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View Diary: What are you reading? April 3, 2013 (67 comments)

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  •  Titian: His Life (11+ / 0-)

    by Sheila Hale. This time, I'm commenting on a book I've almost finished, rather than just started, and I highly recommend it. It's not so much a treatise on his painting techniques, or how his style evolved as he aged (think Botticelli to Rubens in 60 years), although there is much if that in this quite lengthy (750 page) biography. Rather, it sets Titian in his time -- late Renaissance/Counter-Reformation -- and place  -- Venice at the peak of its power and fame, with all the troubles that entailed. Since Titan was so renowned, he was much sought-after by the rich and famous of his day. Even when they were at war with each other, they were still promising (and mostly not delivering) funds in exchange for a painting by the Master. I was most struck by how much more I learned about Phillip II of Spain by reading this, and I had read a least one biography of him, as well as the lives of various other royals with whom he had interacted (Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, for instance).

    Well worth the time, for the art, history, and politics of an age not so different from our own,


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