Published  24/01/2003

Titian: a must

The Titian exhibition opening at the National Gallery, London (19 February through 18 May 2003) promises to be a unique experience unlikely to be repeated in decades. Tiziano Vecellio was born before the end of the 15th century, grew up in a hill town of Northern Italy, and died in splendour as a victim of the plague in Venice in his late eighties. Titian portrayed his subjects with great insight, revealing in the flat surfaces inner depths and meaning where the sitters were concerned. Great Titians are, of course, already in the National Gallery, such as 'Bacchus and Ariadne' and 'Man with Blue Sleeve'. His 'Flora' is loaned from Florence, and 'Diana and Actaeon', 'Tarquin and Lucretia' and 'The Entombment' have all come from the Prado. The age of loans and swaps was predicted to end by curators in the late 1990s. Long may it last into the new century. If only Titian could be around today to capture Nigella Lawson and reveal all.

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