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The Sydney J. Freedberg Lecture on Italian Art 2018: Against Titian

Stephen J. Campbell, Henry and Elizabeth Wiesenfeld Professor of Art History, Johns Hopkins University. In this lecture, presented on November 4, 2018, Stephen J. Campbell addresses the conflicted reception of the Venetian painter Titian outside his home city during a crucial phase in the formation of his reputation—his achievement of celebrity as a Hapsburg court painter and his inclusion in an emerging canon of Venetian and central Italian artists. While Titian’s production for Hapsburg patrons in Spain and other non-Italian destinations shows him performing as the quintessential artist of the Italian "modern manner," by the mid-sixteenth century his work for sites in Italy pursued a different course: artistic and critical reaction suggests that it was found to be inscrutable or alienating. Campbell’s lecture proposes that this reception resulted from a tacit disavowal on Titian's part of contemporary critical accounts—by Lodovico Dolce, Pietro Aretino, and Giorgio Vasari—that increasingly sought to define his work.