The Earlier Work of Titian eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 105 pages of information about The Earlier Work of Titian.

[Illustration:  Tobias and the Angel.  S. Marciliano, Venice.  From a Photograph by Anderson.]

It was after a public competition between Titian, Palma, and Pordenone, instituted by the Brotherhood of St. Peter Martyr, that the great commission was given to the first-named master.  Palma had arrived at the end of his too short career, since he died in this same year, 1828.  Of Pordenone’s design we get a very good notion from the highly-finished drawing of the Martyrdom of St. Peter in the Uffizi, which is either by or, as the writer believes, after the Friulan painter, but is at any rate in conception wholly his.  Awkward and abrupt as this may seem in some respects, as compared with Titian’s astonishing performance, it represents the subject with a truer, a more tragic pathos.  Sublime in its gravity is the group of pitying angels aloft, and infinitely touching the Dominican saint who, in the moment of violent death, still asserts his faith.  Among the drawings which have been deemed to be preliminary sketches for the St. Peter Martyr are:  a pen-and-ink sketch in the Louvre showing the assassin chasing the companion of the victim; another, also in the Louvre, in which the murderer gazes at the saint lying dead; yet another at Lille, containing on one sheet thumb-nail sketches of (or from) the attendant friar, the actual massacre, and the angels in mid-air.  At the British Museum is the drawing of a soldier attacking the prostrate Dominican, which gives the impression of being an adaptation or variation of that drawing by Titian for the fresco of the Scuola del Santo, A Nobleman murdering his Wife, which is now, as has been pointed out above, at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Paris.  As to none of the above-mentioned drawings does the writer feel any confidence that they can be ascribed to the hand of Titian himself.[50]


[1] Herr Franz Wickhoff in his now famous article “Giorgione’s Bilder zu Roemischen Heldengedichten” (Jahrbuch der Koeniglich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen:  Sechzehnter Band, I. Heft) has most ingeniously, and upon what may be deemed solid grounds, renamed this most Giorgionesque of all Giorgiones after an incident in the Thebaid of Statius, Adrastus and Hypsipyle.  He gives reasons which may be accepted as convincing for entitling the Three Philosophers, after a familiar incident in Book viii. of the Aeneid, “Aeneas, Evander, and Pallas contemplating the Rock of the Capitol.”  His not less ingenious explanation of Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love will be dealt with a little later on.  These identifications are all-important, not only in connection with the works themselves thus renamed, and for the first time satisfactorily explained, but as compelling the students of Giorgione partly to reconsider their view of his art, and, indeed, of the Venetian idyll generally.

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The Earlier Work of Titian from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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