Tiziano Vecellio -- or Titian as he is called in English -- is a painter's painter, and a lover's painter too. His exquisite eye is charged with sensuality. Time after time he portrayed the beauties of Venice, in the long-ago days when the city was famous for its courtesans rather than its tourists (of course there were sex tourists, like the English traveller Thomas Coryate who raves about the courtesans in his 1611 book Coryate's Crudities).
A visitor to Titian's studio by the Grand Canal in the 1520s claimed the painter was exhausted from sleeping with his models -- a claim that seems to fit the sheer enthusiasm of his paintings of women. But now his name can be linked with another, more painful aspect of sexuality in Renaissance Italy.