Charles Hope

Charles Hope’s most recent book is Titian: Sources and Documents.

No Taste: Above the Altar

Charles Hope, 25 April 2024

Florence has always​ been at the heart of any history of Renaissance art. The two most obvious reasons for this are the survival, especially in the city itself, of a very large number of works of art from that period, and the influence of Vasari’s Lives, which is mainly about Florentine artists. For the 15th century, the period of Masaccio, Botticelli and the young Leonardo da Vinci,...

Chapels for Sale: At the Altarpiece

Charles Hope, 2 December 2021

Until​ the Reformation virtually all Western Christians permitted and even encouraged the use of religious imagery, following in this respect the example of the pagans rather than the Jews. The most famous justification for the practice appears in two letters written by Pope Gregory the Great at the end of the sixth century to Serenus, bishop of Marseille. Serenus had destroyed some...


Salvator Mundi

22 December 2019

Nicholas Penny refers to an ‘unwritten protocol’ involving the consultation of external scholars before a national institution exhibits works in private hands whose attribution might be controversial (Letters, 23 January). Regardless of the relevance of that protocol, the websites of the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum all indicate that these institutions...

There is no clear indication from the 16th century of the existence of a picture of the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo himself, and it is rather surprising that he should have made one given that his other works do not suggest that he would have been interested in producing something in which the principal figure is entirely static and frontal, as well as lacking any kind of characterisation.

At the National Gallery: Lorenzo Lotto

Charles Hope, 3 January 2019

For centuries​ the reputation of Venetian Renaissance painters largely depended on the comments made about them in Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists. Vasari was in Venice for several months in 1542, but he was evidently unaware that Lorenzo Lotto, a generation older than him, was also living there and that they had acquaintances in common. During his visit he made notes about a...

Titian’s Mythologies

Thomas Puttfarken, 2 April 1981

If Titian’s reputation were to be assessed by the number and quality of the monographs devoted to him during this century, it would be hard to believe that he was one of the greatest...

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