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Titian His Life by Sheila Hale

Titian His Life

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The first biography of Venice's greatest artist since 1877 - a towering work which captures the genius of Titian.


Titian His Life by Sheila Hale

The first biography of Venice's greatest artist since 1877 - a towering work which captures the genius of Titian. 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. 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'.


‘Crammed with new or expanded or re-thought information about this stubbornly mysterious giant. Impressive...She shines a light on the mysterious conflict of energies that makes his genius so difficult to encapsulate. Hale is also an enthusiastic collector of characters and her descriptions of the band of Renaissance crackpots who constituted Titian's employers result in some of the book's most entertaining stretches’ Sunday Times

‘Evokes the sensuality of Titian's working methods and provides subtle insights into his enigmatic last paintings... a scrupulous and exhaustive account that is informed by the latest scholarship, but admirably free of academic cant... her book provides by far the richest account yet of Titian's interactions with the city's labyrinthine social fabric’ Daily Telegraph

‘Magnificent...the elegance and energy of her narrative...a born biographer's eye for detail. This is the first serious attempt for 100 years at encompassing Titian's life. Its combination of the eminently readable and the profoundly authentic is remarkable’ Literary Review

'A huge and exception new study of the painter...a superb portrait of the artist - an example of measured scholarship, judicious opinion, and telling framing detail' Guardian

‘Richly detailed’ Times

‘Engrossing...compelling...a portrait of Titian in his time...a sober probing account...which should endure as the standard Life for the next century’ Financial Times

‘gossipy all makes for compelling reading Independent Scholarly, erudite, endlessly inquisitive and as clear as can be...many of the bit-part players in the book are brilliantly vivid’ Mail on Sunday

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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Book Info

Publication date

5th July 2012


Sheila Hale

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HarperPress an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


864 pages


Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Biography: arts & entertainment
Renaissance art
Painting & paintings
Individual artists, art monographs



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