Death, Desire, and the Portrait of the Old Master
Maria H. Loh
Michelangelo was one of the biggest international art stars of his time, but being Michelangelo was no easy thing: he was stalked by fans, lauded and lambasted by critics, and depicted in unauthorized portraits. Still Lives traces the process by which artists such as Michelangelo, Dürer, and Titian became early modern celebrities.
Artists had been subjects of biographies since antiquity, but Renaissance artists were the first whose faces were sometimes as recognizable as their art. Maria Loh shows how this transformation was aided by the rapid expansion of portraiture and self-portraiture as independent genres in painting and sculpture. She examines the challenges confronting artists in this new image economy: What did it mean to be an image maker haunted by one's own image? How did these changes affect the everyday realities of artists and their workshops? And how did images of artists contribute to the way they envisioned themselves as figures in a history that would outlive them?
Richly illustrated, Still Lives is an original exploration of the invention of the artist portrait and a new form of secular stardom.
Maria H. Loh teaches art history at University College London. She is the author of Titian Remade: Repetition and the Transformation of Early Modern Italian Art.