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


Oil on canvas, 96 x 75 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

This painting has been given a variety of dates ranging from the early 1550s to the 1560s. The manner in which the white is applied as a thick mass of paint in irregular and occasionally very large sections is reminiscent of Titian's style in about 1560, but the painting was not completed. There is only a suggestion of where his left hand is. It is interesting that he omitted any reference to his occupation. The only biographical allusion is the golden chain, the sign of his knighthood.

Comparing this painting with the later self-portrait in the Prado, the latter shows Titian as withdrawn and distant in near profile, in contrast to the self-portrait in Berlin, where he appears without the tools of his trade but as if staring critically at an unseen canvas as described by Palma Giovane.

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