Michelangelo da Caravaggio

Parkstone International
Free sample

After staying in Milan for his apprenticeship, Michelangelo da Caravaggio arrived in Rome in 1592. There he started to paint with both realism and psychological analysis of the sitters. Caravaggio was as temperamental in his painting as in his wild life. As he also responded to prestigious Church commissions, his dramatic style and his realism were seen as unacceptable. Chiaroscuro had existed well before he came on the scene, but it was Caravaggio who made the technique definitive, darkening the shadows and transfixing the subject in a blinding shaft of light. His influence was immense, firstly through those who were more or less directly his disciples. Famous during his lifetime, Caravaggio had a great influence upon Baroque art. The Genoese and Neapolitan Schools derived lessons from him, and the great movement of Spanish painting in the seventeenth century was connected with these schools. In the following generations the best endowed painters oscillated between the lessons of Caravaggio and the Carracci.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Parkstone International
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Published on
Jan 17, 2012
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Pages
200
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ISBN
9781780427270
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation
Art / European
Art / General
Art / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
Art / History / Renaissance
Art / Individual Artists / Monographs
Art / Subjects & Themes / Religious
Art / Techniques / Painting
Design / Decorative Arts
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Secluded within cloister walls, a painter and a monk, and brother of the order of the Dominicans, Angelico devoted his life to religious paintings. Little is known of his early life except that he was born at Vicchio, in the broad fertile valley of the Mugello, not far from Florence, that his name was Guido de Pietro, and that he passed his youth in Florence, probably in some bottegha, for at twenty he was recognised as a painter. In 1418 he entered in a Dominican convent in Fiesole with his brother. They were welcomed by the monks and, after a year’s novitiate, admitted to the brotherhood, Guido taking the name by which he was known for the rest of his life, Fra Giovanni da Fiesole; for the title of Angelico, the “Angel,” or Il Beato, “The Blessed,” was conferred on him after his death. Henceforth he became an example of two personalities in one man: he was all in all a painter, but also a devout monk; his subjects were always religious ones and represented in a deeply religious spirit, yet his devotion as a monk was no greater than his absorption as an artist. Consequently, though his life was secluded within the walls of the monastery, he kept in touch with the art movements of his time and continually developed as a painter. His early work shows that he had learned of the illuminators who inherited the Byzantine traditions, and had been affected by the simple religious feeling of Giotto’s work. Also influenced by Lorenzo Monaco and the Sienese School, he painted under the patronage of Cosimo de Medici. Then he began to learn of that brilliant band of sculptors and architects who were enriching Florence by their genius. Ghiberti was executing his pictures in bronze upon the doors of the Baptistery; Donatello, his famous statue of St. George and the dancing children around the organ-gallery in the Cathedral; and Luca della Robbia was at work upon his frieze of children, singing, dancing and playing upon instruments. Moreover, Masaccio had revealed the dignity of form in painting. Through these artists the beauty of the human form and of its life and movement was being manifested to the Florentines and to the other cities. Angelico caught the enthusiasm and gave increasing reality of life and movement to his figures.
He was the son of a citizen in comfortable circumstances, and had been, in Vasari’s words, “instructed in all such things as children are usually taught before they choose a calling.” However, he refused to give his attention to reading, writing and accounts, continues Vasari, so that his father, despairing of his ever becoming a scholar, apprenticed him to the goldsmith Botticello: whence came the name by which the world remembers him. However, Sandro, a stubborn-featured youth with large, quietly searching eyes and a shock of yellow hair – he has left a portrait of himself on the right-hand side of his picture of the Adoration of the Magi – would also become a painter, and to that end was placed with the Carmelite monk Fra Filippo Lippi. But he was a realist, as the artists of his day had become, satisfied with the joy and skill of painting, and with the study of the beauty and character of the human subject instead of religious themes. Botticelli made rapid progress, loved his master, and later on extended his love to his master’s son, Filippino Lippi, and taught him to paint, but the master’s realism scarcely touched Lippi, for Botticelli was a dreamer and a poet. Botticelli is a painter not of facts, but of ideas, and his pictures are not so much a representation of certain objects as a pattern of forms. Nor is his colouring rich and lifelike; it is subordinated to form, and often rather a tinting than actual colour. In fact, he was interested in the abstract possibilities of his art rather than in the concrete. For example, his compositions, as has just been said, are a pattern of forms; his figures do not actually occupy well-defined places in a well-defined area of space; they do not attract us by their suggestion of bulk, but as shapes of form, suggesting rather a flat pattern of decoration. Accordingly, the lines which enclose the figures are chosen with the primary intention of being decorative. It has been said that Botticelli, “though one of the worst anatomists, was one of the greatest draughtsmen of the Renaissance.” As an example of false anatomy we may notice the impossible way in which the Madonna’s head is attached to the neck, and other instances of faulty articulation and incorrect form of limbs may be found in Botticelli’s pictures. Yet he is recognised as one of the greatest draughtsmen: he gave to ‘line’ not only intrinsic beauty, but also significance. In mathematical language, he resolved the movement of the figure into its factors, its simplest forms of expression, and then combined these various forms into a pattern which, by its rhythmical and harmonious lines, produces an effect upon our imagination, corresponding to the sentiments of grave and tender poetry that filled the artist himself. This power of making every line count in both significance and beauty distinguishes the great master- draughtsmen from the vast majority of artists who used line mainly as a necessary means of representing concrete objects.
Vincent van Gogh’s life and work are so intertwined that it is hardly possible to observe one without thinking of the other. Van Gogh has indeed become the incarnation of the suffering, misunderstood martyr of modern art, the emblem of the artist as an outsider. An article, published in 1890, gave details about van Gogh’s illness. The author of the article saw the painter as “a terrible and demented genius, often sublime, sometimes grotesque, always at the brink of the pathological.” Very little is known about Vincent’s childhood. At the age of eleven he had to leave “the human nest”, as he called it himself, for various boarding schools. The first portrait shows us van Gogh as an earnest nineteen year old. At that time he had already been at work for three years in The Hague and, later, in London in the gallery Goupil & Co. In 1874 his love for Ursula Loyer ended in disaster and a year later he was transferred to Paris, against his will. After a particularly heated argument during Christmas holidays in 1881, his father, a pastor, ordered Vincent to leave. With this final break, he abandoned his family name and signed his canvases simply “Vincent”. He left for Paris and never returned to Holland. In Paris he came to know Paul Gauguin, whose paintings he greatly admired. The self-portrait was the main subject of Vincent’s work from 1886c88. In February 1888 Vincent left Paris for Arles and tried to persuade Gauguin to join him. The months of waiting for Gauguin were the most productive time in van Gogh’s life. He wanted to show his friend as many pictures as possible and decorate the Yellow House. But Gauguin did not share his views on art and finally returned to Paris. On 7 January, 1889, fourteen days after his famous self-mutilation, Vincent left the hospital where he was convalescing. Although he hoped to recover from and to forget his madness, but he actually came back twice more in the same year. During his last stay in hospital, Vincent painted landscapes in which he recreated the world of his childhood. It is said that Vincent van Gogh shot himself in the side in a field but decided to return to the inn and went to bed. The landlord informed Dr Gachet and his brother Theo, who described the last moments of his life which ended on 29 July, 1890: “I wanted to die. While I was sitting next to him promising that we would try to heal him. [...], he answered, ‘La tristesse durera toujours (The sadness will last forever).’”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The definitive biography for decades to come.”—Leo Jansen, curator, the Van Gogh Museum, and co-editor of Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Letters

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who galvanized readers with their Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Jackson Pollock, have written another tour de force—an exquisitely detailed, compellingly readable portrait of Vincent van Gogh. Working with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and Smith have accessed a wealth of previously untapped materials to bring a crucial understanding to the larger-than-life mythology of this great artist: his early struggles to find his place in the world; his intense relationship with his brother Theo; and his move to Provence, where he painted some of the best-loved works in Western art. The authors also shed new light on many unexplored aspects of Van Gogh’s inner world: his erratic and tumultuous romantic life; his bouts of depression and mental illness; and the cloudy circumstances surrounding his death at the age of thirty-seven.
 
Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, no serious, ambitious examination of his life has been attempted in more than seventy years. Naifeh and Smith have re-created Van Gogh’s life with an astounding vividness and psychological acuity that bring a completely new and sympathetic understanding to this unique artistic genius.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • The Wall Street Journal • San Francisco Chronicle • NPR • The Economist • Newsday • BookReporter 

“In their magisterial new biography, Van Gogh: The Life, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith provide a guided tour through the personal world and work of that Dutch painter, shining a bright light on the evolution of his art. . . . What [the authors] capture so powerfully is Van Gogh’s extraordinary will to learn, to persevere against the odds.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Brilliant . . . Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith are the big-game hunters of modern art history. . . . [Van Gogh] rushes along on a tide of research. . . . At once a model of scholarship and an emotive, pacy chunk of hagiography.”—Martin Herbert, The Daily Telegraph (London)
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