Portrait of the Great Elector John Frederick of Saxony (c.1550) by Titian

Portrait of the Great Elector John Frederick of Saxony - Titian - c.1550

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of the Great Elector John Frederick of Saxony
Dimensions103.5 x 83 cm
Art MovementMannerism (Late Renaissance)
Current LocationKunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria

About Portrait of the Great Elector John Frederick of Saxony

The artwork “Portrait of the Great Elector John Frederick of Saxony” is a notable example of Mannerism from the Late Renaissance period. Executed in oil on canvas by the revered artist Titian around 1550, this portrait measures 103.5 by 83 cm. It belongs to the genre of portraiture and is currently housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria. This artwork exemplifies the skill of its creator and the aesthetic values of its time, capturing the likeness and status of a significant historical figure.

The artwork depicts John Frederick of Saxony, known as the Great Elector, in a three-quarter view. The subject appears to be dignified and thoughtful, gazing directly at the viewer with a solemn and penetrating expression. His visage exhibits maturity and a certain gravitas, which is befitting of a person of his stature. The Elector is attired in a dark cloak with a fur edge, suggesting both his wealth and status. A white, ruffled collar peeks out from his cloak, giving a stark contrast to the otherwise dark tonality of his apparel. His right hand rests gently on what seems to be a ledge or platform, with his fingers elegantly positioned, while his left arm is obscured by the ample drapery of his cloak.

Titian’s masterful use of color and light adds depth to the composition and brings focus to the Elector’s facial features and hands, creating a lifelike representation teeming with psychological complexity. The muted background offers no distraction, ensuring the viewer’s attention remains squarely on the subject. The brushwork, while detailed in areas such as the face and hands, also allows for the soft textures of the fur and fabric to be appreciated. In this portrait, Titian successfully conveys the stature and demeanor of the Great Elector, making it a compelling work of art from the Mannerist period.

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