Self Portrait 1547 Titian Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Titian would produce several self-portraits in an attempt to help his family better remember his life and achievements after he had passed away

This particular portrait is dated at around 1546-1547 and has elements which do not appear to have been entirely finished. The detail on his sleeves, for example, does not quite have the shades tones that you would normally expect to find in a completed Titian painting. This status as partially incomplete suggests that this may have been one of his self-portraits that were intended for his family.

Whilst this painting is not as memorable or respected as the self-portrait featured here, it certainly does still provide us with valuable information about the personality and artistic style of the great man. In fact, the incomplete nature of it helps us to learn more about his painting processes and techniques, such as the way in which he layered detail in stages.

Titian chose to wear a small skull cap for this self-portrait and would have done so for one of several reasons, though we are not sure which of the theories to be true. He was balding at the time, which would offer the simplest explanation but there was also a symbolic meaning to such hats which had been created by several scholars and humantists who had worn similar.

There have been x-rays completed on the original artwork and the key finding to come from those is the amount of re-work completed on the artist's left hand. By examining deeper layers of the oils, we can discover how he amended the position of the hand on several occasion and you would argue that it was never really completed in any case.

The overall pose taken by Titian gives us a clue as to how he wished to be remembered by his family. He boasts strength but also a feeling of approachability and humility, which matches up with his reputation for caring deeply about his family.