Titian A Fresh Look at Nature Antonio Mazzotta

Publication date:
25 Sep 2012
National Gallery London
88 pages: 210 x 210mm
75 color illus.

Titian is acknowledged as the greatest of the sixteenth-century Venetian painters, best known for his portraits, mythological pictures and religious subjects. Yet his first great achievement as a painter, schooled in the workshop of Giovanni Bellini, was to refashion the portrayal of nature in his own distinctive style by studying the work of Albrecht Durer, whose naturalistic paintings of plants, animals and landscape - for which northern European artists were renowned - had caused a sensation in Venice in the first decade of the sixteenth century.

In this short, beautifully illustrated book, Antonio Mazzotta presents this experience, together with Titian's native landscape of Pievedi Cadore, as crucial influences in the artist's early representation of nature. The recently restored Flight into Egypt (now in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) - probably painted when Titian was still a teenager - is vivid proof of his interest in the depiction of animals, plants and figures in the landscape. The author's carefully chosen comparisons of paintings, prints, drawings and details of works by the young Titian, Durer and their contemporaries (including Sebastiano del Piombo and Giorgione) suggest that Titian was as innovative and as influential in his unique view of nature as he was in portraiture.

More about this title

The publication of Titian: A Fresh Look at Nature accompanies a series of Titian events at the National Gallery London:
• Titian's Diana and Callisto (1 March – 1 July 2012)
Titian's First Masterpiece: The Flight into Egypt (4 April – 19 August 2012)
Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 (11 July – 23 September 2012)

Antonio Mazzotta was Pidem Curatorial Assistant at the National Gallery between 2008 and 2010, and is now researching Venetian art of the early 16th century at the University of Milan.

Page spreads


Related links

• Titian Podcast from the National Galery: Curator Carol Plazzotta examines the story behind 'Diana and Actaeon', inspired by Roman poet Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'
• Read an article about the Titian at the National Gallery on Yale's blog