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Titian: The Last Days Hardcover – December 8, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After years of gazing at Titian’s masterpieces and studying his world, British writer Hudson became intensely curious about the exceptionally long-lived painter’s revolutionary last paintings and the final days before his death during a plague epidemic in 1576. To understand the end, one must start at the beginning, and with wit, irreverence, a keen eye, and a shrewd imagination, Hudson recounts his fumbling search for fresh perspectives on Titian and shares his provocative discoveries. His entertaining analyses of the master’s erotic, startlingly brushy, and expansive style support his assertions that because Titian reveled in the “painterliness of paint,” he was a proto-impressionist and that Titian’s radical innovations equate with those of Picasso. Hudson has similarly vivid things to say about Titian’s temperament; the ambiance of his busy studio; his rivalry with his mentors, Bellini and Giorgione; his estrangement from his eldest son; his negotiations with his patrons, including Emperor Charles V; and his relationships with women. Like a regal figure on an old, newly restored canvas, Titian, “a figure of almost limitless creativity,” emerges resplendent from these lively pages. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Hudson employs a variety of strategies and tones in this remarkably engaging story. He is at times the pedagogue, the dazzled fan, the nervous tourist, the frustrated scholar, the disgusted critic (especially with verbose and pretentious art historians)…. Hudson does not neglect the artist’s personal life, filling us in on what’s known about his love life and his children. Most captivating, however, is the author’s own journey, from Venice to Spain to Czechoslovakia and elsewhere to follow the story of the great Italian painter. Intense passion and humble scholarship infuse this personal odyssey of discovery with arresting power.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“With wit, irreverence, a keen eye, and a shrewd imagination, Hudson recounts his fumbling search for fresh perspectives on Titian and shares his provocative discoveries.... Like a regal figure on an old, newly restored canvas, Titian, ‘a figure of almost limitless creativity,’ emerges resplendent from these lively pages.”Booklist

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company; 1 edition (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080271076X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802710765
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Waldo Lydecker on March 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Not an art history or even a history book, but rather a travelogue on Hudson's mostly failed attempt to track down facts and place to illuminate a story on Titian's last days during the Venetian plague.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Gray on January 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As someone who looks and a picture and rapidly loses interest because it aint moving, it has always been something of a surprise that in days before video a painting could evoke the sort of response amongst the public that say a trip to see Avatar in 3D can nowadays. Fusty old painting hung in gloomy rooms or even contemporary art works hung in garish art centres financed by some arts council or other, have always provoked a rapid movement to the souvenir shop and the tea room and contemplation of my Philistine soul. I'm an arty person, a creative individual, deeply entrenched in esoteric histories, world-cultures, and well dug into the trenches of artistic creation, and yet paintings often seems little more than interior decoration. So it is refreshing to read a work of art criticism and history, that does not just deal with the biographical details, but the response to the art both then and now, along with their own personal relationship with it. It flies in the face of pretension while at the same time maintains their capacity for awe at the achievement and relish at some of the banality of the business of art. The Last Days Of Titian gives one another pair of eyes to look at these things and explains why anyone bothers. Art here is both a window into another world and a mirror reflecting oneself in one's own. Multi-point perspective is the term that comes to mind when reading this trip into the renaissance.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Unexpectedly outstanding. Believing this to be only historical fiction, I found excellent discussions of Titian's paintings, as well as others of his time. Criticism: in a book this detailed, there should have been many more reproductions of the paintings discussed. It's best, though often inconvenient, to read this book with your computer handy so that you can see the paintings described by the author. The prose is easily accessible to lay readers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If I hadn't spent several weeks a year in Venice for the past decade, not having had much training in or knowledge of Renaissance art, I can't imagine finding this book of much interest. But as something of an autodidact when it comes to art and having spent time admiring the work of Titian and others in the scuolae, churches and museums of Venice, I thoroughly enjoyed this exploration of the last days of this genius.
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