Yesterday I was in Pieve di Cadore, Titian’s birthplace and the hometown of his family. It was something of a revelation to see. His pictures make more sense when one considers the landscape he grew up in. His house, which is preserved as a museum, is situated on a hillside, with tall trees towering over it in the backyard. And going up that hill, you get the most amazing vista of the Dolomites – North towards the snow-peaked caps further up, and south, down the valley towards Friuli and, ultimately, Venice.

One also gets an idea of where Titian’s obvious love of trees originates. These are the woods he must have played in as a child:



Here’s a random grab in the picture file. A couple of Titians – one from the first decade, the St. Petersburg Flight into Egypt, another from around 1530, the London National Gallery Madonna and Child with Saint John and Saint Catherine of Alexandria :



And oh, here’s a picture of the actual house:


And though the actual Saint Peter Martyr altarpiece by Titian is lost, I think the Carl Loth copy now in place in SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice demonstrates it well enough. That receding landscape is almost a dead ringer for the bel vedere at the top of that hill in Pieve, methinks: