Charles Hope

Charles Hope, a former director of the Warburg Institute, has published extensively on Italian art of the 15th and 16th centuries.

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...

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...

The demand for something by his hand was surely an early instance of the kind of celebrity culture with which we are now very familiar. Michelangelo’s contemporaries were certainly in awe of his personality, and this was probably not entirely unrelated to the fact that his name led to endless not entirely unserious suggestions that his work was angelic or divine. Today any sheet of paper that contains so much as a rough sketch by Michelangelo or a line of his very distinctive handwriting has acquired a cachet that makes it almost like a religious relic. Such a sheet gives, or seems to give, a direct access into his way of thinking.

Within​ a generation of Raphael’s death in 1520 it was widely recognised that his career, along with those of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, marked a turning point in the development of painting in Italy and, by implication, in the rest of Europe. As Pierre-Jean Mariette remarked in 1729, in the so-called Recueil Crozat, a lavish collection of reproductions of famous European...

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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