Collection: Glory

ARTIST: Museum Religious Art Classics


Artist: Titian – c. 1551 – 1554

Charles V commissioned The Glory from Titian in 1550-51. The unusual composition, which must correspond to precise instructions on the part of the emperor, as Gronau noted, is presided over by the Trinity, with the Virgin and behind her Saint John the Baptist, theologically the two principal intercessors, on the right.

The importance of the Virgin in comparison to the other figures is indicated both compositionally and with regard to color, as she is the only figure that walks towards the Trinity rather than looking expectantly at it, and she is also wearing the same blue as God the Father and God the Son. Below her are figures from the Old Testament including Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, David and Ezekiel. The female figure seen from behind in the foreground identified as Mary Magdalen and even as a personification of the Catholic Church.

To the left of the Trinity angels with palms accompany members of the imperial family who are barefoot and wrapped in shrouds, posed in supplicating attitudes. Charles has the imperial crown next to him and is next to his deceased wife Isabella, while behind and slightly below are his children Philip and Joanna and his sisters Leonora and Mary. On a lower level are two elderly bearded men identified as Pietro Aretino and Titian himself in profile. Also included was Francisco de Vargas, Spanish ambassador to Venice, who is probably the bearded figure below the Virgin.