Titian's The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea by Mary Elizabeth Podles

A Thousand Words

The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea by Tiziano Vecellio (Titian)

by Mary Elizabeth Podles

When we think of Titian, we conjure up images of lushly painted jewel tones and golden Venetian light, and not of stark black and white. Yet he was a surprising master of the graphic arts, too, especially of the woodcut medium, as is evidenced by The Submersion of Pharaoh's Army in the Red Sea. This woodcut measures four feet by just over seven feet and is printed from twelve separate blocks. The artist must have drawn directly on the blocks with a broad-nibbed pen; the wood between the pen lines was then cut away so that the lines stood up in relief and could be inked for printing, all in all an extraordinary undertaking.

Extraordinary Image

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Mary Elizabeth Podles is the retired curator of Renaissance and Baroque art at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. She and her husband Leon, a Touchstone senior editor, have six children and live in Baltimore, Maryland.

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