Jacopo Strada of Mantua (1515–1588) was a painter, architect and goldsmithand much sought after as an art expert. His primary occupation, however, was dealing in the art of antiquity. In 1553 Strada had issued a scholarly publication on his own extensive coin collection. Four years later he moved to Vienna, where he worked for the emperors Ferdinand I, Maximilian II and Rudolf II. In 1566 the title “antiquarius caesarius” was conferred upon him, and eight years later he was raised to the nobility. Strada was also in business contact with Titian. The portrait was painted during a stay in Venice and exhibits the pastose, restless application of paint that characterised the beginning of Titian’s late period. Strada is identified by his heavy golden chain as a member of the court; the sword and the fur that seems to have slipped from his right shoulder are evidence of his affluence. On the table lie a letter, coins and an antique torso. Strada himself is holding a completely preserved statuette, a Roman copy of the Aphrodite Pseliumene by Praxiteles. In the background, above his head, lie two books – perhaps Strada’s own publications. The cartouche with an inscription on the right was once assumed to have been a later addition because the design appeared to be too Baroque, but the results of more recent scholarly studies speak against that assumption. Strada’s posture was influenced by Moroni’s portrait of the sculptor Alessandro Vittoria and is unique among Titian’s portraits: the opposing motion of the arms and head gives it an individual dynamism and creates distance to the viewer. It remains an open question whether Titian was seeking in a subtle manner to criticise the aggressive business practices of the imperial antiquarian. © Cäcilia Bischoff, Masterpieces of the Picture Gallery. A Brief Guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 2010


  • Title: Jacopo Strada
  • Creator: Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian
  • Creator Lifespan: ca. 1488 - 1576
  • Creator Nationality: italian
  • Creator Gender: male
  • Creator Death Place: Venice
  • Creator Birth Place: Pieve di Cadore
  • Date Created: 1567/1568
  • Style: Italian Mannerism
  • Provenance: Collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm
  • Physical Dimensions: w955 x h1260 x d30 cm (without frame)
  • Inventory Number: GG 81
  • Artist Biography: A biographer related a telling story about Titian: Emperor Charles V once picked up a brush for him, to which Titian responded, "Sire, I am not worthy of such a servant." The Emperor replied, "Titian is worthy to be served by Caesar." Only Michelangelo's closeness with the popes compares. Legend suggests that at age nine Titian began training in Venice. He studied with Bellini, but Giorgione's influence was decisive: Titian's forms became larger, treatment of light subtler, and his mood gentler. In 1516 Titian became painter to the Venetian republic, and in 1533 Charles V named him court painter. Roman painting could match the grandeur of his forms, but Titian's brilliant, expressive color was unprecedented. Titian's portraits combined incisive, sensitive characterizations with an opulent treatment of accessories, eventually developing into the official style that inspired Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and many artists of the 1800s. After 1555 Titian painted mythological works for Philip II of Spain, rising to new heights in creating sensuous flesh, with colors flowing in harmony rather than contrasting boldly as in his youth. What from a distance appear to be magical combinations of form and color prove upon closer inspection to be blobs of paint, thumb marks, and brush scratches. Titian used oil paint for itself, exploring its expressive rather than representational possibilities. © J. Paul Getty Trust
  • Type: paintings
  • External Link: http://www.khm.at/en/collections/picture-gallery
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas

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