A Titian


‘A Titian’ I exclaimed today at work and I didn’t need a handkerchief. Presented with two cover designs for a research publication, for me, there was a clear winner. Not the one with a complex assembly of people, the one with a bright red shipping container daubed with Tunisian freedom graffiti.

But why? Thanks to Titian. Last night I learned from the redoubtable Ernst Gombrich, that the great Venetian artist was the first to use colour as a prime ingredient in artistic ‘composition’.

Rather than limiting himself to the beautiful symmetry and positioning of figures which Raphael had perfected, Titian allowed himself asymmetry. But he balanced it through pure, beautiful and powerful colour – a simple flag for example balances the Pesaro Madonna above.

Thanks to Titian, I could explain why ‘red shipping container’ beat ‘protesting crowd’; powerful symmetry of content and composition achieved through colour.

I do love it when a genius from the past bursts to life in the everyday of today – right under your nose.