“…Even Michelangelo had thought Titian’s colors a little too much. According to his biographer, Georgio Vasari, in 1546 the older man visited the younger in his studio in Rome. Michelangelo commented afterward that he liked the coloring, but “it is a pity that in Venice one was not taught from the beginning to draw well.” It was an expression of an important artistic dispute in sixteenth-century Italy.
“Ostensibly the argument was between disegno and colore – drawing and coloring. But more fundamentally it was about how to live life. Where—as I had seen in The Entombment – Michelangelo planned every element of his composition and would only add colors when he knew exactly what was going where, Titian’s compositions used to evolve as he stood in front of his canvases, palette laden with paint.
“It is the division between spontaneity and careful planning, between rash Dionysus (or Bacchus, of course, for the Romans and for Titian, who may have been making a statement) and calm Apollo – and the benefits of each approach have been debated passionately over the years, partly because it is an argument about the nature of passion and creativity itself.”