A monk with a book (c.1550) by Titian

A monk with a book - Titian - c.1550

Artwork Information

TitleA monk with a book
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationNational Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne, Australia

About A monk with a book

The artwork titled “A monk with a book” is a portrait created by the renowned artist Titian around the year 1550. It is an exemplar of the Mannerism art movement, which is part of the Late Renaissance period. Rather than depicting an idealized form as was common in earlier Renaissance art, Mannerism often featured elongated figures, exaggerated poses, and a complex composition. “A monk with a book” is part of the genre of portraiture and is currently housed in the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in Melbourne, Australia.

The artwork depicts what appears to be a friar or a monk, clad in a dark, voluminous robe characteristic of monastic orders. He is holding a book with ornate covers which suggests it might be a manuscript of religious or scholarly significance. The monk’s face is bearded and thoughtful, with a penetrating gaze that engages the viewer. His expression is reflective, composed, and possesses an inner seriousness that is emphasized by the subdued clothing and the plain, unembellished background. The handling of light and shadow in the painting is subtle, adding to the overall solemnity and depth of characterization. This work demonstrates Titian’s adeptness in capturing both the physical likeness and the psychological complexity of his subjects, which is a hallmark of his portraiture.

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