis"--"La

At last, in the autumn of 1545, the master of Cadore, at the age of
sixty-eight years, was to see Rome, its ruins, its statues, its
antiquities, and what to the painter of the Renaissance must have meant
infinitely more, the Sixtine Chapel and the Stanze of the Vatican. Upon
nothing in the history of Venetian art have its lovers, and the many
who, with profound interest, trace Titian's noble and perfectly
consistent career from its commencement to its close, more reason to
congratulate themselves than on this circumstance, that in youth and
earlier manhood fortune and his own success kept him from visiting Rome.
Though his was not the eclectic tendency, the easily impressionable
artistic temperament of a Sebastiano Luciani--the only eclectic,
perhaps, who managed all the same to prove and to maintain himself an
artist of the very first rank--if Titian had in earlier life been lured
to the Eternal City, and had there settled, the glamour of the grand
style might have permanently and fatally disturbed his balance. Now it
was too late for the splendid and gracious master, who even at
sixty-eight had still before him nearly thirty fruitful years, to
receive any impressions sufficiently deep to penetrate to the root of
his art. There is some evidence to show that Titian, deeply impressed
with the highest manifestations of the Florentine and Umbro-Florentine
art transplanted to Rome, considered that his work had improved after
the visit of 1545-1546. If there was such improvement--and certainly in
the ultimate phases of his practice there will be evident in some ways
a wider view, a higher grasp of essentials, a more responsive
sensitiveness in the conceiving anew of the great sacred subjects--it
must have come, not from any effort to assimilate the manner or to
assume the standpoint which had obtained in Rome, but from the closer
contact with a world which at its centre was beginning to take a deeper,
a more solemn and gloomy view of religion and life. It should not be
forgotten that this was the year when the great Council of Trent first
met, and that during the next twenty years or more the whole of Italy,
nay, the whole of the Catholic world, was overshadowed by its

Titian's friend and patron of that time, Guidobaldo II., Duke of Urbino,
had at first opposed Titian's visit to the Roman court, striving to
reserve to himself the services of the Venetian master until such time
as he should have carried out for him the commissions with which he was
charged. Yielding, however, to the inevitable, and yielding, too, with a
good grace, he himself escorted his favourite with his son Orazio from
Venice through Ferrara to Pesaro, and having detained him a short while
there, granted him an escort through the Papal States to Rome. There he
was well received by the Farnese Pope, and with much cordiality by
Cardinal Bembo. Rooms were accorded to him in the Belvedere section of
the Vatican Palace, and there no doubt he painted the unfinished
portrait-group _Paul III. with Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and Ottavio
Farnese_, which has been already described, and with it other pieces of
the same type, and portraits of the Farnese family and circle now no
longer to be traced. Vasari, well pleased no doubt to renew his
acquaintance with the acknowledged head of the contemporary Venetian
painters, acted as his cicerone in the visits to the antiquities of
Rome, to the statues and art-treasures of the Vatican, while Titian's
fellow-citizen Sebastiano del Piombo was in his company when he studied
the Stanze of Raphael.

It was but three years since Michelangelo's _Last Judgment_ had been
uncovered in the Sixtine, and it would have been in the highest degree
interesting to read his comments on this gigantic performance, towards
which it was so little likely that his sympathies would spontaneously go
out. Memorable is the visit paid by Buonarroti, with an unwonted regard
for ceremonious courtesy, to Titian in his apartments at the Belvedere,
as it is recalled by Vasari with that naive touch, that power of
suggestion, which gives such delightful colour to his unstudied prose.
No _Imaginary Conversation_ among those that Walter Savage Landor has
devised equals in significance this meeting of the two greatest masters
then living, simply as it is sketched in by the Aretine biographer. The
noble Venetian representing the alternating radiance and gloom of earth,
its fairest pages as they unfold themselves, the joys and sorrows, the
teeming life of humanity; the mighty Florentine disdainful of the world,
its colours, its pulsations, its pomps and vanities, incurious of
mankind save in its great symbolical figures, soaring like the solitary
eagle into an atmosphere of his own where the dejected beholder can
scarce breathe, and, sick at heart, oppressed with awe, lags far behind!

[Illustration: _Pope Paul III. with Cardinal Farnese and Ottavio
Farnese. Naples Gallery. From a Photograph by E. Alinari._]

Titian the gracious, the serene, who throughout a long life of splendid
and by comparison effortless achievement has openly and candidly drunk
deep of all the joys of life, a man even as others are! Michelangelo the
austere, the scornful, to whom the pleasures of the world, the company
in well-earned leisure of his fellow-man, suggest but the loss of
precious hours which might be devoted to the shaping in solitude of
masterpieces; in the very depths of whose nature lurk nevertheless, even
in old age, the strangest ardours, the fiercest and most insatiate
longings for love and friendship!

Let Vasari himself be heard as to this meeting. "Michelangelo and Vasari
going one day to pay a visit to Titian in the Belvedere, saw, in a
picture which he had then advanced towards completion, a nude female
figure representing _Danae_ as she receives the embrace of Jove
transformed into a rain of gold, and, as the fashion is in people's
presence, praised it much to him. When they had taken leave, and the
discussion was as to the art of Titian, Buonarroti praised it highly,
saying that the colour and handling pleased him much, but that it was a
subject for regret that at Venice they did not learn from the very
beginning to design correctly, and that its painters did not follow a
better method in their study of art." It is the battle that will so
often be renewed between the artist who looks upon colour as merely a
complement and adjunct to design, and the painter who regards it as not
only the outer covering, but the body and soul of art. We remember how
the stiff-necked Ingres, the greatest Raphaelesque of this century,
hurled at Delacroix's head the famous dictum, "Le dessin c'est la
probite de l'art," and how his illustrious rival, the chief of a
romanticism which he would hardly acknowledge, vindicated by works
rather than by words his contention that, if design was indeed art's
conscience, colour was its life-blood, its very being.

The _Danae_, seen and admired with reservations by Buonarroti in the
painting-room of Titian at the Belvedere, is now, with its beauty
diminished in important particulars, to be found with the rest of the
Farnese pictures in the gallery of the Naples Museum. It serves to show
that if the artist was far beyond the stage of imitation or even of
assimilation on the larger scale, he was, at any rate, affected by the
Roman atmosphere in art. For once he here comes nearer to the
realisation of Tintoretto's ideal--the colour of Titian and the design
of Michelangelo--than his impetuous pupil and rival ever did. While
preserving in the _Danae_ his own true warmth and transparency of
Venetian colour--now somewhat obscured yet not effaced--he combines
unusual weightiness and majesty with voluptuousness in the nude, and
successfully strives after a more studied rhythm in the harmony of the
composition generally than the art of Venice usually affected.

[Illustration: _Danae and the Golden Rain. Naples Gallery. From a
Photograph by E. Alinari._]

Titian, in his return from Rome, which he was never to revisit, made a
stay at Florence with an eye, as we may guess, both to business and
pleasure. There, as Vasari takes care to record, our master visited the
artistic sights, and _rimase stupefatto_--remained in breathless
astonishment--as he had done when he made himself acquainted with the
artistic glories of Rome. This is but vague, and a little too much
smacks of self-flattery and adulation of the brother Tuscans. Titian was
received by Duke Cosimo at Poggio a Caiano, but his offer to paint the
portrait of the Medici ruler was not well received. It may be, as Vasari
surmises, that this attitude was taken up by the duke in order not to do
wrong to the "many noble craftsmen" then practising in his city and
dominion. More probably, however, Cosimo's hatred and contempt of his
father's minion Aretino, whose portrait by Titian he had condescended to
retain, yet declined to acknowledge, impelled him to show something less
than favour to the man who was known to be the closest friend and
intimate of this self-styled "Scourge of Princes."

Crowe and Cavalcaselle have placed about the year 1555 the extravagantly
lauded _St. John the Baptist in the Desert_, once in the church of S.M.
Maria Maggiore at Venice, and now in the Accademia there. To the writer
it appears that it would best come in at this stage--that is to say in
or about 1545--not only because the firm close handling in the nude
would be less explicable ten years later on, but because the conception
of the majestic St. John is for once not pictorial but purely
sculptural. Leaving Rome, and immediately afterwards coming into contact
for the first time with the wonders of the earlier Florentine art,
Titian might well have conceived, might well have painted thus. Strange
to say, the influence is not that of Michelangelo, but, unless the
writer is greatly deceived, that of Donatello, whose noble ascetic type
of the _Precursor_ is here modernised, and in the process deprived of
some of its austerity. The glorious mountain landscape, with its
brawling stream, fresher and truer than any torrent of Ruysdael's, is
all Titian. It makes the striking figure of St. John, for all its
majesty, appear not a little artificial.

The little town of Serravalle, still so captivatingly Venetian in its
general aspect, holds one of the most magnificent works of Titian's late
time, a vast _Virgin and Child with St. Peter and St. Andrew_. This
hangs--or did when last seen by the writer--in the choir of the Church
of St. Andrew; there is evidence in Titian's correspondence that it was
finished in 1547, so that it must have been undertaken soon after the
return from Rome. In the distance between the two majestic figures of
the saints is a prospect of landscape with a lake, upon which Titian has
shown on a reduced scale Christ calling Peter and Andrew from their
nets; an undisguised adaptation this, by the veteran master, of the
divine Urbinate's _Miraculous Draught of Fishes_, but one which made of
the borrowed motive a new thing, no excrescence but an integral part of
the conception. In this great work, which to be more universally
celebrated requires only to be better known to those who do not come
within the narrow circle of students, there is evidence that while
Titian, after his stay at the Papal court, remained firm as a rock in
his style and general principles--luckily a Venetian and no
pseudo-Roman,--his imagination became more intense in its glow, gloomier
but grander, than it had been in middle age--his horizon altogether
vaster. To a grand if sometimes too unruffled placidity succeeded a
physical and psychical perturbation which belonged both to the man in
advanced years and to the particular moment in the century. Even in his
treatment of classic myth, of the nude in goddess and woman, there was,
as we shall see presently, a greater unrest and a more poignant
sensuality--there was evidence of a mind and temperament troubled anew
instead of being tranquillised by the oncoming of old age.

Are we to place here, as Crowe and Cavalcaselle do, the _Venus and
Cupid_ of the Tribuna and the _Venus with the Organ Player_ of the
Prado? The technical execution of these canvases, the treatment of
landscape in the former, would lead the writer to place them some years
farther on still in the _oeuvre_ of the master. There are, however,
certain reasons for following them in this chronological arrangement.
The _Venus and Cupid_ which hangs in the Tribuna of the Uffizi, as the
pendant to the more resplendent but more realistic _Venus of Urbino_, is
a darker and less well-preserved picture than its present companion, but
a grander if a more audacious presentment of the love-goddess. Yet even
here she is not so much the Cytherean as an embodiment of the Venetian
ideal of the later time, an exemplification of the undisguised worship
of fleshly loveliness which then existed in Venice. It has been pointed
out that the later Venus has the features of Titian's fair daughter
Lavinia, and this is no doubt to a certain extent true. The goddesses,
nymphs, and women of this time bear a sort of general family resemblance
to her and to each other. This piece illustrates the preferred type of
Titian's old age, as the _Vanitas, Herodias_, and _Flora_ illustrate the
preferred type of his youth; as the paintings which we have learnt to
associate with the Duchess of Urbino illustrate that of his middle time.
The dignity and rhythmic outline of Eros in the _Danae_ of Naples have
been given up in favour of a more naturalistic conception of the
insinuating urchin, who is in this _Venus and Cupid_ the successor of
those much earlier _amorini_ in the _Worship of Venus_ at Madrid. The
landscape in its sweeping breadth is very characteristic of the late
time, and would give good reason for placing the picture later than it
here appears. The difficulty is this. The _Venus with the Organ
Player_[39] of Madrid, which in many essential points is an inferior
repetition of the later _Venus_ of the Tribuna, contains the portrait of
Ottavio Farnese, much as we see him in the unfinished group painted, as
has been recorded, at Rome in 1546. This being the case, it is not easy
to place the _Venus and Cupid_, or its subsequent adaptation, much later
than just before the journey to Augsburg. The _Venus with the Organ
Player_ has been overrated; there are things in this canvas which we
cannot without offence to Titian ascribe to his own brush. Among these
are the tiresome, formal landscape, the wooden little dog petted by
Venus, and perhaps some other passages. The goddess herself and the
amorous Ottavio, though this last is not a very striking or successful
portrait, may perhaps be left to the master. He vindicates himself more
completely than in any other passage of the work when he depicts the
youthful, supple form of the Venetian courtesan, as in a merely passive
pose she personates the goddess whose insignificant votary she really
is. It cannot be denied that he touches here the lowest level reached by
him in such delineations. What offends in this _Venus with the Organ
Player_, or rather _Ottavio Farnese with his Beloved_, is that its
informing sentiment is not love, or indeed any community of sentiment,
but an ostentatious pride in the possession of covetable beauty subdued
like that of Danae herself by gold.

If we are to assume with Crowe and Cavalcaselle that the single figure
_Ecce Homo_ of the Prado Gallery was the piece taken by the master to
Charles V. when, at the bidding of the Emperor, he journeyed to
Augsburg, we can only conclude that his design was carried out by pupils
or assistants. The execution is not such as we can ascribe to the brush
which is so shortly to realise for the monarch a group of masterpieces.

It was in January 1548 that Titian set forth to obey the command of the
Emperor, "per far qualche opera," as Count Girolamo della Torre has it
in a letter of recommendation given to Titian for the Cardinal of Trent
at Augsburg. It is significant to find the writer mentioning the
painter, not by any of the styles and titles which he had a right to
bear, especially at the court of Charles V., but extolling him as
"Messer Titiano Pittore et il primo huomo della Christianita."[40]

It might be imagined that it would be a terrible wrench for Titian, at
the age of seventy, to transplant himself suddenly, and for the first
time, into a foreign land. But then he was not as other men of seventy
are. The final years of his unexampled career will conclusively show
that he preserved his mental and physical vigour to the end. Further,
the imperial court with its Spanish etiquette, its Spanish language and
manners, was much the same at Augsburg as he had known it on previous
occasions at Bologna. Moreover, Augsburg and Nuremberg[41] had, during
the last fifty years, been in close touch with Venice in all matters
appertaining to art and commerce. Especially the great banking house of
the Fuggers had the most intimate relations with the queen-city of the
Adriatic. Yet art of the two great German cities would doubtless appeal
less to the Venetian who had arrived at the zenith of his development
than it would and did to the Bellinis and their school at the beginning
of the century. The gulf had become a far wider one, and the points of
contact were fewer.

The trusted Orazio had been left behind, notwithstanding the success
which he had achieved during the Roman tour, and it may be assumed that
he presided over the studio and workshop at Biri Grande during his
father's absence. Titian was accompanied to Augsburg by his second
cousin, Cesare Vecellio,[42] who no doubt had a minor share in very many
of the canvases belonging to the period of residence at Augsburg. Our
master's first and most grateful task must have been the painting of the
great equestrian portrait of the Emperor at the Battle of Muehlberg,
which now hangs in the Long Gallery of the Prado at Madrid. It suffered
much injury in the fire of the Pardo Palace, which annihilated so many
masterpieces, but is yet very far from being the "wreck" which, with an
exaggeration not easily pardonable under the circumstances, Crowe and
Cavalcaselle have described it. In the presence of one of the world's
masterpieces criticism may for once remain silent, willingly renouncing
all its rights. No purpose would be served here by recording how much
paint has been abraded in one corner, how much added in another. A deep
sense of thankfulness should possess us that the highest manifestation
of Titian's genius has been preserved, even though it be shorn of some
of its original beauty. Splendidly armed in steel from head to foot, and
holding firmly grasped in his hand the spear, emblem of command in this
instance rather than of combat, Caesar advances with a mien impassive yet
of irresistible domination. He bestrides with ease his splendid
dark-brown charger, caparisoned in crimson, and heavily weighted like
himself with the full panoply of battle, a perfect harmony being here
subtly suggested between man and beast. The rich landscape, with a gleam
of the Elbe in the distance, is still in the half gloom of earliest day;
but on the horizon, and in the clouds overhead, glows the red ominous
light of sunrise, colouring the veils of the morning mist. The Emperor
is alone--alone as he must be in life and in death--a man, yet lifted so
high above other men that the world stretches far below at his feet,
while above him this ruler knows no power but that of God. It is not
even the sneer of cold command, but a majesty far higher and more
absolutely convinced of its divine origin, that awes the beholder as he
gazes. In comparison with the supreme dignity of this ugly, pallid
Hapsburger, upon whom disease and death have already laid a shadowy
finger, how artificial appear the divine assumptions of an Alexander,
how theatrical the Olympian airs of an Augustus, how merely vulgar and
ill-worn the imperial poses of a Napoleon.

[Illustration: _Charles V. at the Battle of Muehlberg. Gallery of the
Prado, Madrid. From a Photograph by Braun, Clement & Cie._]

No veracious biographer of Titian could pretend that he is always thus
imaginative, that coming in contact with a commanding human
individuality he always thus unfolds the outer wrappings to reveal the
soul within. Indeed, especially in the middle time just past, he not
infrequently contents himself with the splendid outsides of splendid
things. To interpret this masterpiece as the writer has ventured to do,
it is not necessary to assume that Titian reasoned out the poetic
vision, which was at the same time an absolutely veracious presentment,
argumentatively with himself, as the painter of such a portrait in words
might have done. Pictorial genius of the creative order does not proceed
by such methods, but sees its subject as a whole, leaving to others the
task of probing and unravelling. It should be borne in mind, too, that
this is the first in order, as it is infinitely the greatest and the
most significant among the vast equestrian portraits of monarchs by
court painters. Velazquez on the one hand, and Van Dyck on the other,
have worked wonders in the same field. Yet their finest productions,
even the _Philip IV._, the _Conde Duque Olivarez_, the _Don Balthasar
Carlos_ of the Spaniard, even the two equestrian portraits of Charles
I., the _Francisco de Moncada_, the _Prince Thomas of Savoy_ of the
Fleming, are in comparison but magnificent show pieces aiming above all
at decorative pomp and an imposing general effect.

We come to earth and every-day weariness again with the full-length of
Charles V., which is now in the Alte Pinakothek of Munich. Here the
monarch, dressed in black and seated in a well-worn crimson velvet
chair, shows without disguise how profoundly he is ravaged by ill-health
and _ennui_. Fine as the portrait still appears notwithstanding its bad
condition, one feels somehow that Titian is not in this instance, as he
is in most others, perfect master of his material, of the main elements
of his picture. The problem of relieving the legs cased in black against
a relatively light background, and yet allowing to them their full
plastic form, is not perfectly solved. Neither is it, by the way, as a
rule in the canvases of those admirable painters of men, the
quasi-Venetians, Moretto of Brescia and Moroni of Bergamo. The
Northerners--among them Holbein and Lucidel--came nearer to perfect
success in this particular matter. The splendidly brushed-in prospect of
cloudy sky and far-stretching country recalls, as Morelli has observed,
the landscapes of Rubens, and suggests that he underwent the influence
of the Cadorine in this respect as in many others, especially after his
journey as ambassador to Madrid.

Another portrait, dating from the first visit to Augsburg, is the
half-length of the Elector John Frederick of Saxony, now in the Imperial
Gallery at Vienna. He sits obese and stolid, yet not without the dignity
that belongs to absolute simplicity, showing on his left cheek the wound
received at the battle of Muehlberg. The picture has, as a portrait by
Titian, no very commanding merit, no seduction of technique, and it is
easy to imagine that Cesare Vecellio may have had a share in it.
Singular is the absence of all pose, of all attempt to harmonise the
main lines of the design or give pictorial elegance to the naive
directness of the presentment. This mode of conception may well have
been dictated to the courtly Venetian by sturdy John Frederick himself.

The master painted for Mary, Queen Dowager of Hungary, four canvases
specially mentioned by Vasari, _Prometheus Bound to the Rock, Ixion,
Tantalus_, and _Sisyphus_, which were taken to Spain at the moment of
the definitive migration of the court in 1556. Crowe and Cavalcaselle
state that the whole four perished in the all-devouring conflagration of
the Pardo Palace, and put down the _Prometheus_ and _Sisyphus_ of the
Prado Gallery as copies by Sanchez Coello. It is difficult to form a
definite judgment on canvases so badly hung, so darkened and injured.
They certainly look much more like Venetian originals than Spanish
copies. These mythological subjects may very properly be classed with
the all too energetic ceiling-pictures now in the Sacristy of the
Salute. Here again the master, in the effort to be grandiose in a style
not properly his, overreaches himself and becomes artificial. He must
have left Augsburg this time in the autumn of 1548, since in the month
of October of that year we find him at Innsbruck making a family picture
of the children of King Ferdinand, the Emperor's brother. That monarch
himself, his two sons and five daughters, he had already portrayed.

Much feasting, much rejoicing, in the brilliant and jovial circle
presided over by Aretino and the brother Triumvirs, followed upon our
master's return to Venice. Aretino, who after all was not so much the
scourge as the screw of princes, would be sure to think the more highly
of the friend whom he really cherished in all sincerity, when he
returned from close and confidential intercourse with the mightiest
ruler of the age, the source not only of honour but of advantages which
the Aretine, like Falstaff, held more covetable because more
substantial. To the year 1549 belongs the gigantic woodcut _The

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest