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

Eleonora Gonzaga

c. 1538
Oil on canvas, 114 x 102 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

In creating a pair of paintings of Francesco Maria della Rovere and Eleonora Gonzaga, duke and duchess of Urbino, Titian predictably reprised many of the themes seen in Piero della Francesca's double portrait of their predecessors, Federico da Montefeltre and Battista Sforza. Once again, the male portrait is more rugged and individualized, emphasizing military exploits and adventures. Francesco Maria poses alert in his stunningly rendered, glinting armor, his right arm and baton dramatically thrust out into the viewer's space. Behind him a splendid, plumed parade helmet, reflecting the vibrant, pulsating red of a velvet drape, faces a jauntily angled set of lances. In marked contrast, Eleonora Gonzaga sits primly in her chair, immobile within her highly detailed but much less lovingly depicted court dress. Her pet dog lies bored on a table in front of a window. Titian's landscape is expansive but untraversible, marked by a church tower in its idealized blue distance.