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

Portrait of Jacopo (Giacomo) Dolfin (detail)

c. 1532
Oil on canvas
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

More than any other sixteenth-century Venetian painter, Titian understood how to meet the needs of the ruling classes by combining the demands of likeness with those of social dignity and emotional reserve. His Portrait of Jacopo (Giacomo) Dolfin - perhaps commissioned to commemorate the sitter's appointment as provincial governor of the mainland city of Treviso in 1532 - shows him dressed in his somberly opulent official crimson robes, and displaying an identifying letter with a simple gesture of his right hand. His severe and somewhat inscrutable facial expression is appropriate to a nobleman appointed to weighty responsibility.