Titian: His Life and the Golden Age of Venice

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9780007175833: Titian: His Life and the Golden Age of Venice

The first biography since 1877 of Venice's greatest artist - a towering work which captures the genius of Titian, beautifully illustrated throughout with full colour plates.Devoted father and loyal friend, Titian was notorious for disregarding authority and was an international celebrity by his late fifties. He was famously difficult but his stubbornness and horrendous timekeeping did nothing to deter his patrons who included the Hapsburgs, the Pope and his family and Charles V.During his career, which spanned more than seventy years, Titian painted around five or six hundred pictures of which less than half survive. His work has been studied by generations of great artists from Rubens to Manet and he is often seen as having artistically transcended his own time.Sheila Hale not only examines his life, both personal and professional, but how his art affected his contemporaries and how it influences artists today. She also examines Venice in its context of a city at the time of the Renaissance, overshadowed artistically by Rome and Florence and growing into the famous historical city it has become.Fully illustrated with four colour plate sections (including his famous works `Reclining Venus', `Death of Actaeon' and `Three Ages of Man'), this is an astonishing portrait of one of the most important figures in the history of Western art and a vivid evocation of Venice in its `Golden Age'.

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From the Back Cover:

Born in the mountains above Venice in the late fifteenth century, Tiziano Vecellio—or Titian—was the greatest painter of the Venetian High Renaissance. A poetic visionary and a technical master of oils, he painted everything, from frescoes and grand altarpieces to mythological stories and portraits—works described by his contemporaries as "mirrors of nature."

Sheila Hale's rich biography is the first since 1877 to examine all contemporary accounts of Titian's life and work as well as recent art historical scholarship, some of it previously unpublished. Her book charts the extraordinary transformation of Titian's style: from the radiant, minutely realized masterpieces of his youth, to the more freely painted work of his middle years, to the dark, tragic, sometimes terrifying visions of his old age. Drawing on the latest scientific examinations of his paintings, Hale seeks to explain the evolution of his methods and his art. In doing so, she also gives many different voices—from Titian's lifetime to today—free reign to explore, praise, and sometimes doubt his genius.

When Titian died in 1576, in his late eighties, he had spent the whole of his working life in Venice—the most celebrated city in Europe—traveling as little as possible despite the clamor for his presence at the great courts of the continent. He had witnessed wars, Ottoman invasions, and the rising Protestant threat to the Catholic Church. He had become the favored painter of both Charles V—the most powerful man in the world—and his son, Philip II of Spain, who became Titian's most important patron.

Sheila Hale's masterly biography presents Titian through the lens of the turbulent times in which he lived and explores how this innovative sixteenth-century master conveyed in his paintings a kind of truth that few other artists have been able to communicate, which has fascinated Titian's admirers and followers ever since.

About the Author:

Sheila Hale is the author of many books including a guidebook to Venice which prompted Eric Newby to declare she 'deserves a Nobel Prize' and by David Lodge as 'the best guidebook I have ever used'. VENICE went into four editions and was translated into seven languages. She has written an architectural history of Verona and has written extensively about Venice and the Veneto for a number of magazines and articles, including the New York Times. She is the widow of the late, great John Hale with whom she worked on RENAISSANCE VENICE and the classic THE CIVILISATION OF EUROPE IN THE RENAISSANCE. She is a trustee of Venice in Peril and her last book, THE MAN WHO LOST HIS LANGUAGE was one of the most widely reviewed and highly praised books of 2002. She lives in London.

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