Jonathan Keates

Lines of Beauty

Titian: His Life


HarperPress 832pp £30 order from our bookshop

‘The wonder is, he hath endur’d so long’ is the Earl of Kent’s rather bleak verdict on King Lear in the last scene of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The line is one we might echo when nearing the end of Sheila Hale’s magnificent new biography of Tiziano Vecellio, the artist we know as Titian. He was admittedly spared Lear’s decline into beggary and madness and his children were not quite so outrageously heartless as Goneril and Regan. At the end of his long life, however, there’s a similar sense of an old man tested by experience on the ‘rack of this tough world’. In this case, Titian’s genius emerged the victor. His supremacy as the Italian Renaissance’s last great master has never been seriously challenged and painters from Rubens and Poussin to Constable, Turner and Delacroix acknowledged his vital inspiration.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,