Titian and Tragic Painting by Thomas Puttfarken
Aristotle's "Poetics" and the Rise of the Modern Artist

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Synopsis

Late in his life Titian created a series of paintings—the “Four Sinners,” the “poesie” for his patron Philip II of Spain, and the “Final Tragedies”—that were dark in tone and content, full of pathos and physical suffering.

In this major reinterpretation of Titian’s art, Thomas Puttfarken shows that the often dramatic and violent subject matter of these works was not, as is often argued, the consequence of the artist’s increasing age and sense of isolation and tragedy. Rather, these paintings were influenced by discussions of Aristotle’s Poetics that permeated learned discourse in Italy in the mid-sixteenth century. The Poetics led directly to a rich theory of the visual arts, and painting in particular, that enabled artists like Titian to consider themselves on equal footing with poets. Puttfarken investigates Titian’s late works in this context and analyzes his relations with his patrons, his intellectual and humanistic contacts, and his choices of subject matter, style, and technique.

 

About Thomas Puttfarken

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Thomas Puttfarken, professor of art history and theory at the University of Essex, is also the author of The Discovery of Pictorial Composition: Theories of Visual Order in Painting, 1400?1800 and Roger de Piles' Theory of Art, both published by Yale University Press.
 
Published November 10, 2005 by Yale University Press. 256 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction
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