(born 1488/90, Pieve di Cadore, Republic of Venice—died Aug. 27, 1576, Venice) Italian painter active in Venice. As a young man he was taught by the Bellini family and worked closely with Giorgione. His early works are so similar in style to Giorgione's as to be indistinguishable, but soon after Giorgione's early death Titian established himself as the leading painter of the Republic of Venice. Among his most important religious paintings is the revolutionary and monumental Assumption (1516–18) for Santa Maria dei Frari, in which the Virgin ascends to heaven in a blaze of colour accompanied by a semicircle of angels. Titian was also interested in mythological themes, and his many depictions of Venus display his work's sheer beauty and inherent eroticism. Bacchus and Ariadne (1520–23), with its pagan abandon, is one of the greatest works of Renaissance art. Titian was sought after for his psychologically penetrating portraits, which include portrayals of leading Italian aristocrats, religious figures, and Emperor Charles V. He reached the height of his powers in The Rape of Europa (circa 1559–62), one of several paintings done for Philip II of Spain. He was recognized as supremely gifted in his lifetime, and his reputation has never declined.
Learn more about Titian with a free trial on Britannica.com.