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• He was once more, and for the last time, called upon to draw the portrait of that old admirer of the pencil, the emperor Charles, who told him, “this is the third time, Titian, that you have conferred immortality upon me.” The painter, a little disconcerted by such a compliment, accidentally dropt his pencil from his hand. The courteous emperor, stooping down, restored it to the artist, and remarked that “ such a painter as Titian should always be waited upon by emperors.” His surrounding attendants testifying some marks of disapprobation, the royal enthusiast continued, “I can create dukes, marquises, and counts; but such a painter as Titian can only be created by Heaven.” As a further testimonial of his esteem and reverence for his genius, he conferred on the artist the honours of knighthood, and allowed bim a pension of two hundred crowns a year.
Titian afterwards travelled into Spain, where he drew the portrait of Philip, and executed several other pieces. The most remarkable of those paintings is the Last Supper. The faces of the surrounding disciples are most delicately drawn, beauti. fully coloured, and have a delightful effect by chiaro obscuro. It is seven yards in extent. It would be a vain attempt to enumerate all his pieces: there was scarcely a person of eminence in Italy, whose portrait he had not taken.
Of landscape painting Titian was almost the father; for whether it be considered as a transcript of nature, such as it is presented to the eye, or that more enchanting one that selects, combines, and harmoniously groups together the most beautiful and congenial forms, he is equally preeminent in both. He was indeed not so much the painter as the philosopher of colours. He was perfecty versed in the doctrine of reflexes, or the influence of local lights on surrounding scenery. When a piece was finished by his scholars, by the addition of a few.slight and apparently unimportant touches of his pencil on the back ground, he threw over the whole such a variety of lights, it appeared perfectly new. These tints and demi-tints, he knew how to manage throughout all the gradations of contrast, from the boldest to the almost imperceptible varieties. It gave to his
figures what painters denominate an ideal depth, breadth and softness.
He gave not merely the verdure, but the peculiar glossiness of foliage; and nothing but the light zephyr seemed wanting to give to the fiction all the semblance of truth. In portraiture his carnations are endowed with all the plumpness and rotundity of flesh, from the rose and lily on the infantine cheek, to the hardier and more muscular hue of manhood, and the death-like paleness of age. He was arbitrary in his choice of colouring for drapery-a license that gave him great control of chiaro oscuro; and he seemed to consider drapery in no other light than as a vehicle to manage chiaro oscuro to advantage. This he im. proved either by spreading masses of light, and thus raising and rounding his figures, or distinguishing them by gentler tones of contrast. Although not so excellent in design, he, in some measure, compensated for that defect by such a disposition of his drapery, as to expose the most beautiful parts of the body.
The learned and eloquent Fuzeli imputes the occasional grandeur and sublimity displayed by his pencil, in a style approaching that of Angelo; such as is seen in his Abraham offering up Isaac; his Cain and Abel; his David adoring over the headless trunk of Goliah; to the sudden starts and the capricious and irregular sallies of his genius. Men of warm and vivid imaginations are not content to accept of obvious facts. Titian executed most of these pieces when he had past the age of seventy: a period of life when it is not to be presumed that fancy would exercise such a daring prerogative. The probability is, that he studied design, and amended, by continual and persevering industry, the defects of his early education. What strengthens this conjecture, is the rapid improvement made by this artist, when he abandoned Bellino's style, and adopted Georgione's. He very soon excelled that eminent artist; and when he found himself still reproved by Angelo, for his defect in this point, who can doubt that he redoubled his diligence? Probably it was this very reproof from Angelo, that prompted him to imitate his style with such signal success.
In Titian's latter days, his sight was much impaired; and he entertained a belief that his hues were not brilliant enough, a conviction wrought by the defect of his vision. He was desirous of retouching them; but his scholars mixed olive oil with his colours, and during his absence effaced his destructive labours without injury to his pieces. * In the earlier part of his life, his works appeared to the same advantage near, as remote, but in the latter part they were designed only for a distant view; for on a closer inspection they appeared to be filled with spots..
The annexed engraving, representing our Saviour crowned with thorns, is the outline of one of the finest paintings from the hand of this master, although not entirely, exempt from some of his cardinal defects.' The head of Christ has much dignity, the feeling of hatred, in the countenances of some of the sur. rounding spectators, is forcibly expressed. It is much to be lamented, that he did not, however, delineate the insulting irons expressed in the text, “ And they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, king of the Jews." The drape : ries and accessories are executed with much life and vigour. The ground' which is vigorous without darkness, and composed'. of the richest tints, is made to correspond with the imposing character of the piece. The principal light falls on the person of our Saviour, and spreads with much harmony on the sur. rounding figures.
After a life protracted almost to a patriarchal age, he died at Venice of the plague, in the year 1576. He left behind him. a son named Francis Vecelli, whose historical pieces are said to be worthy of the hand of his father. Marcus Vecelli, his nephew, was eminent in painting. Of his scholars Gyon Verde Zotti excelled in landscape. He imitated the style of Georgioni and Titian. His best piece is a fisherman presenting the signora of Venice with St. Mary's ring. It is painted in fresco , and said to possess uncommon merit.. :;
h . None of the disciples of Titian have, however, so peculiarly distinguished themselves as Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, They have been thought by some to have nearly rivalled their