Room 12

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Titian and Venice 1500-1530

Around 1510, Venetian painting was transformed by a new generation of young artists, among them Giorgione and Titian. In their successful efforts to depict the fall of natural light on landscape and figures, they revolutionised the use of oil paint.

Giorgione painted with a new freedom, his brushstrokes looser and lighter than those of his predecessors. This style lent itself to capturing atmospheric effects in landscape, and the creation of new poetic moods for his subject matter. Many other Venetian painters, including Titian, adopted this way of painting to convey emotion.

After Giorgione’s early death, Titian became the city’s pre-eminent painter. His earliest works include monumental and subtly characterised portraits, and devotional pictures that combined artistic beauty with profound religious feeling. His Bacchus and Ariadne takes its inspiration from Latin literature and ancient art, animating a poetic narrative with rich colour and ecstatic movement.