Titian’s Altarpieces: Color, Innovation, and Invention
Titian, Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro, 1519-26, Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice Photograph: Katherine Arens
TITIAN’S ALTARPIECES: COLOR, INNOVATION, AND INVENTION
Titian was a master of paint and color; his influence on Western art is enormous and far reaching. Through careful examination of Titian’s altarpiece paintings, Assumption and Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro, it is possible to glimpse not only the unusual, yet inherently Venetian, way Titian approached painting, but also the decisions that led to the final artworks and to his unique contributions to Renaissance painting. This paper will briefly outline the history of altarpieces in Venice, the progression of naturalism in those paintings, some of the people and events influencing Titian, and finally it will examine the innovative ways in which Titian approached these masterpieces. With the Assumption, created for the high altar in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Titian is credited, by Marino Sanuto, a Venetian historian, diarist and contemporary of Titian, with establishing the High Renaissance in Venice.  The secular references in the Madonna di Ca’ Pesaro are without precedent in altarpieces of the period and serve to make this altarpiece a combination of sacra conversazione, votive painting, and funerary painting. Many of the elements destined to become hallmarks of this master of Renaissance painting are exemplified in these two exceptional altarpieces.
David Rosand, Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice: Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto, rev. ed. (New Haven: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 35.
The Katherine’s Blog link will take you to the research paper, Titian’s Altarpieces: Color, Innovation, and Invention. From there it is possible to see the other blog pages; not all relate to Venice Seminar.