Titian, born Tiziano Vecellio, was the undisputed master of Venetian painting from the day his teacher Giorgione, died in 1510. Already a formidable painter, Titian would have been about 22, had painted in the studios of the masters for over a decade, and was ready to stretch his wings. He completed his first recognized masterpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin, in 1518 — a massive 690 x 360 cm alterpiece, and a massive commission to boot. The Assumption cemeted Titian as a sought-after master of composition, bold color, and high drama.
Titian's work made him rich. By 1540 he recieved a regular pension from the Marquis del Vasto, and 200 crowns per year from the Emperor Charles V. His grand religious works like The Death of St Peter Martyr, were supported by numerous portrait commissions — where Titian brought tremendous human expression to the faces of the royalty of the day.
But old age brought a new muse to, and from the age of sixty, Titian became obsessed with perfection, hiding his canveses in his studio for years at a time — redrawing and retouching. His daughter died in 1560, and Titian's crisp outlines and bold colors disappeared — replaced with a foggy, scratchy style who's expression and melancholy can be seen as a precursor to Goya, even the expressionists.
Titian was also written about by his contemporary, Giorgio Vasari, in The Lives of the Artists: Titian.