Instead of being titled "Titian: His Life" this book should have been called "Titian: Just About Everything that Happened in Europe During His Life".Instead of being titled "Titian: His Life" this book should have been called "Titian: Just About Everything that Happened in Europe During His Life". I think a good biography should give the reader a sense of time and place, an understanding of the world that the subject lived in, but this one went too far in that direction. The book was at its best when the focus was on Titian and his art, although it would have been better if the color plates were in some kind of order and included more examples of extant works that author Sheila Hale described. The discussions of Titian's technique, the way the Venetian approach to painting differed from how it was done in Florence, and the examination of how Titian's work became more "impressionistic" in his later years were all very interesting.
Hale included far too many details about 16th Century European war and politics. It's true that the men and women who held power in Europe during that era were often patrons of the arts, and provided the source for much of Titians income and many of his commissions, but the book too frequently deviated from its subject. It ran 736 pages, but would have been far better if that count was reduced to somewhere under 500 pages. Ultimately, this book wasn't the book I hoped it would be. ...more
I've been familiar with Bill Mauldin's name forever due to the annual mention of him in the Peanuts comic strip every Veterans Day. I became aware thaI've been familiar with Bill Mauldin's name forever due to the annual mention of him in the Peanuts comic strip every Veterans Day. I became aware that he was a legendary World War II cartoonist, but until I read this biography, I knew little else about him.
The book, I think, is at its best when it displays Mauldin's cartoons with annotations beneath them; it gives us a chance to see his work and get a feel for its context. Much of Mauldin's WWII work hasn't aged well in that it's hard to "get" (without an explanation) if you weren't actually a grunt on the front lines in Europe. That doesn't apply as much to his later political cartoons.
Mauldin's life was certainly an interesting one, but it wasn't as interesting as his creative output. I suspect this book may have been better if it had focused more on the cartoons and less on Mauldin's personal life. ...more
A strange little book, about a collectibles dealer that nobody's ever heard of. (Turns out, he's a friend of the author. I didn't find out about it unA strange little book, about a collectibles dealer that nobody's ever heard of. (Turns out, he's a friend of the author. I didn't find out about it until the book suddenly and unexpectedly switched to the first person more than three quarters of the way in.) Some interesting stuff, but it's one of those books where the subject matter doesn't come across as being as important as the author thinks it is. A good read, though. It's too bad they didn't get permission to include some of Diane Arbus' photos in the book; it would have really enhanced it. ...more