Titian’s painting technique

Titian ‘Self-portrait’ 1550 – 1562 canvas 96 x 75cm      
Sleeve      Garment

Palma il Giovane ‘Self-portrait’ 1580 – 1581 126 x 96 cm

Pinacoteca di Brera

Gianfranco Pocobene, chief research and paintings conservator Published on september 7th, 2021
Titian’s technique: our conservator’s closer look
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

“Titian’s late works profoundly influenced the trajectory of Western art. His highly innovative painting techniques inspired many great painters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velázquez. Many of the breathtaking pictorial effects seen in the Rape of Europa give the impression of a complex buildup of oil paint—however, the paint layers are economically applied and surprisingly thin. Titian’s paint surface is characterized by loose, colorful brushwork and the dragging and smudging of the paint over the canvas to create vibrant, nuanced effects that animate the emotionally charged scene.” Quoted from Gianfranco Pocobene

Titian ‘The rape of Europe’ 1559–1562, oil on canvas

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

The red silk drapery

“In one of the most expressive passages in this painting, Europa’s right hand grasps the red silk drapery. Titian painted her wrist and fingers in a variety of tones, ranging from cool pink to fiercely red touches along the knuckles. In the drapery, a more saturated hue of the same color accentuates the highlights, calling attention to the force of Europa’s grasp. Dark brown outlines surround each finger and articulate the joints. The lines contrast with her luminous skin and endow the hand with a sense of relief. Titian exploited the herringbone weave of the canvas through a sparing application of paint, enhancing the texture of his composition and contributing a dynamism that paved the way for modernism.”
Quoted from Gianfranco Pocobene

Europa’s extended leg

“Titian’s expert handling of paint animates the voluptuous form of Europa’s extended leg. With the lightest touch, he applied loose scumbles (thin, opaque paint layers that give a dull or sketchy effect) of pink to the knee and upper edge of the thigh. Underneath it, Titian left a reserve of barely covered ground layer, transforming this void into a halo of reflected light. Together, they enhance the appearance of a plausibly three-dimensional surface.” 
Quoted from Gianfranco Pocobene

National Gallery Technical Bulletin volume 34 Titian’s Painting Technique before 1540 download pdf

Continuation Rome day 5: Vatican Museo Pio Clementino (sculpture)