E1520, the monarch Charles Vaccustomed to the more than formal and sober northern and central European artists, he must undoubtedly have been overshadowed when he met the style and color of that painter originally from Veneto, the great Tiziano Vecellio, who revolutionized the equestrian genre.
Many authors point out that the relationships between Charles V and Titian they were not always as harmonious as we have been led to believe, but the truth is that after the representation of Emperor Charles V on horseback, he named him knight of the "Golden Spur”, In addition to naming him Earl of Palatino, without a doubt the highest honor that any painter has received to date.
In addition, since that 1548, the equestrian genre received renewed vigor in international painting, becoming from that moment on essential piece of the imagery of any monarch and, in time, not only of them but of princes, valid, minor nobles and a great list of generals.
What characteristics did Titian have to dazzle Charles V in this way?
Some authors point to the great cunning of the Italian, who would have found the perfect fusion between his dynamic coloritto and the hieraticism and majesty that the formal Habsburg Catholics liked so much.
A painter from a distance
Titian He never lived in Madrid, therefore he was not one of those chamber painters always touring the palatial instances at the disposal of his monarch, but that did not prevent him from Titian served as painter of the Austria, both for Charles V and for his successor Philip II.
From a distance, collecting the information he needed on his trips to the palace but always carrying out his work from his Italian workshop.
The genius of his most famous equestrian representation
Although it is true that the equestrian genre had already been invented for many centuries, what is attributed to Titian it's not that, but the revolution that originated in the genre.
The representation he made of Charles V in Mühlberg, commemorated his victory over the Protestant princes of the Schmalkalden League.
However, no matter how much we look at the painting over and over again, there are no winners or losers, no blood appears, nor the bodies of the fallen, nor any reference to that bloodbath, which was, there is no doubt about it.
Other painters would have represented the magnificence of Charles V representing him haughty, rising among his enemies, surrounded by the bodies of the vanquished or at least in an attitude of superiority in front of some crestfallen and repentant Protestants.
This, which was the most common in that period, does not appear anywhere in his work. Unlike, Titian thought well that none of these "additives”Should tarnish the aura of an emperor considered just and mercifulNothing should tarnish the image of the holy Catholic knight, brave in battle and condescending in victory.
And perhaps this was really what, together with that classic symbology and coloring, which recalls those Roman emperors such as Julius Caesar which, in short, marked a before and after in the equestrian genre and which would be followed by other later authors such as Velázquez, Rubens or Francisco de Goya.
Image: Public domain.