Titian: The Last Days [NOOK Book]

Overview

Towards the end of his life Titian didn't finish his paintings. The elderly artist kept them in his studio, never quite completing them, as though wanting to endlessly postpone the moment of letting go. Created with the fingers as much as the brush, Titian's last paintings are imbued with a sense of final, desperate effort - a rawness and immediacy that weren't to be seen again in art for centuries.

But what did Titian, who experienced as ...
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Titian: The Last Days

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Overview

Towards the end of his life Titian didn't finish his paintings. The elderly artist kept them in his studio, never quite completing them, as though wanting to endlessly postpone the moment of letting go. Created with the fingers as much as the brush, Titian's last paintings are imbued with a sense of final, desperate effort - a rawness and immediacy that weren't to be seen again in art for centuries.

But what did Titian, who experienced as much in the way of material success as any artist before or since, mean by these works? Are they a harrowing, final testament or simply a collection of unfinished paintings? In the outbreak of plague that finally killed him, Titian's studio was looted, and many paintings taken. What happened to them is not known.

This book is a quest - a journey through Titian's life and work, towards the physical and spiritual landscape of his last paintings. Looking at Titian's relationships with his artistic rivals, his patrons - including popes, kings and emperors - and his troubled dealings with his own family, the narrative moves from the artist's hometown in the Dolomites to the greatest churches and palaces of the age. Parallel with these physical travels is a journey through the paintings, following the glittering trajectory of Titian's life and career, the remorseless formal development that led to the breakthroughs of his last days.

Titian: The Last Days is an exploratory history of the artist and his world that vividly recreates the atmosphere of sixteenth-century Venice and Europe, a narrative in which the search for the subject becomes part of the subject itself. The result is a brilliant and compelling study of one of Europe's greatest artists that is at once passionate, engaging and deeply personal.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A British journalist diligently pursues the story of Titian (circa 1488-1576), who arrived in Venice as a child and became the city's most celebrated artist. Telegraph and Guardian contributor Hudson employs a variety of strategies and tones in this remarkably engaging story. He is at times the pedagogue, the dazzled fan, the nervous tourist, the frustrated scholar, the disgusted critic (especially with verbose and pretentious art historians). The author says he developed a blunt aesthetic when he was a young art student: "Did the painting give me a buzz or not?" Most of Titian did, and by the end of this entertaining journey, readers will be abuzz as well. Although the narrative is generally chronological, the author frequently steps aside to sketch social and cultural history, geography (Titian was from a mountainous region to the northwest) and political intrigue. Hudson provides copious information about the patronage system of Titian's day, and about how the artist, like building contractors of today, accepted more commissions than he could execute in timely fashion and so perfected not just the craft of painting but of appeasement of impatient patrons. The author also examines Titian's mentors, specific paintings (e.g., The Venus of Urbino, a sexy work that alarmed and delighted Mark Twain) and sequences of paintings-including the final group of mythological pieces, the poesie, based on stories in Ovid, among them The Death of Actaeon. Hudson does not neglect the artist's personal life, filling us in on what's known about his love life and his children. Most captivating, however, is the author's own journey, from Venice to Spain to Czechoslovakia and elsewhere to follow the story ofthe great Italian painter. Intense passion and humble scholarship infuse this personal odyssey of discovery with arresting power. Agent: David Godwin/David Godwin Associates
From the Publisher

“Hudson employs a variety of strategies and tones in this remarkably engaging story. He is at times the pedagogue, the dazzled fan, the nervous tourist, the frustrated scholar, the disgusted critic (especially with verbose and pretentious art historians)…. Hudson does not neglect the artist’s personal life, filling us in on what’s known about his love life and his children. Most captivating, however, is the author’s own journey, from Venice to Spain to Czechoslovakia and elsewhere to follow the story of the great Italian painter. Intense passion and humble scholarship infuse this personal odyssey of discovery with arresting power.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With wit, irreverence, a keen eye, and a shrewd imagination, Hudson recounts his fumbling search for fresh perspectives on Titian and shares his provocative discoveries.... Like a regal figure on an old, newly restored canvas, Titian, ‘a figure of almost limitless creativity,’ emerges resplendent from these lively pages.”Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802719669
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Mark Hudson is the author of two prize-winning non-fiction books: Our Grandmothers' Drums, which won the Somerset Maugham and Thomas Cook awards in 1990; and Coming Back Brockens, which won the 1994 NCR Award, the precursor to the Samuel Johnson prize, for the best non-fiction book of the year. His novel The Music in my Head was published to critical acclaim in 1998. Mark Hudson is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph, and has also written for the Observer, the Mail on Sunday, the Guardian, the Sunday Times and many other publications.
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Table of Contents

1 Towards Titian 1

2 The Most Talked About Building in Venice 25

3 The Sacred Conversation 35

4 The Archetypal Man 49

5 A Moment of Enormous Confusion 75

6 The Alabaster Room 90

7 Sixteen Positions 117

8 'The Obscenest Picture' 133

9 The Flesh Breathes 145

10 A Painting About Red 151

11 A Burnished, God-like Glow 169

12 Nothing is Fixed, Nothing Entirely Static 181

13 The Pure White Gleam of the Holy Spirit 218

14 Still in the Game 236

15 The Last Painting 258

Acknowledgements 297

Index 299

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Customer Reviews

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