|Courtesy of www.Titian.org|
Every element of this moving portrait contributes to its gently inviting profundity. The palette is deliberately muted, mixing warm and cool tonalities and playing them off against one
another.jThe costume itself, rich yet quiet - a searching study in blacks and grays, relieved by the sharp accents of collar and cuffs and by the gray cross suffused with white-sets off the
flesh tones of the face, which subtly blend cool touches of green shadow into theiFgeneral warmth) A related chromatic structure defines the neutral backdrop: over a warm bolus ground
Titian applied a thin layer of cool gray, through which the reddish ground appears, and the resulting tonal ambiguity yields a highly suggestive atmospheric fabric that serves as a foil
to the varied surfaces of the costume.
The face of the sitter, rendered with the same quiet tonalism and a delicate touch seems lost in reverie, his eyes averted from ours and unfocused in their gaze. An interpretive key to the mood of the man and the picture is offered by the mechanical clock on the table to the right; the only object in the painting, it calls special attention itself by its enameled gold brilliance. The loose and a parently casual grasp with which the protagonist holds the clock seems to match the wandering thoughts of 1 stare, and yet there is in this physical contact a direct relationship between man and object, in contrast to his dista gaze. The resulting tension resolves itself in the establishment of a further dimension to the psychological presenc of the image, suggesting a theme for the sitter's interior meditation. More than a merely conspicuous ornamen an emblem of socio-economic status, the clock symbolize in the most immediate way, time; replacing the tradition; death's head as a memento mori, it serves as a reminder of the transience of human life. In this unobtrusive way, traditional emblematic significance-functioning within the world of living substance and psychological reality created by Titian's brush-assumes an ever greater urgency and conviction.