Titian, Saint Christopher, Around 1523, Venice, Palazzo Ducale
It is one of Titian’s greatest works, executed in his vigorous period during his forties or fifties. The artist’s Saint Christopher is sturdy and muscular like the mountain farmers of Titian’s homeland in the Cadore Valley, and he lifts his gaze towards the child. In the background, instead of the traditional river, we see the lagoon complete with the Clock Tower of St Mark’s. The work is one of very few frescoes preserved in Venice where, over the centuries, the salty air gradually destroys virtually all traces of works like this, which once adorned the facades of houses and palaces.