Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian, ca. 1485–1576)
Pen and brown ink, white gouache, on fine off-white laid paper
8 1/2 x 5 15/16 in. (21.6 x 15.1 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1999 (1999.28)
There are only thirty-five to forty known drawings by Titian, though he was a prolific painter. In this famous early drawing, his use of pen and ink is exquisitely pictorial, with varied and freely applied strokes and small dabs of luminous white gouache lending movement, texture, and tonal unity to the scene. Titian's mastery of the pen is apparent throughout, from the foreground figures built with broadly sculptural effects of chiaroscuro to the background landscape in which the forms of architecture and nature ineffably disolve in the distant haze of the horizon. The poetic quality of the drawing is achieved through this subtlety of technique and a certain elusiveness of mood. The two satyrs are entwined but look away into the distance beyond the astrological disk at the right. The subject matter of figures in a pastoral landscape is part of a new idiom in Venetian art and influenced European painters into the late nineteenth century.