Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian in English
One such artist we studied together is Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian in English. He was famous for his mastery of the paintbrush as you can see from his self portrait above painted in about 1567.
Now one thing I need to say as your advisor in such artistic matters is that in my opinion this could not possibly be a self-portrait of the grand master. This is because the painting is done in profile.
At the time when Titian is supposed to have painted it they did not have cameras; and the only way that he could have known what he looked like is by looking at a mirror face on - full frontal. There is no way he could have looked at his profile in a mirror and paint the masterpiece at the same time. Not unless he had the paint brush firmly stuck in his ear and he painted by standing sideways to the canvas. Either that, or someone else painted the picture which would not make it a self-portrait.
Please contain your self-amazement at my prowess a little longer as I go on.
One of Titian's famous paintings is "Venus and Organist and Little Dog" painted in 1550 (ten to four in the afternoon for those of you unfamiliar with the 24 hour clock).
I wonder how many times they had to pose for him like that. And with an open window behind her so that the gardener could have a good look whilst mowing the lawn.
Now what I've discovered in my research on your behalf is that Titian must have really enjoyed painting this particular scene. So much so that no sooner he had finished he tried painting it all over again. See below.
He also asked her to look up to a little Cupid character rather than down at the dog as previously.
Unfortunately he could not convince the man (a different person wearing different clothes and with no sword) to look forward whilst playing his organ. He too prefered to lean back and admire the bracelet which the model is wearing. That's his excuse and he is sticking to it!
Can you see the gardener in red by the trees on the left?
Not quite satisfied with this version of events, Titian had another go as we can admire below.
In this painting Titian uses yet another much younger man to play the organ. This is because the other two had to retire with a stiff neck having to look backwards. Despite being warned this fellow too claims that he is only admiring the model's necklace (not bracelet). Likely story! (Note how his eyes point at a different direction compared to the previous two paintings).
You'll also notice that Titian has changed the background from a garden to an open plain with a whole village in centre stage so that the inhabitants can also have a good look with their binoculars.
Yet, not totally satisfied with his efforts, our master had another go at the same painting.
The same model, having got enough of the dogs all over her bed, and various organists ogling her, insists to Titian that they must go away.
"I will not pose nude with organists looking at me!" she says as she takes her clothes off.
Titian agrees and gets rid of the dog and replaces the organist with a lute player.
Drat! The silly woman should have been more specific.
To be fair, the lute player is much younger than all of the organists before him, so he is less likely to get neck cramp sitting in that twisted position. The model is holding a stick in her hand in case the amourous lute player comes too close. And her legs are well positioned to give him a good kick in the kidneys, just in case.
You'll note that Titian changed the background scenery once again.
But this was not enough. Titian wanted to try one more time.
"And keep the dog well away by my feet!" she tells Titian.
He agrees. But asks, "Can I have my pet pigeon on the window behind you?"
"Oh OK ..." she answers, "as long as he doesn't fly and peck at my backside!"
And here you have it. Titian's famous painting of Venus and Coo Coo his pet pigeon.
As you'll appreciate, dear readers, one has to wonder whether Titian painted all these paintings himself, (the model appears to be the same in all of them), or whether he painted one scene and other painters painted the rest.
If that were the case, then all the copies are just imitations of the one the master himself painted. But which is which? How can we tell which one is the original?
I don't know.
In order to find out whether it is possible to paint just like Titian I thought I'd give it a go. Not to be outdone I searched for my paint brush and palette of colours; I hired a model to pose for me, and promised her that there would be no organists or lute players ogling at her every aspect.
I hope you like the end result of my efforts ....