Titian's Late Light & Shade

Tiziano Vecellio, Deposition of Christ in the Sepulchre, 1559, Madrid (Museo Nac
Tiziano Vecellio, Deposition of Christ in the Sepulchre, 1559, Madrid (Museo Nacional del Prado © Museo Nacional del Prado)

Rachel Spence reviews the exhibition Tiziano at the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, on view through June 16, 2013.

Spence writes: "Whatever his subject, the Venetian master always dissolved intellect into imagination; conceptuality into organic compositions. No wonder he is the painter’s painter; the touchstone for Rubens, Velázquez and Delacroix. (The latter said that all great painters were Titian’s 'flesh and blood.') Yet the Scuderie exhibition complicates this narrative in intriguing ways. The clutch of familiar masterpieces – the Uffizi’s winsome 'Flora,' the Louvre’s enigmatic 'Man with a Glove' – are a thrill to behold. But it is thanks to a remarkable core of mid-to-late religious paintings that a different Titian emerges: darker, deeper, more explicitly spiritual; anticipating Caravaggio in his experiments with light and shade."