Young Man with a Glove
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio, 1488/1490-1576)
Oil on canvas
100 x 89 cm.
Musée de Louvre, Paris. INV. 757
Provenance: Louis XIV; acquired from Jabach 1671
This image is a plate in Wittemeyer’s George Eliot and the Visual Arts (1979)
Click on image to enlarge it, and see below for the Louvre commentary.
Commentary from the Louvre Website
A natural pose. The man with a glove, leaning on a block of marble, emerges from a shadowy ground. He is wearing a black doublet and pleated white shirt with a collar gathered at the neck by a thin cord. The half-open doublet reveals a gold chain with a medallion set with a sapphire and a pearl. His gloved left hand is holding the other glove. On the index finger of his right hand he is wearing a ring bearing a coat of arms. The model's pose is natural, even nonchalant. His body appears to be at ease in the space of the painting although it is tightly centred on him. He is depicted face-on, his head and his eyes turned slightly to the right. The young man's identity has not yet been proven beyond doubt. The elegance of his appearance, particularly the refined touches of the leather gloves and the carefully coiffed hair, suggest that he was an aristocrat aged about eighteen or twenty, who was an avid follower of fashion in the Venice of his day.
A psychological portrait: Titian has deliberately used a limited and contrasting range of colors - the dark ground and clothes and the young man's pale complexion - to bring out the sitter's character. This new foregrounding of the individual reflects the humanist philosophy which influenced Titian at that time. He has succeeded in producing a vivid portrait of the model's personality by carefully observing his face and hands rather than by overloading the portrait with attributes and decorative details. Only the young man's piercing eyes betray his sensitivity, his melancholy grace and his poise. Titian, considered one of the greatest portrait painters of the Italian Renaissance, played a major part in developing the psychological portrait, whose strength lies in the intensity of the sitter's expression. The work was probably painted shortly before 1520, when the artist was still a young man in Venice. It heralds the numerous portraits of monarchs and aristocrats that earned Titian the name of "painter of princes."
Witemeyer, High. George Eliot and the Visual Arts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979. [especially chapter 6.]
Last modified 2 August 2018