From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1485 – August 27, 1576), better known as Titian, was the leader of the 16th-century Venetian school of the Italian Renaissance, best-known for his painting Venus of Urbino. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, in the Cadore territory, near Belluno (Veneto), in Italy, and died in Venice.
Poesies for Philip II
For Philip II of Spain Titian painted a series of large mythological paintings known as the "poesie", mostly from Ovid, which are regarded as among his greatest works Thanks to the prudishness of Philip's successors, these were later mostly given as gifts and only two remain in the Prado. Titian was producing religious works for Philip at the same time. The "poesie" series began with Venus and Adonis, of which the original is in the Prado, but several versions exist, and Danaë, both sent to Philip in 1553. Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto, were despatched in 1559, then Perseus and Andromeda (Wallace Collection, now damaged) and the Rape of Europa (Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), delivered in 1562. The Death of Actaeon was begun in 1559 but worked on for many years, and never completed or delivered.
Titian himself never attempted engraving, but he was very conscious of the importance of printmaking as a means of further expanding his reputation. In the period 1517–1520 he designed a number of woodcuts, including an enormous and impressive one of The Crossing of the Red Sea, and collaborated with Domenico Campagnola and others, who produced further prints based on his paintings and drawings. Much later he provided drawings based on his paintings to Cornelius Cort from the Netherlands, who brilliantly engraved them. Martino Rota followed Cort from about 1558 to 1568.