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Titian’s Mythologies

Thomas Puttfarken, 2 April 1981

Titian 
by Charles Hope.
Jupiter Books, 170 pp., £12.50, June 1980, 0 906379 09 1
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... 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 painters of European art history. There are, perhaps, two closely related reasons for this. On the one hand, the crucial element of his art, his treatment of colour, cannot be reproduced in black-and-white illustrations; and, perhaps worse, even the best and technically most advanced colour plates necessarily distort and impoverish the rich harmonics of his colour schemes ...

The First Universal Man

Jules Lubbock: The Invention of Painting, 31 October 2002

Leon Battista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance 
by Anthony Grafton.
Allen Lane, 432 pp., £9.99, January 2002, 0 14 029169 5
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The Discovery of Pictorial Composition: Theories of Visual Order in Painting, 1400-1800 
by Thomas Puttfarken.
Yale, 332 pp., £30, June 2000, 0 300 08156 1
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... same time something important has been lost. In his superb The Discovery of Pictorial Composition, Thomas Puttfarken points out that while composition was indeed central for Alberti, he rather oddly failed to provide any rules for what nowadays most people understand as the formal composition of a picture: the placing (or dispositio, to use the rhetorical ...

Goddesses and Girls

Nicholas Penny, 2 December 1982

... and unambiguous sexual invitation’. Hope has been rebuked for saying this – for example, by Thomas Puttfarken in the present journal (Vol. 3, No 6). The great nudes of modern art – women transformed by Henry Moore into stones and bones, by Picasso into erotic hieroglyphics, and by Matisse into lyrical calligraphy – are not only far less ...

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