Titian, his birth name was Tiziano Vecelli, was born between 1485-1490 in Cadore in the southern Alps, and was rumoured to be over ninety years old when he died of the plague in 1576.
The eldest of four sons he was known as Da Cadore, after his place of birth and the family were well known in the area. At the age of about twelve, he was apprenticed to the studios of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, the leading artists in Venice, and it was here that he met Giorgione, an artist who exercised a great influence on his painting style, and who he later joined as an assistant.
Some of the work between Giorgione and Titian has been the subject of controversy and attributing paintings to one artist or the other remains a contentious issue.
He was not a great architect or sculptor like Michelangelo, or the inventor and scientist that was Leonardo's
gift, he was just a painter, but a painter who fully utilised colour in
his work. Titian's style did alter throughout his long life but his
interest in colour never diminished. His use of paint and brushwork made him the foremost painter in Venice and his execution of both landscapes and portraits brought him great fame in his own lifetime.
Titian seems to have left very few drawings, his work was done on the canvass, altering and modifying as he worked with total control over his medium. His early self-portrait of 1510 shows his great skill and handling of paint, and the swollen blue shirt sleeve is a fine example of his genius.