The present volume reproduces with excellent clarity all 135 plates that Doré produced for The Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise. From the depths of hell onto the mountain of purgatory and up to the empyrean realms of paradise, Doré's illustrations depict the passion and grandeur of Dante's masterpiece in such famous scenes as the embarkation of the souls for hell, Paolo and Francesca (four plates), the forest of suicides, Thaïs the harlot, Bertram de Born holding his severed head aloft, Ugolino (four plates), the emergence of Dante and Virgil from hell, the ascent up the mountain, the flight of the eagle, Arachne, the lustful sinners being purged in the seventh circle, the appearance of Beatrice, the planet Mercury, and the first splendors of paradise, Christ on the cross, the stairway of Saturn, the final vision of the Queen of Heaven, and many more.
Each plate is accompanied by appropriate lines from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation of Dante's work.
The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn’t alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.
Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others–no one knows the precise number–have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.
Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ–its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.
Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. The fascinating details of Caravaggio’s strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harr’s account is not unlike a Caravaggio painting: vivid, deftly wrought, and enthralling.
". . . Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller . . . rich and wonderful. . .in truth, the book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling nonfiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein (Harr's previous book, A Civil Action, was made into a John Travolta movie), Harr doesn't plump up hi tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake. . .if you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk. . .[you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city, as when--one of my favorite moments in the whole book--Francesca and another young colleague try to calm their nerves before a crucial meeting with a forbidding professor by eating gelato. And who wouldn't in Italy? The pleasures of travelogue here are incidental but not inconsiderable." --The New York Times Book Review
"Jonathan Harr has taken the story of the lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste--and about the greed, envy, covetousness and professional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read." --The Economist
From the Hardcover edition.
In Van Gogh’s Ear, Bernadette Murphy reveals, for the first time, the true story of this long-misunderstood incident, sweeping away decades of myth and giving us a glimpse of a troubled but brilliant artist at his breaking point. Murphy’s detective work takes her from Europe to the United States and back, from the holdings of major museums to the moldering contents of forgotten archives. She braids together her own thrilling journey of discovery with a narrative of Van Gogh’s life in Arles, the sleepy Provençal town where he created his finest work, and vividly reconstructs the world in which he moved—the madams and prostitutes, café patrons and police inspectors, shepherds and bohemian artists. We encounter Van Gogh’s brother and benefactor Theo, his guest and fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and many local subjects of Van Gogh’s paintings, some of whom Murphy identifies for the first time. Strikingly, Murphy uncovers previously unknown information about “Rachel”—and uses it to propose a bold new hypothesis about what was occurring in Van Gogh’s heart and mind as he made a mysterious delivery to her doorstep.
As it reopens one of art history’s most famous cold cases, Van Gogh’s Ear becomes a fascinating work of detection. It is also a study of a painter creating his most iconic and revolutionary work, pushing himself ever closer to greatness even as he edged toward madness—and one fateful sweep of the blade that would resonate through the ages.
Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries.
From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world.
From the formation of empire, Hughes moves on to the rise of early Christianity, his own antipathy toward religion providing rich and lively context for the brutality of the early Church, and eventually the Crusades. The brutality had the desired effect—the Church consolidated and outlasted the power of empire, and Rome would be the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the newly united kingdom of Italy in 1870.
As one would expect, Hughes lavishes plenty of critical attention on the Renaissance, providing a full survey of the architecture, painting, and sculpture that blossomed in Rome over the course of the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and shedding new light on old masters in the process. Having established itself as the artistic and spiritual center of the world, Rome in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries saw artists (and, eventually, wealthy tourists) from all over Europe converging on the bustling city, even while it was caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the Italian independence struggle and war against France.
Hughes keeps the momentum going right into the twentieth century, when Rome witnessed the rise and fall of Italian Fascism and Mussolini, and took on yet another identity in the postwar years as the fashionable city of "La Dolce Vita." This is the Rome Hughes himself first encountered, and it's one he contends, perhaps controversially, has been lost in the half century since, as the cult of mass tourism has slowly ruined the dazzling city he loved so much. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, Rome is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it.
From the Hardcover edition.
This book collects all 241 plates — long out of print — that Doré executed for the Bible. In these plates, reproduced from outstanding early editions, the artist not only captures the dramatic intensity of the Scriptures, but sustains it longer than any other single artist was able to do. In addition, Doré reimagined all the scenes, so that what he produced was not a mere reworking of what centuries of other artists had already done, but a new and fresh visual interpretation of the Bible.
Each plate is accompanied by the verses from the Authorized (King James) Version of the Bible that the scene depicts, and an Introduction by Millicent Rose covers Doré's life and art in general. This is a sumptuous book that everyone, from those interested in Scripture to lovers of great art, will be proud to possess.
Rackham's career coincided with the era known as the Golden Age of Illustration, an age that witnessed the rise of increasingly sophisticated color printing techniques. His interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which first appeared in 1908, received the full benefit of the improved technology, and this faithful reprint offers a quality of printing and sharpness of reproduction that rivals the limited and first editions. The complete text of the play appears here, along with 40 full-color and numerous black-and-white illustrations — a splendid tribute by a master of fantasy art to an immortal play.
Michelangelo stands alone as a master of painting, sculpture, and architecture, a man who reinvented the practice of art itself. Throughout his long career he clashed with patrons by insisting that he had no master but his own demanding muse. Michelangelo was ambitious, egotistical, and difficult, but through the towering force of genius and through sheer pugnaciousness, he transformed the way we think about art.
Miles Unger narrates the life of this tormented genius through six of his greatest masterpieces. Each work expanded the expressive range of the medium, from the Pietà carved by a brash young man of twenty-four, to the apocalyptic Last Judgment, the work of an old man weighed down by the unimaginable suffering he had witnessed. In the gargantuan David he depicts Man in the glory of his youth, while in the tombs he carved for his Medici overlords he offers perhaps history’s most sustained meditation on death and the afterlife of the soul. In the vast expanse of the Sistine Chapel ceiling he tells the epic story of Creation. During the final decades of his life, his hands too unsteady to wield the brush and chisel, he exercised his mind by raising the soaring vaults and dome of St. Peter’s in a final tribute to his God.
“A deeply human tribute to one of the most accomplished and fascinating figures inthe history of Western culture” (The Boston Globe), Michelangelo brings to life the irascible, egotistical, and undeniably brilliant man whose artistry continues to amaze and inspire us after five hundred years.
Rembrandt's Jews puts this myth to the test as it examines both the legend and the reality of Rembrandt's relationship to Jews and Judaism. In his elegantly written and engrossing tour of Jewish Amsterdam—which begins in 1653 as workers are repairing Rembrandt's Portuguese-Jewish neighbor's house and completely disrupting the artist's life and livelihood—Steven Nadler tells us the stories of the artist's portraits of Jewish sitters, of his mundane and often contentious dealings with his neighbors in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam, and of the tolerant setting that city provided for Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews fleeing persecution in other parts of Europe. As Nadler shows, Rembrandt was only one of a number of prominent seventeenth-century Dutch painters and draftsmen who found inspiration in Jewish subjects. Looking at other artists, such as the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael and Emmanuel de Witte, a celebrated painter of architectural interiors, Nadler is able to build a deep and complex account of the remarkable relationship between Dutch and Jewish cultures in the period, evidenced in the dispassionate, even ordinary ways in which Jews and their religion are represented—far from the demonization and grotesque caricatures, the iconography of the outsider, so often found in depictions of Jews during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Through his close look at paintings, etchings, and drawings; in his discussion of intellectual and social life during the Dutch Golden Age; and even through his own travels in pursuit of his subject, Nadler takes the reader through Jewish Amsterdam then and now—a trip that, under ever-threatening Dutch skies, is full of colorful and eccentric personalities, fiery debates, and magnificent art.
In this eminently fascinating work, author Philip Ball makes sense of the visual and emotional power of Chartres and brilliantly explores how its construction—and the creation of other Gothic cathedrals—represented a profound and dramatic shift in the way medieval thinkers perceived their relationship with their world. Beautifully illustrated and written, filled with astonishing insight, Universe of Stone embeds the magnificent cathedral in the culture of the twelfth century—its schools of philosophy and science, its trades and technologies, its politics and religious debates—enabling us to view this ancient architectural marvel with fresh eyes.
Klimt's talent and brilliance as a draughtsman, however, was widely recognized only after Klimt's death. During his lifetime, he hardly sold a drawing nor did he exhibit them.
The Paris of the 1860s and 1870s was a brand-new city, recently adorned with boulevards, cafés, parks, Great Exhibitions, and suburban pleasure grounds—the birthplace of the habits of commerce and leisure that we ourselves know as "modern life." A new kind of culture quickly developed in this remade metropolis, sights and spectacles avidly appropriated by a new kind of "consumer": clerks and shopgirls, neither working class nor bourgeois, inventing their own social position in a system profoundly altered by their very existence. Emancipated and rootless, these men and women flocked to the bars and nightclubs of Paris, went boating on the Seine at Argenteuil, strolled the island of La Grande-Jatte—enacting a charade of community that was to be captured and scrutinized by Manet, Degas, and Seurat.
It is Clark's cogently argued (and profusely illustrated) thesis that modern art emerged from these painters' attempts to represent this new city and its inhabitants. Concentrating on three of Manet's greatest works and Seurat's masterpiece, Clark traces the appearance and development of the artists' favorite themes and subjects, and the technical innovations that they employed to depict a way of life which, under its liberated, pleasure-seeking surface, was often awkward and anxious.
Through their paintings, Manet and the Impressionists ask us, and force us to ask ourselves: Is the freedom offered by modernity a myth? Is modern life heroic or monotonous, glittering or tawdry, spectacular or dull? The Painting of Modern Life illuminates for us the ways, both forceful and subtle, in which Manet and his followers raised these questions and doubts, which are as valid for our time as for the age they portrayed.
In a tiny enclave in the heart of Rome lies the world's smallest independent state—the Vatican. Over the course of fifteen hundred years, successive popes have commissioned and assembled an extraordinary collection of artistic works within Vatican walls.
Eminent expert Professor Enrico Bruschini takes readers on a fascinating personal tour through the Vatican's magnificent sacred halls, vividly bringing to life works by Raphael, da Vinci, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and many others, while sharing interesting curiosities about the artists, their art, and the historical context in which they worked. Bruschini's unprecedented access to areas rarely open to the public enables him to offer a unique behind-the-scenes tour that reveals the Vatican's most intimate secrets and hidden treasures. With maps and rare photographs from the Vatican archives, In the Footsteps of Popes is an extraordinary excursion that is not to be missed.
Florence′s Duomo - the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral - is one of the most enduring symbols of the Italian Renaissance, an equal in influence and fame to Leonardo and Michaelangelo′s works. It was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the temperamental architect who rediscovered the techniques of mathematical perspective. He was the dome′s ′inventor′, whose secret methods for building remain a mystery as compelling to architects as Fermat′s Last Theorem once was to mathematicians. Yet Brunelleschi didn′t direct the construction of the dome alone. He was forced to share the commission with his arch-rival, the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, whose ′Paradise Doors′ are also masterworks. This is the story of these two men - a tale of artistic genius and individual triumph.
In The Portland Vase, Robin Brooks takes us on a vivid journey across Europe and through the centuries, as this delicate piece of glass, less than ten inches in height, passes through the hands of a stunning cast of characters, including the first Roman emperor, Augustus; a notorious tomb raider; a reckless cardinal; a princess with a nasty gambling habit; the ceramics genius Josiah Wedgwood; the secretive Duchess of Portland; and a host of politicians, dilettantes, and scam artists.
Rich with passion, inspiration, jealousy, and endless speculation, the story of The Portland Vase spans more than two thousand years and remains one of the art world's greatest enigmas.
Before portraying Wagner's "Ring," Arthur Rackham (1867–1939) had become England's leading illustrator through his interpretations of fairy and fantastic books: Grimm's Fairy Tales, Rip van Winkle, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, A Midsummer-Night's Dream. With his insight into elves, twisted oaks, and bearded heroes, Wagner was the logical step: with the "Ring," Rackham brought his talent for ethereal watercolor and line into new realms of adult mythology.
This edition reproduces, in full color, all 64 watercolor illustrations from Siegfried & The Twilight of the Gods (1911) and The Rhinegold & The Valkyrie (1912). The original English and American editions also contained black-and-white vignettes and tailpieces, a selection of which appear here: the original text, a dated English translation of the libretto, has been replaced by comprehensive descriptive captions and an introduction by James Spero.
Rackham poured all his mature fancy into the "Ring." The gnarled Nibelung Alberich sports with teasing Rhinemaidens, fiery Loge and lordly Wotan tussle with giants and serpents. An ecstatic Brünnhilde is finally consumed on Siegfried's funeral pyre in perhaps the most successful representation of this scene anywhere, either graphically or theatrically. Wagner's Teutonic forests and caves give Rackham free reign for his brooding, haunting nature backgrounds; characters, costumes, and all the tiny details are painted with such textual accuracy and empathy that today's opera companies who wish to return to staging the "Ring" in the traditional manner turn to Rackham's paintings for guidance.
The painstaking reproduction of these artworks brings Arthur Rackham's most heroic visions to the many collectors and admirers who cannot obtain the expensive out-of-print editions. With the aid of the clear captions, the Wagnerian cycle may be followed once again in its most time-honored and rich interpretation.
The book begins with a critique of iconographic discourse and particularly of iconography's treatment of vanitas symbolism. It goes on to argue that this treatment tends to divert attention from still life's darker meanings and from the true character of its traffic with death. Interpretations of still life that focus on the vanity of human experience and the mutability of life minimize the impact made by the representation of such voracious pillagers of plant life as insects, snails, and caterpillars. The message sent by still life's preoccupation with these small-scale predators is not merely vanitas.
It is rapacitas. Caterpillage also explores the impact of this message on the meaning of the genre's French name. We use the conventional term nature morte ("dead nature") without giving any thought to how misleading it is. Because so many portrayals of still life involve cut flowers, which, although still in bloom, are dying, it would be more accurate to name the genre nature mourant. The subjects of still life are plants that are still living, plants that are dying but not yet dead.
Focusing on the early thirteenth to the late fourteenth centuries, he examines over two hundred years of change and consolidation, tracing the growth of the cathedral in the city as well as the evolution of sacred places within the cathedral itself. He goes on to consider this substantial monument in terms of its location in Toledo, Spain’s most cosmopolitan city in the medieval period. Nickson also addresses the importance and symbolic significance of Toledo’s cathedral to the city and the art and architecture of the medieval Iberian Peninsula, showing how it fits in with broader narratives of change in the arts, culture, and ideology of the late medieval period in Spain and in Mediterranean Europe as a whole.
In Peasant Scenes and Landscapes, Larry Silver examines the emergence of pictorial kinds—scenes of taverns and markets, landscapes and peasants—and charts their evolution as genres from initial hybrids to more conventionalized artistic formulas. The relationship of these new genres and their favorite themes reflect a burgeoning urbanism and capitalism in Antwerp, and Silver analyzes how pictorial genres and the Antwerp marketplace fostered the development of what has come to be known as "signature" artistic style. By examining Bosch and Bruegel, together with their imitators, he focuses on pictorial innovation as well as the marketing of individual styles, attending particularly to the growing practice of artists signing their works. In addition, he argues that consumer interest in the style of individual artists reinforced another phenomenon of the later sixteenth century: art collecting. While today we take such typical artistic formulas as commonplace, along with their frequent use of identifying signatures (a Rothko, a Pollock), Peasant Scenes and Landscapes shows how these developed simultaneously in the commercial world of early modern Antwerp.