Titians altarpieces in the church of the Frari Venice

Titian's Pesaro and Assunta. Altarpieces in the church of the Frari, Venice.
What was the importance of these two altarpieces for the development of painting in Venice, both from a stylistic and iconographic point of view?
It has been said that Titian's Assunta, which adorns the high altar, and Pesaro (on the left aisle of the chapel of the Immaculate Conception) stand mid-way between the past and the future of Venetian painting. This infers that Titian drew on established traditions learnt from his masters Bellini and Giorgione, and imbued his works with a freshness and inspiration not seen before. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that his sensitive construction of the works – considering the authority of his patrons – facilitate a depth of interpretation which highlight both the sacred and civic concerns of the time.
To illustrate Titian's progressive role in Venetian art history, I will draw on Renaissance documentation, and contemporary research that notes the stylistic and iconographic elements of these altarpieces. In 1568 the Florentine chronicler Vasari wrote of Titian, "Titian…who has adorned with great pictures the City of Venice…deserves the love and respect of all craftsmen, who ought to admire and imitate him in many things. For he is a painter who has produced…work which…will live as long as the memory of illustrious men endures" . This is a useful starting point for such an investigation: this representation is valid, since Vasari had met and spoken to him while writing the book, and being a Florentine he wasn't so susceptible to employing the Venetian rhetoric which could tend to be biased
The contemporary chronicler Ludovico Dolce recorded the shock and criticism the Assunta attracted when it wasfirst unveiled. Such controversy points to its radicalism and supports assertions that it was influential for developing artists: "For all [the panel's gr…


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