Van Gogh: The Life

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith galvanized readers with their astonishing Jackson Pollock: An American Saga, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for biography, a book acclaimed for its miraculous research and overwhelming narrative power. Now Naifeh and Smith have written another tour de force—an exquisitely detailed, compellingly readable, and ultimately heartbreaking portrait of creative genius 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. While drawing liberally from the artist’s famously eloquent letters, they have also delved into hundreds of unpublished family correspondences, illuminating with poignancy the wanderings of Van Gogh’s troubled, restless soul. Naifeh and Smith 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; his impetus for turning to brush and canvas; and his move to Provence, where in a brief burst of incandescent productivity 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 deep immersion in literature and art; his erratic and tumultuous romantic life; and his bouts of depression and mental illness.

Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, and though the broad outlines of his tragedy have long inhabited popular culture, 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 whose signature images of sunflowers and starry nights have won a permanent place in the human imagination.

Praise for Van Gogh

“The definitive biography for decades to come.”—Leo Jansen, curator, the Van Gogh Museum, and co-editor of Vincent van Gogh: The Complete Letters

“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
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About the author

Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith are graduates of Harvard Law School. Mr. Naifeh, who has written for art periodicals and has lectured at numerous museums including the National Gallery of Art, studied art history at Princeton and did his graduate work at the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. Together they have written many books on art and other subjects, including four New York Times bestsellers. Their biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It also inspired the Academy Award–winning 2000 film Pollock starring Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as well as John Updike’s novel, Seek My Face. Naifeh and Smith have been profiled in The New Yorker, The New York Times, USA Today, and People, and have appeared on 60 Minutes, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Charlie Rose, and the Today show.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Oct 18, 2011
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Pages
976
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ISBN
9781588360472
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Language
English
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Genres
Art / Individual Artists / General
Art / Techniques / Painting
Biography & Autobiography / Artists, Architects, Photographers
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the acclaimed author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Leonardo and the Last Supper, the riveting story of how Michelangelo, against all odds, created the masterpiece that has ever since adorned the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel in Rome. Despite having completed his masterful statue David four years earlier, he had little experience as a painter, even less working in the delicate medium of fresco, and none with challenging curved surfaces such as the Sistine ceiling's vaults. The temperamental Michelangelo was himself reluctant: He stormed away from Rome, incurring Julius's wrath, before he was eventually persuaded to begin.

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling recounts the fascinating story of the four extraordinary years he spent laboring over the twelve thousand square feet of the vast ceiling, while war and the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. A panorama of illustrious figures intersected during this time-the brilliant young painter Raphael, with whom Michelangelo formed a rivalry; the fiery preacher Girolamo Savonarola and the great Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus; a youthful Martin Luther, who made his only trip to Rome at this time and was disgusted by the corruption all around him.

Ross King blends these figures into a magnificent tapestry of day-to-day life on the ingenious Sistine scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early-sixteenth-century Italy, while also offering uncommon insight into the connection between art and history.
Por fin, el retrato completo del incomparable maestro.

Vida, muerte y genialidad de la mano de dos ganadores del premio Pulitzer

Van Gogh trabajó como marchante de arte con escaso éxito, intentó convertirse en predicador, hizo incursiones como ilustrador de revistas y, por último, tuvo una carrera de pintor tan brillante como corta. Cuando murió en Francia a los 37 años sus cuadros se amontonaban, sin que casi nadie los mirase, en los armarios, desvanes y habitaciones de sus parientes, amigos y acreedores. Sin embargo, en su breve y tempestuosa vida, Vincent van Gogh había cambiado el curso del arte occidental para siempre.

Trabajando con la plena colaboración del Museo Van Gogh de Ámsterdam, Steven Naifeh y Gregory White Smith, ganadores del Premio Pulitzer por su biografía de Jackson Pollock, han tenido acceso a materiales inéditos, incluyendo correspondencia familiar hasta ahora desconocida, para recrear, con increíble viveza y una sorprendente precisión psicológica, la extraordinaria vida del pintor.

Los autores arrojan nueva luz sobre muchos de los aspectos inexplorados de la existencia de Van Gogh: su permanente lucha para encontrar su lugar en el mundo, su intensa relación con su hermano Theo, su errática y tumultuosa vida sentimental y sus ataques de depresión y problemas mentales. Ofrecen además un convincente e inesperado relato sobre las circunstancias de su muerte que da un vuelco a las teorías manejadas hasta ahora.

Esta monumental biografía es, sin duda, el retrato definitivo de uno de los grandes genios de la historia del arte.

La crítica ha dicho...
«Para esta generación, el retrato definitivo del pintor. El logro más importante de Naifeh y Smith es haber logrado un ajuste de cuentas con la -locura- ocasional de Van Gogh que no pierde de vista la lucidez y la inteligencia -la profunda cordura- de su arte.»
Time

«Una biografía que se lee como una novela, llena de suspense y detalles íntimos.»
The Washington Post

«En su magistral nueva biografía Steven Naifeh y Gregory White Smith ofrecen una visita guiada por el mundo personal y la obra de este pintor holandés, iluminando la evolución de su arte a la vez que elaboran una teoría sobre su muerte destinada a crear controversia.»
The New York Times

«Cautivador... Los autores reconstruyen vívidamente las historias entrelazadas de su vida y su arte, retratándolo como una "víctima de su propio corazón fanático". Su excelente libro tiene el potencial no sólo de revitalizar el interés popular por Van Gogh, sino de presentar a uno de los espíritus más valiosos de la historia del arte a toda una nueva generación.»
The Wall Street Journal

«Una nueva teoría sobre la muerte de Vincent van Gogh puede acabar reescribiendo la historia del arte... Después de leer cientos de documentos, de libros traducidos para ellos por el museo Van Gogh y de recorrer la correspondencia del artista, la obra dibuja a un hombre más complejo de lo mostrado hasta la fecha.»
El País

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