St Dominic by Titian
St Dominic is a painting of Saint Dominic by Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), created in c.1565. It is an oil on canvas with 97 x 80 cm dimensions.
Saint Dominic is wearing the habit of the Dominican order, which only stands out from the dark background thanks to the luminosity surrounding the figure. At the same time, the thin gold ring of a halo is visible over his head. Signed “Ticianus,” the painting, datable to 1565, is recorded in the inventories of 1693 and 1700 as the portrait of a Dominican monk; Giovanni Morelli considered it a portrait of Titian’s confessor, while Giovan Battista Cavalcaselle interpreted it as St Dominic.
Like other works by Titian in the Borghese Gallery, it was believed to be part of Paolo Emilio Sfondrato’s collection, which Scipione Borghese purchased in 1608
However, the recent discovery of Cardinal Girolamo Bernerio’s will of 1611 has allowed this artwork to be identified as St Dominic bequeathed to Scipione Borghese.
Portraits by Titian, the Venetian artist of the High Renaissance, reveal man’s rich, complex inner world. Saint Dominic is primarily a man with his thoughts and feelings. The Saint’s robe – a white tunic, a black cloak, and a neutral background creates that restrained color scheme that allows you to focus on the face of the portrayed. The look of Dominic’s lively dark eyes on his thin, ascetic face betrays a momentary detachment from the world. But the hand of a saint pointing to heaven expresses the inner energy of a tireless preacher, which emanates from his whole appearance. The French historian and philosopher Hippolyte Taine wrote of Titian:
“There are families of plants, some species are so close together that the similarity is greater than the difference: these are the artists of Venice, not only the four famous – Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, and other, lesser-known … What strikes the eye – is a basic and common type, private and personal traits are the first time in the shade. They worked together and turn in the Doge′s Palace, but, due to involuntary consonance of their talents, their entire painting forms one whole … “
- Saint Dominic was a Castilian priest and founder of the Dominican Order
- It is estimated that Titian created approximately 400 works of art in his lifetime; however, only about 300 still exist. His work is on display around the world in galleries, museums, and private collections
- From 1516 to 1530, Titian mastered his style, and when Giorgione and Giovanni died, Titian became the master of Venetian painting
- The recent discovery of Cardinal Girolamo Bernerio’s will of 1611 has allowed St Dominic’s artwork to be identified as St Dominic bequeathed to Scipione Borghese
- Signed “Ticianus,” the painting, datable to 1565, is recorded in the inventories of 1693 and 1700 as the portrait of a Dominican monk; Giovanni Morelli considered it to be a portrait of Titian’s confessor, while Giovan Battista Cavalcaselle interpreted it as St Dominic