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Titian after 1540: Technique and Style in his Later Works

Jill Dunkerton and Marika Spring. With contributions from Rachel Billinge, Helen Howard, Gabriella Macaro, Rachel Morrison, David Peggie, Ashok Roy, Lesley Stevenson and Nelly von Aderkas

Technical Bulletin 36, 2015


Volume 36 of the National Gallery Technical Bulletin focuses on Titian’s technique from after 1540 to his death in 1576. It follows Volume 34, which was dedicated to the first part of his career. This introductory essay addresses consistent factors in Titian’s practice, of which there are many, as well as changes as he grew older. These include the introduction of new materials such as smalt, a pigment that can lose its original blue colour. This alteration has had a considerable – and until now insufficiently appreciated – effect on our perception of some of Titian’s later works. The essay also discusses the variable levels of finish, or non finito, in Titian’s completed paintings, the development of his so-called ‘late style’ and if a painting was finished to the artist’s satisfaction. The role of his workshop is also addressed.


Titian, Parmigianino, Schiavone, Tintoretto, Venice, painting technique, canvas, pigments, underdrawing, X-radiograph, pentimenti, imprimitura, non finito, smalt, ultramarine, vermilion, red lead, red lake, kermes, madder, cochineal, azurite, lead-tin yellow, verdigris, malachite, yellow earth, orpiment, realgar, walnut oil, linseed oil

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To cite this article we suggest using

Dunkerton, J. and Spring, M., with contributions from R. Billinge, H. Howard, G. Macaro, R. Morrison, D. Peggie, A. Roy, L. Stevenson and N. von Aderkas, ‘Titian after 1540: Technique and Style in his Later Works’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol. 36, 2016, pp. 6–39.