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

Portrait of Doge Andrea Gritti

c. 1545
Oil on canvas, 133 x 103 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

Titian's portraits provide a gallery of the leading aristocrats of Italy. Most of these works are essentially idealized state portraits, although the heads are very convincingly rendered. Doge Andrea Gritti is to a greater extent a symbol of the office - that is, that of ruler of Venice. The gigantic body in a canvas of large size is sweeping in design and commanding in presence.

The fine harmony of the reds and golds, and the upward sweep from the bottom left of the open brocade cloak, whose strong lines end at the top of the Doge's hat, give this painting a sense of power and glory. The Doge's severe gaze, signaling his strength and determination, deepen this impression. For stylistic reasons it is nowadays assumed that this portrait was not painted until about 1545, long after Gritti's death in 1538.