Tiziano Vecellio (1480-1576), Portrait of the Venetian Painter Giovanni Bellini?, 1511-12
According to the Italian artist and historiographer Giorgio Vasari’s (1511-1574) biography from 1568, Titian studied under Gentile Bellini (1429-1507), whose brother – and fellow artist – is believed to be the person portrayed here.
A nod to Bellini
Titian divided the background into two parts – a dark, uniform surface and a narrow glimpse of a rolling landscape with shepherds – as a nod to his old master, for Giovanni Bellini was among the artists who introduced this particular element in Venetian portraits.
Introducing movement to the painting
Titian added a new element to the traditional static pose: the model’s gaze and the twist of the body go in different directions thereby introducing movement. As the official painter of the Republic, Bellini chose to be portrayed wearing his official dress, a black costume worn by doctors, lawyers, civil servants, merchants, and aristocrats. At the time, the Sala del Maggior Consiglio in the Ducal Palace was just about to be decorated.
The young Titian vied with his far older mentor and many other Venetian painters for a portion of the commission. It is possible that Titian’s objective with this portrait was to prove that he could paint as well as his master – even surpass him by introducing new dynamics.
Close-up or another view
Here you can zoom-in on the work for a close-up view of all of the details. - Or you can gain a new understanding about the work by watching films where researchers, conservators and artists talk about the work from their viewpoint.
Zoom and see the details
Tizian, Portrait of the Venetian Painter Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430/31-1516)?, 1511-1512.
More views of the work – see the films
The artist Lillibeth Cuenca Rasmussen tells about Tizians painting: Portrait of the Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini.
Contributory: Lillibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
Our conservator Troels Filtenborg tells about Tizian's painting: Portrait of the Venetian Painter Giovanni Bellini?
Producer: Martin Køhler Jørgensen
Contributory: Troels Filtenborg