Portrait of Isabella of Portugal (1548). Titian (Tiziano Vecelli, Italian, c.1488/1490-1576). Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

The Empress holds an open book in her left hand, perhaps a missal or prayer book, and looks at a distant point with a preoccupied expression. She shows some stiffness, perhaps related to the concept of majesty. She wears a rose-colored velvet dress ornamented with rich gold braid and trimmed with rhinestones. It is decorated with jewelry, including the necklace of pearls with a clasp at the chest. 


Titian (Tiziano Vecelli, Tiziano Vecellio) (1488/90–1576, Italy)

Circular portraits

Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. His painting methods, particularly in the application and use of colour, would exercise a profound influence not only on painters of the Italian Renaissance, but on future generations of Western art.

During the course of his long life, Titian’s artistic manner changed drastically but he retained a lifelong interest in colour. Although his mature works may not contain the vivid, luminous tints of his early pieces, their loose brushwork and subtlety of tone are without precedent in the history of Western painting. His legacy is as one of the most versatile of Italian painters, equally adept with portraits, landscape backgrounds, and mythological and religious subjects.