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

Portrait of Charles V Seated

Oil on canvas, 205 x 122 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

At the beginning of 1548 Titian left Venice for Augsburg where he met Charles V, fresh from his great victory over the Protestant League at Mühlberg. At Augsburg (where he remained until October 1548) he was kept busy painting, chiefly, portraits of the Emperor and important members of his court.

Like the painting representing the Emperor at Mühlberg, this portrait was painted during the imperial Diet of Augsburg in 1548. It is, however, thought that Titian did not create the work single-handedly. There is an awkwardness in the foreshortening of the perspective of the chair; and the red carpet is an isolated colour contrast, very unusual in Titian's work. But there are also areas of high quality. The face, above all, demonstrates a fine power of observation. The deformation of Charles' lower jaw has been skillfully concealed. The intimate atmosphere of the painting, which contains no regal affectations, is unusual in Titian's portraits of rulers.