How would you like to have been a painter in the late 1500's? How would you like to have followed an act like Michelangelo or Raphael, or Leonardo Da Vinci. That was the plight of painters like Tiziano Vecellio and Jacopo Robusti, better known today by what amount to "stage" names--Titian and Tintoretto respectively. All about them were the much-heralded glories of the high Renaissance, the Sistine Chapel, and the Mona Lisa. They were left in the unenviable position of having to at least match the God-like painting masters of their recent past just to attain some measure of respectability in their own time, and they were burdened by the knowledge that if they were to be remembered beyond their own time, they would have to somehow surpass them.
Actually, art historians would tell us today that they, in fact, did neither. But, it wasn't from a lack of trying. The artistic era following the Renaissance has come to be known today as the "Mannerist" period, a kind of poor stepchild in the artistic scheme of things, sandwiched in between the colossal periods of the Renaissance and the Baroque eras--a somewhat weak and unstable bridge between the two. Artistic themes fostered in the Renaissance played themselves out during this period while the dramatic seeds of the flamboyant Baroque style were planted and germinated. Meanwhile, in the midst of this, painters struggled to be themselves, and to be more than the sum total of their work.
|Venus of Urbino, 1538, Titian|
|Miracle of the Slave, 1548, Tintoretto|