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Fit for a Saint

Nicholas Penny, 6 April 1995

The Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice 
by Peter Humfrey.
Yale, 382 pp., £19.95, May 1995, 0 300 05358 4
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Italian Altarpieces 1250-1550: Function and Design 
edited by Eve Borsook and Fiorella Superbi Gioffredi.
Oxford, 296 pp., £45, September 1994, 0 19 817223 0
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... altarpieces by Bartolomeo Vivarini and Giovanni Bellini, and two of the greatest altarpieces by Titian, including the high altarpiece of the church, the Assunta. But this is one of the largest and most splendid churches in Italy; what is more remarkable is that many smaller Venetian churches, such as S. Giovanni Crisostomo, retain, among the dusty debris of ...

The Stubbornness of Lorenzo Lotto

Colm Tóibín: Lorenzo Lotto, 8 April 2010

... Lorenzo Lotto was born in Venice around 1483. He belonged to the same world, therefore, as Titian and Giorgione. Despite the fact that he was a native of the city, however, which they were not, he never became a fully fledged Venetian as they did. By 1503 his name is recorded in legal documents in Treviso as a painter; he also worked in the towns of Recanati and Jesi ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Van Dyck’s Portraits, 12 March 2009

... and grace that somehow implies moral authority. The equestrian portraits of Charles owe much to Titian, but assert political power rather than bellicosity; the family pictures advertise gracious, formal, dignified amiability. A painting could suggest that nobility dwelled among the nobility, that handsome did as handsome was. Mytens went home and became a ...

In Toledo, Ohio

Nicholas Penny: Goltzius, 23 October 2003

... of Raphael’s Massacre of the Innocents. He also studied the rugged style and rustic subjects of Titian’s woodcuts, and created compositions in which clouds and streams, mountain tracks and tree trunks are charged with, and united by, greater muscular energy than Titian himself had achieved. Among his last and greatest ...

At the Royal Collection

Peter Campbell: Retrieved at the Restoration, 6 September 2007

... two Bassanos (The Adoration of the Shepherds and The Journey of Jacob); the Lovers attributed to Titian, the Correggio Holy Family, the Bronzino Portrait of a Lady in Green, the two paintings by Gentileschi – A Sibyl is the other one – and his daughter Artemisia’s self-portrait. Without these the exhibition would be significant; with them it is ...

At Sotterley

R.F. Langley, 21 July 2005

... you can do no more. This is Emilia, twelve months old, and waving to the Christ Child in the Titian. The brush calls your attention to the jaw, to both lips, to the nostril, the eyelid and the smooth bulge under the brow. Six strokes of his post-Roman manner, reciprocating with what looked like the truth in Sicily. Turn round and be in Bethany. Slow down ...

In praise of Brigid Brophy

John Bayley, 5 March 1987

Baroque ’n’ Roll 
by Brigid Brophy.
Hamish Hamilton, 172 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 241 12037 3
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... else. The paradox is brilliantly explored in Brigid Brophy’s reflections on a picture story of Titian and Shakespeare. The play on personality here, and its metamorphosis, is shown to be literally enchanting. Titian’s Venus and Adonis, painted by him with the Danae as a pair of poesie for Philip II of Spain, was sent ...

At the National Gallery

Charles Hope: Lorenzo Lotto, 3 January 2019

... collections, where they were frequently credited to better-known artists, such as Giorgione and Titian, probably not because they looked particularly like the work of these artists, but because they were admired. The exhibition now at the National Gallery (until 10 February), a reduced version of one previously at the Prado, provides a wonderful opportunity ...

Goddesses and Girls

Nicholas Penny, 2 December 1982

... found: for instance, in Giorgione’s ‘Dresden Venus’ who reclines in a landscape, or in Titian’s so-called ‘Venus of Urbino’ – though she inhabits a 16th-century bedroom and confronts the beholder far more boldly. Charles Hope, in his remarkable monograph on Titian, like Michael Jacobs in a brisk and ...

Eye Contact

Peter Campbell: Anthony van Dyck, 16 September 1999

Anthony van Dyck 1599-1641 
by Christopher Brown and Hans Vlieghe.
Royal Academy, 360 pp., £22.50, May 1999, 9780847821969
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Anthony van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641 
by Robin Blake.
Constable, 435 pp., £25, August 1999, 9780094797208
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... tempered what he learned in Rubens’s studio with what he saw in the work of other painters – Titian in particular. He could imitate Rubens’s style so completely that it is sometimes difficult to decide who painted a given passage, but the style he developed on his own is technically and emotionally distinct. In Rubens, bodies twist and fall in ...
Nixon: A Study in Extremes of Fortune 
by Lord Longford.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77708 4
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... degrade and discredit it? In 1938, Nixon met ‘a beautiful and vivacious young woman with Titian hair’. Surprisingly, Longford does not insist that Titian hair is an unimpeachable moral quality, preferring to launch straight into the fact that Nixon’s parents were immediately knocked out by Pat’s ...

Bonking with Berenson

Nicholas Penny, 17 September 1987

Bernard Berenson. Vol. II: The Making of a Legend 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 680 pp., £19.95, May 1987, 0 674 06779 7
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The Partnership: The Secret Association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen 
by Colin Simpson.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £15, April 1987, 9780370305851
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... portrait’ – a painting of a lady now in the National Gallery in London and agreed to be a Titian, but proposed by Berenson as a copy of a Giorgione – had a certain family resemblance to the one of the former Doetsch Collection. There, however, barring morphological details, the likeness ends. In character, in temperament, the persons were of ...

Journey to Arezzo

Nicholas Penny: The Apotheosis of Piero, 17 April 2003

Piero della Francesca 
by Roberto Longhi, translated by David Tabbat.
Sheep Meadow, 364 pp., £32.50, September 2002, 1 878818 77 5
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... have been forgotten. The way that Piero paints lances and banners does not merely remind him of Titian and Velázquez; he implies that the Pesaro Family Altarpiece by the former and the Surrender of Breda by the latter were somehow made possible by Piero. The cryptic whimsy with which this idea is introduced cannot conceal its improbability. And when we are ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Aelbert Cuyp, 7 March 2002

... as extreme as that between bull and cow is another encouragement to discrimination. From Titian to Picasso there have been plenty of bull-paintings. By staffing so many of his pictures with herds of cattle – some knee-deep in water, some lying down in groups – Cuyp domesticates Claude’s dream-landscapes and turns our eye from a mythical past to ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Andrew O’Hagan: Lucian Freud, 26 April 2012

... Titian’s Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto were described by Lucian Freud as ‘simply the most beautiful pictures in the world’. And not long ago, in an act of Alex Salmond-defying co-operation, the National Gallery of Scotland and the National Gallery of Great Britain raided their respective coffers – as well as the coffers of their respective, culturally estranged governments – to buy the pictures from the Duke of Sutherland ...

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