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Titian: His Life
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 5, 2013
Titian is the monumental new biography of the Venetian Renaissance master by Sheila Hale. The huge biography (736 pages of text) in the hardback edition is a richly evocative and detailed look at Titian's long life but also the life of Venice. The artist was born Tiziano Velecci in the Dolomite Mountains near Venice. As a country bumpkin lad he was apprenticed to the artists Giovanni and Gentile Ballini. Titian soon moved far beyond his mentor in his artistic genius. During his life the stately looking artist would become the favorite painter of such monarchs as Charles V the Holy Roman Empire and his son Phillip II of Spain. Titian was also wooed to paint portraits and religious works by the Vatican. He was a favorite of poples Clement VII and Paul III . His many art works were noted for their brilliance of color; realistic detail and the beauty of such lovely ladies as the Venice of Urbano and several paintings of the Holy Family; mythological subjects and countless paintings of seductive young ladies. Titian wed twice producing three children; one of whom became a priest. His wife Cecilia died young and we are ignorant of the name of his second wife. Titian was second only to Micheangelo as a Renaissance artist. Titian did not like leaving his Venetiia studio and employed many apprentice painters. His favorite friend was Arentio the iconoclastic author and critic of the Roman Catholic Church. Titian was a leader of Counter-Reformation art. During his nearly century of life the city of Venus was threatened by invaders from France; the Ottoman Empire and Protestants but remained a powerful independent republic. Toitian enjoyed the good life investing in real estate; lumber manufacture and obtaining rich commissions for his art. He could be stingy and had difficulties dealing with his children. He also enjoyed women having several mistresses in his life.
Hale;'s biography has many notable pages including valuable quotations on the sixteenth century and Titian. A sampling of those quotations:
"Apart from the romantic mountain scenery and the house where he was born there isn't much left of Titian's Cardore."-(the village of his birth)-. p.6
"Although encomiums of great cities were standard Renaissance rhetoric, Venice was the most described and praised of all..."-p. 21
"...respectable women were supposed to be kept at home or closely chaperoned..."-p. 37
"The seriously rich indulged themselves in ways that rivalled the behaviour of our most outrageously ostentatious twenty-first century hedge-fund managers."p. 41
"...female beauty, which was rare and fleeting at a time of disfiguring illnesses and primitive medicine, denistry and cosmetics, was it's ultimate expression."p. 113
"Titian had one of the greatest minds of the Renaissance."-p. 287
"Money was never far from Titian's mind."-p. 500
"Overbearing, shortsighted and selfish though he could be as a father, Titian was unfailingly loyal to his friends."-p. 609

"Time will consume even the sky, but the glory of the great Vecellio will never be consumed by time."p. 736. A quotation on Titian's legacy by Carlo Ridolfi an early biographerthe great man.

Shelia Hale is a longtime art historian who has written a guidbook to Venice and is an expert on Titian. The book can be a "tough slog" to plow through filled with long and obscure Italian, German and Spanish names. The book contains hundreds of pages about political and military matters which are tedious and hard to untangle after 500 years. Many will find the book boring but for those who persevere the book has its pleasures and intellectual profit. It is well illustrated but more pictures could have been interspresed throughout the text whien Hale is describing a work of art.
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on August 23, 2014
This book is as much about the Hapsburg empire as it is about Titian. In many cases the author relates too much information. Names, dates and places are thrown at the reader at a furious pace. The ebook version is seriously hampered by making the pictures difficult to access. It was easier to Google the paintings than go to the back of the book. Why couldn't the paintings be accessed the way the dictionary is? The book definitely gave me a better understanding of the era, but it was seriously lacking in story ability. There is as much info about Titian dunning his clients as there is about his paintings. I get much more of a sense of the characters of Charles the V and Arentino than I do of Titian. Despite 800 pages Titian remains an enigma.
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on February 6, 2013
Still reading this excellent, extremely well researched book Would reccomend it to anyone interest in the Visual Art
or history of Venice. Titian is more than Titians paintings schooling, and life. "Titian" is about Venice, Italy...its
history, politics, social structure, and place in the world of Europe for several centures, as well as how Titian
advanced how people and landscapes are seen, with fewer strokes of the brush, and an appreciation for history,
womlen, and politics. Titian...by:Sheila Hale
JEB
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on August 4, 2014
For anyone interested in History, and the Arts, this is the book to read. The author has a refreshing way of presenting history . Many characters, from Emperors, Popes, Artists, the Citizens of Venice and others, are presented here with warts and all. Titian, the unbelievable creator of art is here reborn, and his interesting personal life shows, what a true genius can accomplish..
Venice, this jewel of a city, with its doges, painters, writers, and ordinary citizens, is beautifuly presented to our eyes. We also get An extra bonus, Because Europe, as it was then, is recreated, We live thriough those turbulent times through Sheila Hales's eyes. Titian, his world, his trials, tribulations and triumphs are a must read. That whole artistic world is here waiting for yoju. Go for it !.
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on August 29, 2014
Because so little is actually know about the common place of Titian's life much of the book gives an elaborate picture of the world's political environment of the time. All this heavily affected and formed what art and an artist's life would be at the time but it is tough to keep straight all the family lineages of all the major rulers with whom he'd have involvements. Sheila Hale gives a very real idea of what was and is appealing about Titian's paintings and our reactions to them.
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on October 10, 2014
Without pictures of the referenced art, this E Book is not worth the effort of reading a disjointed and rambling biography which provides little insight into the artist as a man or as to how he grew into a great painter.
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on February 7, 2015
Interesting subject, but way too long for the information available, as a result, the author fills up the pages with Renaissance History and bios of most other characters to come in contact with Titian. I love the subject, but didn't like the way it was written, very boring.
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on August 3, 2014
A great book for art aficionados, but your thirst for the politics, intrigues and history of Venice and Europe will be also quenched. You will discover the world of popes, emperors and doges in the 16th century when Titian contemporaries like Tintoretto, Bassano even Michelangelo were vying for their commissions.
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on July 20, 2014
a wonderful book about Titian's life his painting and Venetian history. It is best read with some kind of internet device at hand to look up the paintings under discussion which are not reproduced in the book's plates.
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on April 29, 2016
good deal
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