Apelles, Giovanni Bellini, and Michelangelo in Titian's life and art

Luba Freedman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Titian (c. 1488-1576) cherished his association with Apelles when he created portraits of rulers and their administrative courtiers or paintings on mythological subjects. At the same time, as he was painting saints and sacred events, he had before him the exemplum virtutis in Giovanni Bellini (c. 1436-1516). Furthermore, while he regarded Apelles (c. 375 - c. 300 BC) as his antique exemplar and Bellini as his modern exemplar, Titian saw Michelangelo (1475-1564) as an antagonist, or anti- exemplar. Titian learned from these three great artists how to deepen the mastery of his art. Titian's adoption of the mantle of Apelles for the public outside Venice owed its inception to his observation of how Bellini worked throughout his creative life, and his rejection of Michelangelo's disegno was grounded in his adherence to the principles governing in his master's studio at the turn of the sixteenth century.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)251-273
Number of pages23
JournalArtibus et Historiae
StatePublished - 2013


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