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Titian and the Renaissance in Venice
14 February, 2019
The Städel Museum will devote a major special exhibition to one of the most momentous chapters in the history of European art: Titian and the Venetian painting of the Renaissance.
Entitled “Titian and the Renaissance in Venice”, the show unites more than a hundred masterpieces – In the early sixteenth century, artists of the “City of Water” developed an independent strain of the Renaissance relying on purely painterly means and the impact of light and colour.
One of their most important exponents was Titian (ca. 1488/90–1576), who would hold the key position in the Venetian art scene all his life. The Frankfurt show assembles more than twenty examples by Titian alone – and thus the most extensive selection of his works ever before on display in Germany.
It will also present paintings and drawings by Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435–1516), Jacopo Palma il Vecchio (1479/80–1528), Sebastiano del Piombo (ca. 1485–1547), Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480–1556/57), Jacopo Tintoretto (ca. 1518/19–1594), Jacopo Bassano (ca. 1510–1592), Paolo Veronese (1528–1588) and others.
These works will offer comprehensive insights into the artistic and thematic breadth of the Renaissance in Venice and elucidate why artists of later centuries looked back to the art of this time and place again and again for orientation.
The exhibition introduces selected aspects of Venetian cinquecento painting in eight sections.
For example its atmospherically charged landscape depictions, its ideal likenesses of beautiful women (the so-called “belle donne”), or the importance of colour.
The thematically oriented chapters will together form a systematic panorama of the extensive material. Apart from the Venetian holdings in the Städel collection – including, Titian’s Portrait of a Young Man (ca. 1510) – the show brings together superb loans from more than sixty museums in Germany and abroad.
“This powerful theme – an art-historical classic – has recently come more strongly into focus in German museums. It gives us great pleasure to be able to present such a comprehensive, thematically structured panorama of Venetian painting of the Renaissance for the first time ever in Germany here in Frankfurt”, comments Städel director Philipp Demandt.
Titian’s contemporaries, for example Sebastiano del Piombo or Lorenzo Lotto, were soon spreading the innovations beyond the watery confines of Venice as well.
The 1540s saw the emergence of a new generation of highly gifted artists, among them Jacopo Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese and Jacopo Bassano, who now likewise competed for commissions. It was Titian, however, who set the standards for his rivals and admirers alike.
“Hardly any epoch of art history has known such continual reception. And within that context, Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese have been accorded the admiration otherwise reserved solely for Michelangelo and Raphael”, exhibition curator Bastian Eclercy emphasizes.
Top Image: Exhibition view “Titian and the Renaissance in Venice” Photo: Städel Museum