Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1965.307
Catalogue raisonné: Mauroner 6
At first, Titian utilized woodcut as a medium of direct expression. He most probably drew directly on the blocks for The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea (on view nearby) and prepared several drawings for each landscape print, carefully perfecting the compositions. After 1530, however, Titian no longer created new designs expressly for graphic reproduction. Rather, prints were a means of circulating pictorial ideals conceived for and executed initially in painting.
The Six Saints records, in reverse, the group of saints-Sebastian, Francis, Anthony of Padua, Peter, Nicholas, and Catherine-standing below the vision of the Madonna and Child in Titian's altarpiece for the Venetian church of Saint Nicolo ai Frari. Because the print reproduces only the lower section of the picture, the monumentality of the original conception is diminished, but an image of greater intimacy is gained. Here, Titian changed the figure of Sebastian, whose pose in the original is ungainly. In the print, Sebastian's body is more clearly articulated and, looking heavenward, his face is filled with a stoic pathos.
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