THE VENETIAN by David Weiss


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Biographical novelist Weiss, who has given us romances about Rodin (Naked Came I), Christopher Wren, William Harvey, The Assassination of Mozart and others, rises to more controlled workmanship in his present life of Titian. The Venetian master, now in his hundredth year, reflects on his life while painting his farewell Pieta and the plague rages. Titian's final style--after his decades variously as an allegorist of Greek myth, a producer of religious subjects and great nudes, and inventor of the unsparing closeup portrait--is one of a half-blind draping of paint on the canvas, allowing color to suggest form. Similarly, Weiss drapes Titian's thoughts on the page and dispenses with slavish biographical detail in favor of revealing the quality and richness of the aged master weighing his work, friendships and family. Weiss' reading of the paintings show Titian's growth canvas by canvas. Striving with rivals such as his beloved Giorgione, the Bellinis, Michelangelo (who put down Titian's draftsmanship), and others all of whom he survived, he lived a fairly sunny, sexy, endlessly productive life whose greatest events were inner advances. Plenty of plausible talk and commentary on technique, and a certain light hovering on the page, sustain a brisk and reasonably thoughtful portrait.

Pub Date: Dec. 17th, 1976
Publisher: Morrow