TIZIANO Vecellio
(b. 1490, Pieve di Cadore, d. 1576, Venezia)

Sacrifice of Isaac

Oil on canvas, 328 x 285 cm
Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Titian executed three ceiling paintings (Sacrifice of Isaac; Cain and Abel; David and Goliath) for the ceiling of the church Santo Spirito in Isola (now they are in the sacristy of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice). These paintings are characterized by the spiraling movement of the figures, the counterpoised poses and the strong intersecting diagonals. In these canvases we see Titian's Mannerism at its height.

Following St Augustine's and St Paul's suggestion, Isaac is seen as an image for Christ's own sacrifice. The supreme acceptance of Abraham is the equivalent of justification by faith.