Book Series Studies in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art History

Titian’s Poetics

Selected Essays by David Rosand

Diane H. Bodart, Cleo Nisse (eds)

  • Pages: 436 p.
  • Size:220 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:33 b/w, 259 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024


Through a careful selection of essays, curated around his primary concerns with "Titian the painter and on the affective structures of his art, his technique and mimetic power, on its poetry," this book reconstitutes the many facets of David Rosand’s vision of the artist.


Diane H. Bodart is the David Rosand Associate Professor of Italian Renaissance Art History at Columbia University. Her research focuses on arts theory and practice in Italy and in the territories of imperial Spain in the early modern period. She is the author of Tiziano e Federico II Gonzaga (Rome, 1998) and Pouvoirs du portrait sous les Habsbourg d’Espagne (Paris, 2011), and the co-editor of François Lemée. Traité des statues (Weimar, 2012); Rire en images à la Renaissance (Turnhout, 2018); Wearing Images (2018); Le grand âge et ses œuvres ultimes (Rennes, 2020); Gribouillage. De Léonard de Vinci à Cy Twombly (Paris, 2022).

Cleo Nisse is Assistant Professor of Early Modern European Art at the University of Groningen. Her research concentrates on the materials and techniques of artistic practice, and on how artworks change over time. After postgraduate studies in painting conservation at the Courtauld Institute, her Columbia University PhD investigated the significance of canvas supports for Venetian painting from Bellini to Tintoretto. Her work has been supported by The Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, by the Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia, by Casa Muraro: Research Library for Venetian Studies, and by Save Venice, Inc.

David Rosand (1938-2014) was the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University and served as the chairman of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery.  Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is also a foreign member of the Ateneo Veneto in Venice.  An art historian, conservationist, and critic he was a generous and committed teacher. He is best known for his research on the art of Venice through publications including Titian and the Venetian Woodcut; Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice: Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto; and Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State.  He has also published on modern art, notably Robert Motherwell on Paper: Drawings, Prints, Collages.


The present volume offers an extensive compendium of the late Professor David Rosand’s writings on Titian through a collection of essays published between 1971 and 2014. Throughout his illustrious career at Columbia University, Rosand indefatigably investigated the Venetian artist's pictorial intelligence, and much as the continuous conversation of an enduring friendship creates ever new levels of intimacy and understanding, this lifelong engagement resulted in some of the most convincing interpretations of Titian's artworks penned to date. While his scholarship has been extremely influential on Titian studies, Rosand’s most significant texts on the artist are chapters in books with a broader subject or papers disseminated in journals and collective volumes. Through a careful selection of essays, curated around Rosand's primary concerns with "Titian the painter and on the affective structures of his art, his technique and mimetic power, on its poetry," this book reconstitutes the many facets of his vision of the artist. The reader is invited to enjoy this volume both as a means to gain deeper insight into the art of Renaissance Venice, and also the shifting priorities in the field of art history in the second half of the twentieth century, which Rosand himself did much to mold. His ground-breaking interrogation of the relationship between making and meaning in Titian's art remains remarkably fresh and will doubtless continue to offer prompts to future generations of scholars. At the same time, his lively and inimitable style means his essays will engage any individual curious about art, its creation, and its connection to literature and society.


David Rosand on Titian: The Art Historian’s Mark (Diane H. Bodart and Cleo Nisse)
Titian and the Critical Tradition (1982)

1. Titian in situ

Titian in the Frari (1972)
Titian. The Assunta (1988)
Titian’s Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple and the Scuola della Carità (1997)

2. Ut pictor poeta

Ut pictor poeta: Meaning in Titian’s Poesie (1972)
Inventing Mythologies: The Painter’s Poetry (2004)
Pastoral Topoi: On the Construction of Meaning in Landscape (1992)
Pietro pictore Aretino (2010)

3. Venus in question

Ermeneutica amorosa: Observations on the Interpretation of Titian’s Venuses (1980)
So-And-So Reclining on Her Couch (1993)
The Passion of Adonis (2014)

4. Titian’s touch

Titian and the Woodcut (1976)
The Stroke of the Brush (1988)
“La Mano di Tiziano” (1999)
Titian’s Saint Sebastians (1994)

5. Old age

“Most musical of Mourners, weep again!”: Titian’s Triumph of Marsyas (2010)
The Challenge of Titian’s “Senile Sublime” (1990)