|Courtesy of www.Titian.org|
The patrician Andrea Gritti (1455-1538) was elected doge, or duke, of Venice in 1523, after having served the city as a military commander and diplomat. Renowned for his forceful personality
and his promotion of the arts, Gritti remained an active civic leader until his death in 1538. Titian painted Gritti twice during his reign. He completed this posthumous portrait, which might
have been commissioned as a memorial by the doge's family, around 1546-1548.
Dressed in the brocade robes and conical hat of his office, Gritti makes a grand impression. Glancing sternly to the viewer's left, he gathers up his cloak with his right hand and appears to stride forward, as if in a ceremonial procession. Titian further enhanced the monumental presence of the sitter by extending his image fully to the edges of the canvas.
With its free, expressive brushwork, this portrait well exemplifies Titian's mature painting style. Because the canvas has never been flattened by the process of lining, the varying surface textures, such as the transparent red of the robe and the heavy impasto of the white fur and gold buttons, reveal the ways Titian applied his paints.