Titian’s Pesaro Altarpiece: a Renaissance masterpiece in Venice

img Pala Pesaro Tiziano dettaglio

If you have arrived on this page, it means that you want to discover the world’s art treasures. In this post, I will guide you through a journey into Venetian art, to discover the magnificent Pala Pesaro by Titian, a masterpiece exhibited at the Basilica dei Frari in Venice.
Ready to discover the details of this fascinating work of art? After reading this article, I am sure you will immediately want to go and admire it in person.

Titian’s Pesaro Altarpiece: a Renaissance masterpiece in Venice

Frari (Venice) nave right - Altar of Madona di Ca'Pesaro

Frari (Venice) nave right – Altar of Madona di Ca’Pesaro

Anyone who asks me for advice on what to see in Venice will get a list of must-see works from me, and among them is Titian’s Pala Pesaro.
This is a work of enormous dimensions in which Titian used an anomalous composition, moving the Virgin and Child to the side, portraying the most important members of one of the most powerful families in Venice.


The creation of the Pesaro Altarpiece by Titian is closely linked to the historical and religious context of 16th century Venice.
Commissioned by the powerful Pesaro family for the family chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Conception in the Basilica dei Frari, the work represents a significant moment in the history of the Venetian Republic and the Catholic Church.

At the time the work was commissioned, Venice was experiencing a political, economic and cultural renaissance. The Pesaro family, eager to consolidate their position and demonstrate their religious devotion, chose Titian, one of the greatest Venetian painters of the time, to create a work of extraordinary beauty and symbolic power. The result was the Pala Pesaro, which combined religious elements with the exaltation of the Pesaro family.

Through his masterful use of colour, perspective and composition, Titian managed to convey a powerful message of faith, the power of the Pesaro family and the grandeur of the Venetian Republic in a single work of art.


The great altarpiece commissioned from Titian in 1518 by Jacopo Pesaro is one of the great masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance.
It is not the only one in the city and you can only visit Venice by exploring its masterpieces on a two-day itinerary in search of Titian’s works.

The patron of the altarpiece was the one who defeated the Turks at Santa Maura in 1502 and is depicted kneeling on the left side of the painting. He is praying in the presence of the Virgin to whom he is presented by St. Peter.
Next to Jacopo Pesaro are two Turkish prisoners and a soldier holding a banner with the insignia of the Pesaro and Borgia families.
This is therefore an altarpiece celebrating a military triumph, but in which Titian does not fail to portray the Pesaro dynasty on the right side of the painting. The artist is famous for portraits of beautiful women, but here he produces a series of exceptional male portraits.
In fact, one can see Jacopo’s four brothers and the young Leonardo, the heir guaranteeing the continuity of the family, looking at whoever is looking at the work.

The scene is dominated by the Virgin holding the baby Jesus in her arms and who is seated on a high throne, behind which rise two enormous columns. A little further down, to the right, are the figures of St. Francis and St. Anthony. While above are two angels holding the cross on a dark cloud.

img Pala Pesaro dettaglio


Over the years, the Pala Pesaro has suffered the signs of time, but thanks to the careful care of experts and advances in restoration technology, the work has been restored to its original beauty.
The restoration required a meticulous and respectful approach to the work of art, using advanced techniques to remove traces of time, repair damage and restore vibrant colours and sharpness of detail. The experts worked with great precision to preserve the integrity of the original work, while maintaining its authentic appearance.

During the restoration, scientific analyses were used to gain a better understanding of the materials and painting techniques used by Titian. This made it possible to discover hidden layers of colour and details that had been lost over the centuries. Each step of the restoration was carefully documented, ensuring proper conservation of the work and allowing a better understanding of its history.

Today, thanks to the restoration, Titian’s Pesaro Altarpiece can be admired in its original beauty, allowing visitors to fully appreciate Titian’s technical skill and the emotional intensity it conveys. The restoration has restored the work’s visual impact and its ability to engage the viewer, offering a more authentic and immersive experience.

Importantly, the restoration of the Pesaro Altarpiece has not only preserved this precious work of art for future generations, but has also given the public the opportunity to connect with Titian’s artistic vision and immerse themselves in the historical and cultural context in which the work was conceived.
The restoration has brought to the forefront the importance and enduring influence of this magnificent altarpiece, making it even more accessible and meaningful for visitors to the Basilica dei Frari in Venice.

Condividi su

2 thoughts on “Titian’s Pesaro Altarpiece: a Renaissance masterpiece in Venice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *