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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Earlier Work of Titian.
that Titian throughout his career made use of the mountain scenery of Cadore in the backgrounds to his pictures; and yet, if we except the great Battle of Cadore itself (now known only in Fontana’s print, in a reduced version of part of the composition to be found at the Uffizi, and in a drawing of Rubens at the Albertina), this is only true in a modified sense.  Undoubtedly, both in the backgrounds to altar-pieces, Holy Families, and Sacred Conversations, and in the landscape drawings of the type so freely copied and adapted by Domenico Campagnola, we find the jagged, naked peaks of the Dolomites aspiring to the heavens.  In the majority of instances, however, the middle distance and foreground to these is not the scenery of the higher Alps, with its abrupt contrasts, its monotonous vesture of fir or pine forests clothing the mountain sides, and its relatively harsh and cold colouring, but the richer vegetation of the Friulan mountains in their lower slopes, or of the beautiful hills bordering upon the overflowing richness of the Venetian plain.  Here the painter found greater variety, greater softness in the play of light, and a richness more suitable to the character of Venetian art.  All these tracts of country, as well as the more grandiose scenery of his native Cadore itself, he had the amplest opportunities for studying in the course of his many journeyings from Venice to Pieve and back, as well as in his shorter expeditions on the Venetian mainland.  How far Titian’s Alpine origin, and his early bringing-up among needy mountaineers, may be taken to account for his excessive eagerness to reap all the material advantages of his artistic pre-eminence, for his unresting energy when any post was to be obtained or any payment to be got in, must be a matter for individual appreciation.  Josiah Gilbert—­quoted by Crowe and Cavalcaselle[4]—­pertinently asks, “Might this mountain man have been something of a ‘canny Scot’ or a shrewd Swiss?” In the getting, Titian was certainly all this, but in the spending he was large and liberal, inclined to splendour and voluptuousness, even more in the second than in the first half of his career.  Vasari relates that Titian was lodged at Venice with his uncle, an “honourable citizen,” who, seeing his great inclination for painting, placed him under Giovanni Bellini, in whose style he soon became a proficient.  Dolce, apparently better instructed, gives, in his Dialogo della Pittura, Zuccato, best known as a mosaic worker, as his first master; next makes him pass into the studio of Gentile Bellini, and thence into that of the caposcuola Giovanni Bellini; to take, however, the last and by far the most important step of his early career when he becomes the pupil and partner, or assistant, of Giorgione.  Morelli[5] would prefer to leave Giovanni Bellini altogether out of Titian’s artistic descent.  However this may be, certain traces of Gentile’s influence may be observed in the art of the Cadorine painter, especially in the earlier
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