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Titian's Portrait of a Man Holding a Book

Emily B. Collins, MPhil
Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2012;14(5):376-377. doi:10.1001/archfacial.2012.955.
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Sometimes an artist becomes so famous and such an integral part of the art historical cannon that it is hard to imagine that they were more famous in their own lifetime. Titian (about 1488 to August 27, 1576) is one of the most famous artists to emerge from the Italian Renaissance, a period that was characterized by a staggering amount of talent. His talent was one that was recognized and celebrated by his peers and contemporaries. Titian was born in the Alpine region of what is now Italy but was then a border area between Venice and the Holy Roman Empire. He was born with the name Tiziano Vecellio, later to be shortened to Titian. Titian was such an important painter that legends were invented about him. According to one such story, at the age of 8 years Titian chose to abandon the boyish games of his young friends in order to distill colors from the juices of flowers and then use the colors he made to paint a picture of the Madonna, talented and pious young man that he was. Although the story was retold many times, it was finally discredited in the late 1800s.2(p7)

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Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (about 1488 to 1576). Portrait of a Man Holding a Book, about 1540. Oil on canvas. 38½×30⅜ in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts. Charles Potter Kling Fund, 43 83.




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