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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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... were made for them than any other city in Europe. In the Frari we can see in their original settings 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 ...

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 Toledo, Ohio

Nicholas Penny: Goltzius

23 October 2003
... He created a highly ambitious variation on the balletic movements in Marcantonio’s famous print 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 ...

At the Royal Collection

Peter Campbell: Retrieved at the Restoration

6 September 2007
... of Saints Peter and Andrew, the two Tintorettos (Esther before Ahasuerus and The Muses) and the 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 ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Van Dyck’s Portraits

12 March 2009
... dignity in a formal, Netherlandish manner’. Van Dyck takes the stiffness out of it, suggests an ease 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 ...
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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... it transcends individuality. Art encourages us to become ourselves while reminding us it is something 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 ...

At the National Gallery

Charles Hope: Lorenzo Lotto

3 January 2019
... churches for which most of them were painted, his portraits often found their way into important 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 ...

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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... caricature. Van Dyck did not have Rubens’s intellectual scope but he was a wonderful pupil, and he 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 ...

Goddesses and Girls

Nicholas Penny

2 December 1982
... became popular at the time when Venus began to be venerated in the Vatican, the modest gesture is commonly 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 ...

At Sotterley

R.F. Langley

21 July 2005
... of her path, the Shrove-tide overcast she glances at outside. One way or another, if you are a realist, 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 ...

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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... Nilotic’ and ‘Asiatic’ traditions of colour. But he could not resist hinting that Piero may never 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 ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Aelbert Cuyp

7 March 2002
... have made them regular subject-matter. Sexual dimorphism – also, I would guess, exaggerated by breeding – 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 ...

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 ...
6 November 1980
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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... leader of the free world can make is to stay in office when every further hour in that office only serves to 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 ...

Skinned alive

John Bayley

25 June 1987
Collected Poems 
by George Barker, edited by Robert Fraser.
Faber, 838 pp., £27.50, May 1987, 0 571 13972 8
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By Grand Central Station I sat down and wept 
by Elizabeth Smart, introduced by Brigid Brophy.
Grafton, 126 pp., £2.50, July 1987, 0 586 02083 7
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... striking of all, the upside-down face of Marsyas, in his agony at the surgeon’s hands of scientific Apollo, expresses a refined and sexless being lost on the solitary verge of pleasure, while Midas-Titian gazes tearfully not at him but at some other terror. In her introduction to By Grand Central Station I sat down and wept, written for its republication by Grafton Books in 1966 – it first appeared ...

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