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Tiziano Vecellio was the most significant artist of the Venetian school, working alongside other distinct painters like Tintoretto, Giorgione, Caliari, among others. Better known as Titian in English, the information about his birth is unclear, but historians speculate it was around the years 1488 and 1490 in Pieve di Cadore, in what was the Republic of Venice at the time. There isn't much information about his parents as well, Gregorio Vecelli and Lucia - more of Gregorio, who was an acclaimed soldier and councilor, as well as working for the Castle of Pieve di Cadore as superintendent. As a young boy, by the age of eleven, Titian was sent to live in Venice with his uncle and brother Francesco. Both boys began studying painting under the best artists of the city; firstly Gentile Bellini. They soon changed and began to study with Giovanni Bellini, Gentile’s brother.
The Italian painter differed from the artists of his time, and alongside Giorgio da Castelfranco, better known as Giorgione, the painters worked in a more flexible manner, not giving the same importance to symmetry as other painters of the time. The two painters became the leading names of the arte moderna, a new way of painting. In 1511, Titian painted a series of frescos in the Carmelite Church and the Scuola del Santo, at Padua - one of the most challenging techniques to achieve in painting. Among these paintings is Miracle of the New-Born Infant, The Miracle of the Jealous Husband, The Healing of the Wrathful Son, among others. The artist returned to Padua in 1512 and began an art studio on the Grand Canal.
In a period of six years, the artist lost two of his friends; Giorgione passed away in 1510 and Giovanni Bellini in 1516. This marked the beginning of Titian’s mature period, that lasted through around 1530, his influence of Giorgione was left aside, and he ventured into larger, monumental style paintings and subjects of high complexity. With the loss of his colleagues, Titian remained as the most celebrated artist of the Venetian school for many years - reaching the peak of his career around 1521. Titian completed many paintings of mythological subjects, like Danae and the Shower of Gold, a commission for Alessandro Farnese that he made other versions, including for King Philip II - a patron who Titian completed many other mythological paintings for as well. The Italian painter developed into a more dramatic style in 1530, introduced with his masterpiece The Death of St. Peter Martyr. The artist worked on a series of Venus portrayals while visiting Rome, including Venus with Organist and Cupid, and Venus of Urbino.
During the final phase of Titian’s life and career, beginning at around 1550, King Philip II was his main patron and he worked mainly producing portraits. His work became extremely precise, as the artist felt the need to perfect his craft to the fullest - to the point where he would work on pieces for about a decade, retouching and redefining details. Instead of portraying tragic subjects like in Christ Crowned with Thorns, or the divine poetry seen in Supper at Emmaus, Titian was more focused on perfecting color palette like skin tones, during his old age. Titian also delved into the chiaroscuro technique, developed by Leonardo da Vinci, which enabled him to work with the dramatics of the work - seen in his final masterpiece Pieta. In fact, Titian was one of the transcendent painters of the High Renaissance and influenced many artists of his time and of many generations to come. He passed away in August 1576, as Venice was taken by the Bubonic plague, which took the life of his son, Orazio Vecellio who was also a painter, shortly after. Although Titian’s date of birth is unknown, but historians speculate he died at least at the age of eighty.