Why was Titian regarded as one of the great painters of mythology?
Tiziano Vecellio, one of the most famous Italian painters, was born in Cadore, in the Southern Alps probably around 1487-90. Even though he travelled a lot with his commissions for royal and noble patrons he was based in Venice in the era of Renaissance.
Renaissance- the Italian word rinascimento stands for Rebirth, rebirth of Ancient ideas and their reinterpretation in the modern life. It has undoubtly strongly influenced all forms of art, including the painting.
As a Venetian, Titian lived in the European capital of the publication of classical studies and had an access to the mythology. He was regularly surrounded by a circle of erudite friends, and was acquainted not only with a number of Ovid's translations of the myths, but, more importantly, with their general philosophy. This deep knowledge of Ancient myths is, in my opinion, one of the reasons why he was regarded as one of the great mythological painters.
In his paintings compared to analogical paintings by different artists one can see a story rather than a scene. For example if we look at the Titian's "Diana and Actaeon", one of the six paintings of his most famous group which he referred to as poesie, and compare it to Rembrandt's "Diana surprised by Actaion", we can clearly see a close up, people with emotions, thoughts, feelings through painted gestures and expressions. He portraits people as well as objects naturalistically. There are a lot of details, which tell us a whole story, rather than describe just one scene of a myth.We can easily identify Diana, Actaeon and the nymphs. It is also possible to follow the story in time: three times and three fates of Actaeon within a single scene – him arriving to the goddess's sacred grove, his transformation into the stag and his death and turning into the constellation Leo.
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