Titian Country

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Yesterday I was in Pieve di Cadore, Titian’s birthplace and the hometown of his family. It was something of a revelation to see. His pictures make more sense when one considers the landscape he grew up in. His house, which is preserved as a museum, is situated on a hillside, with tall trees towering over it in the backyard. And going up that hill, you get the most amazing vista of the Dolomites – North towards the snow-peaked caps further up, and south, down the valley towards Friuli and, ultimately, Venice.

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One also gets an idea of where Titian’s obvious love of trees originates. These are the woods he must have played in as a child:

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Here’s a random grab in the picture file. A couple of Titians – one from the first decade, the St. Petersburg Flight into Egypt, another from around 1530, the London National Gallery Madonna and Child with Saint John and Saint Catherine of Alexandria :

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And oh, here’s a picture of the actual house:

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And though the actual Saint Peter Martyr altarpiece by Titian is lost, I think the Carl Loth copy now in place in SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice demonstrates it well enough. That receding landscape is almost a dead ringer for the bel vedere at the top of that hill in Pieve, methinks:

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