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

Portrait of the Doge Francesco Venier

Oil on canvas, 114 x 99 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Francesco Venier (1490-1556) was elected Doge on 11 June 1554. He reigned for scarcely two years, until 2 June 1556. This portrait is an excellent example of the way Titian used colour during his late period. The picture does not break up into countless colours. Only in the garment is there a fine play of golden hues, underlining the delicacy of the frail Doge. So far there has been no explanation for the fire in the lagoon, which is visible through the window. In terms of colour, the fire provides an important contrast with the blue sky.