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📒The Vanishing Vel Zquez ✍ Laura Cumming
📝The Vanishing Vel zquez Book Synopsis : From one of the world's most expert art critics, the incredible true story--part art history and part mystery--of a Velázquez portrait that went missing and the obsessed nineteenth-century bookseller determined to prove he had found it. When John Snare, a nineteenth-century provincial bookseller, traveled to a liquidation auction, he stumbled on a vivid portrait of King Charles I that defied any explanation. The Charles of the painting was young--too young to be king--and yet also too young to be painted by the Flemish painter to which the work was attributed. Snare had found something incredible--but what? His research brought him to Diego Velázquez, whose long-lost portrait of Prince Charles has eluded art experts for generations. Velázquez (1599-1660) was the official painter of the Madrid court, during the time the Spanish Empire teetered on the edge of collapse. When Prince Charles of England--a man wealthy enough to help turn Spain's fortunes--ventured to the court to propose a marriage with a Spanish princess, he allowed just a few hours to sit for his portrait. Snare believed only Velázquez could have met this challenge. But in making his theory public, Snare was ostracized, victim to aristocrats and critics who accused him of fraud, and forced to choose, like Velázquez himself, between art and family. A thrilling investigation into the complex meaning of authenticity and the unshakable determination that drives both artists and collectors of their work, The Vanishing Velázquez travels from extravagant Spanish courts in the 1700s to the gritty courtrooms and auction houses of nineteenth-century London and New York. But it is above all a tale of mystery and detection, of tragic mishaps and mistaken identities, of class, politics, snobbery, crime, and almost farcical accident. It is a magnificently crafted page-turner, a testimony to how and why great works of art can affect us to the point of obsession.
📒The Vanishing Man ✍ Laura Cumming
📝The Vanishing Man Book Synopsis : *BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week* "The Vanishing Man is a riveting detective story and a brilliant reconstruction of an art controversy, but it is also a homage to the art of VelÃ¡zquez, written by a critic who remains spellbound by his genius, as readers will be spellbound by this book" - Colm TÃ³ibÃn In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost VelÃ¡zquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history. When Laura Cumming stumbled on a startling trial involving John Snare, it sent her on a search of her own. At first she was pursuing the picture, and the life and work of the elusive painter, but then she found herself following the booksellerâe(tm)s fortunes too âe" from London to Edinburgh to nineteenth-century New York, from fame to ruin and exile. An innovative fusion of detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. And on the trail of John Snare, Cumming makes a surprising discovery of her own. But most movingly, The Vanishing Man is an eloquent and passionate homage to the Spanish master VelÃ¡zquez, bringing us closer to the creation and appreciation of his works than ever before.
📒Velzquez ✍ José López-Rey
📝Velzquez Book Synopsis : Life is but a dream: The complete works of the visionary painter Manet called him “the greatest painter of all.” Picasso was so inspired by hismasterpiece Las Meninas that he painted 44 variations of it. Monet, Renoir, and Degas were heavily influenced by the paintings of Philip IV's grand chamberlain. Francis Bacon famously painted a study of his portrait of Pope Innocent X. Indeed, Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599–1660) was more than the most important painter of the Spanish Golden Age—he was considered a precursor to the Impressionists over two centuries before that movement came into being. This catalog raisonné brings together Velázquez's complete works—jaw-droppingly reproduced in extra-large format with a selection of delicious enlarged details—with insightful commentary on how his paintings give equal attention to all that they contain. To him, an old woman frying eggs or a buffoon was as important as a Pope or a King. For him, form was subservient to light and color; the brushstrokes were markers to help the viewers reconstruct each picture mentally—concepts adopted vehemently by the Impressionists. Velázquez's greatest talent was creating beauty from the grotesque, imbuing each subject with a human liveliness rarely seen on canvas. In its extensive detail and comparisons, José López-Rey's book reveals the development of this vision. Things are or are not, they exist or vanish, in the same way that Calderón felt that life was like a dream. In the work of Velázquez, the language is everything. Thanks to the joint initiative of TASCHEN and Wildenstein, this exceptional publication features new photography of recently restored paintings, published here for the first time.
📒The Vanishing Man ✍ Laura Cumming
📝The Vanishing Man Book Synopsis : In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velázquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history - a quest that led from fame to ruin and exile. Fusing detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. And on the trail of John Snare, Cumming makes a surprising discovery of her own. But most movingly, The Vanishing Man is an eloquent and passionate homage to the Spanish master Velázquez, bringing us closer to the creation and appreciation of his works than ever before.
📒In The Shadow Of Vel Zquez ✍ Jonathan Brown
📝In the Shadow of Vel zquez Book Synopsis : In this lucid, witty book, the eminent art historian Jonathan Brown examines links between his personal life and his study of Hispanic art of the Golden Age. His adventures are offered as a model for understanding how art history is shaped by life experiences, and he describes the influence of his parents, Jean and Leonard Brown, noted collectors of documentation of 20th-century avant-garde movements.His turn to research on the Golden Age of Spanish art was motivated by a year in Madrid, 1958-59. Art history in Spain was modeled on the policies of the Franco regime, and Brown sought to find different ways to interpret Spanish painting. His approach is demonstrated by fresh insight into painters, including Velázquez. A new interpretation of Las Meninas is proposed and the perils of attribution are examined. Later in his career, Brown began to study the transformation of Spanish art in the Americas. The book originated as a series of six lectures delivered at the Museo Nacional del Prado in 2012.
📒Vel Zquez ✍ José Miguel Morán Turina
📝Vel zquez Book Synopsis : This book presents a complete survey of one of the key moments in the history of the Spanish court portrait, a period spanning the years 1650 to 1680. In 1650 Velázquez was in Rome, where he depicted members of the papal court with a new freedom of approach, while the following year saw his keenly awaited return to Spain, where he returned to the conventions of the court portrait. From that point onwards and until his death in 1660, Velázquez devoted most of his efforts to satisfying a growing demand for portraits of the Spanish royal family. These images were used for both family and diplomatic purposes, given that Philip IVs children with his last wife, Mariana of Austria, were essential elements in the strategic creation of political alliances across Europe. These last ten years of Velázquezs career constitute a period with a marked and distinctive personality. His sitters were now primarily women and children rather than men, a difference that was accompanied by changes in the density of the pigment, the pictorial handwriting and the colour range, which became wider and richer. In terms of artistic achievement and social advancement, this decade marks the peak of Velázquezs career, with Las Meninas as his great masterpiece.
📒The King S Body ✍ Sergio Bertelli
📝The King s Body Book Synopsis : The King's Body offers a unique and up-to-date overview of a central theme in European history: the nature and meaning of the sacred rituals of kingship. Informed by the work of recent cultural anthropologists, Sergio Bertelli explores the cult of kingship, which pervaded the lives of hundreds of thousands of subjects, poor and rich, noble and cleric. His analysis takes in a wide spectrum, from the Vandal kings of Spain and the long-haired kings of France, to the beheaded kings of England and France, Charles I and Louis XVI. Bertelli explores the multiple meanings of the rites related to the king's body, from his birth (with the exhibition of his masculinity) to the crowning (a rebirth) to his death (a triumph and an apotheosis). We see how particular occasions such as entrances, processions, and banquets make sense only as they related directly to the king's body. Bertelli also singles out crowd-participatory aspects of sacred kingship, including the rites of violence connected with the interregnum (perceived as a suspension of the law) and the rites of expulsion for a tyrant's body, emphasizing the inversion of crowning rituals. First published in Italy in 1990, The King's Body has been revised and updated for English-speaking readers and expertly translated from the Italian by R. Burr Litchfield. Deftly argued and amply illustrated, this book is a perfect introduction to the cult of kingship in the West; at the same time, it illuminates for modern readers how strangely different the medieval and early modern world was from our own.
📒A Face To The World ✍ Laura Cumming
📝A Face to the World Book Synopsis : Focusing on the extraordinary art of self-portraiture, this book examines the lives of artists through their self-portraits. Drawing on art, biography, literature, history and philosophy, it considers the intimate truths and elaborate fictions of self-portraiture.Her intelligence and humanity are used less to impress us with theories than persuade us ... how great her subjects are. I closed this delightful book book inspired by genuine insights into how some mostly long gone but very brilliant talents 'chose to present themselves'... -- Serena Davies, Telegraph Saturday July 25, 2009
📒The Myth Of Nations ✍ Patrick J. Geary
📝The Myth of Nations Book Synopsis : Dismantling nationalist myths about how the nations of Europe were born, this text contrasts them with the actual history of Europe's transformation between the fourth and ninth centuries - the period of grand migrations that nationalists hold dear.
📒Cardano S Cosmos ✍ Anthony Grafton
📝Cardano s Cosmos Book Synopsis : Girolamo Cardano was an Italian doctor, natural philosopher, and mathematician who became a best-selling author in Renaissance Europe. He was also a leading astrologer of his day, whose predictions won him access to some of the most powerful people in sixteenth-century Europe. In Cardano's Cosmos, Anthony Grafton invites readers to follow this astrologer's extraordinary career and explore the art and discipline of astrology in the hands of a brilliant practitioner. Renaissance astrologers predicted everything from the course of the future of humankind to the risks of a single investment, or even the weather. They analyzed the bodies and characters of countless clients, from rulers to criminals, and enjoyed widespread respect and patronage. This book traces Cardano's contentious career from his first astrological pamphlet through his rise to high-level consulting and his remarkable autobiographical works. Delving into astrological principles and practices, Grafton shows how Cardano and his contemporaries adapted the ancient art for publication and marketing in a new era of print media and changing science. He maps the context of market and human forces that shaped Cardano's practices--and the maneuvering that kept him at the top of a world rife with patronage, politics, and vengeful rivals. Cardano's astrology, argues Grafton, was a profoundly empirical and highly influential art, one that was integral to the attempts of sixteenth-century scholars to understand their universe and themselves.
📒The Walls Came Tumbling Down ✍ Gale Stokes
📝The Walls Came Tumbling Down Book Synopsis : Gale Stokes' The Walls Came Tumbling Down has been one of the standard interpretations of the East European revolutions of 1989 for many years. It offers a sweeping yet vivid narrative of the two decades of developments that led from the Prague Spring of 1968 to the collapse of communism in 1989. Highlights of that narrative include, among other things, discussions of Solidarity and civil society in Poland, Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the bizarre regime of Romania's Nikolae Ceausescu and his violent downfall. In this second edition, now appropriately subtitled Collapse and Rebirth in Eastern Europe, Stokes not only has revised these portions of the book in the light of recent scholarship, but has added three new chapters covering the post-communist period, including analyses of the unification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union, narratives of the admission of many of the countries of the region to the European Union, and discussion of the unfortunate outcomes of the Wars of Yugoslav Succession in the Western Balkans.
📒The Art Of Rivalry ✍ Sebastian Smee
📝The Art of Rivalry Book Synopsis : This is a story about rivalry among artists. Not the kind of rivalry that grows out of hatred and dislike, but rather, rivalry that emerges from admiration, friendship, love. The kind of rivalry that existed between Degas and Manet, Picasso and Matisse, Pollock and de Kooning, and Freud and Bacon. These were some of the most famous and creative relationships in the history of art, driving each individual to heights of creativity and inspiration - and provoking them to despair, jealousy and betrayal. Matisse's success threatened Picasso so much that his friends would throw darts at a portrait of his rival's beloved daughter Marguerite, shouting 'there's one in the eye for Matisse!' And Willem de Kooning's twisted friendship with Jackson Pollock didn't stop him taking up with his friend's lover barely a year after Pollock's fatal car crash. In The Art of Rivalry, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic Sebastian Smee explores how, as both artists struggled to come into their own, they each played vital roles in provoking the other's creative breakthroughs - ultimately determining the course of modern art itself.
📒Artificial Hells ✍ Claire Bishop
📝Artificial Hells Book Synopsis : Since the 1990s, critics and curators have broadly accepted the notion that participatory art is the ultimate political art: that by encouraging an audience to take part an artist can promote new emancipatory social relations. Around the world, the champions of this form of expression are numerous, ranging from art historians such as Grant Kester, curators such as Nicolas Bourriaud and Nato Thompson, to performance theorists such as Shannon Jackson. Artificial Hells is the first historical and theoretical overview of socially engaged participatory art, known in the US as “social practice.” Claire Bishop follows the trajectory of twentieth-century art and examines key moments in the development of a participatory aesthetic. This itinerary takes in Futurism and Dada; the Situationist International; Happenings in Eastern Europe, Argentina and Paris; the 1970s Community Arts Movement; and the Artists Placement Group. It concludes with a discussion of long-term educational projects by contemporary artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Tania Bruguera, Pawe? Althamer and Paul Chan. Since her controversial essay in Artforum in 2006, Claire Bishop has been one of the few to challenge the political and aesthetic ambitions of participatory art. In Artificial Hells, she not only scrutinizes the emancipatory claims made for these projects, but also provides an alternative to the ethical (rather than artistic) criteria invited by such artworks. Artificial Hells calls for a less prescriptive approach to art and politics, and for more compelling, troubling and bolder forms of participatory art and criticism.
📒Four Princes ✍ John Julius Norwich
📝Four Princes Book Synopsis : John Julius Norwich—“the very model of a popular historian” (Wall Street Journal)—is acclaimed for his distinctive ability to weave together a fascinating narrative through vivid detail, colorful anecdotes, and captivating characters. Here, he has crafted a bold tapestry of Europe and the Middle East in the early sixteenth century, when four legendary rulers towered over the era. Francis I of France was the personification of the Renaissance, and a highly influential patron of the arts and education. Henry VIII, who was not expected to inherit the throne but embraced the role with gusto, broke with the Roman Catholic Church and appointed himself head of the Church of England. Charles V was the most powerful industrious man of the time, and was unanimously elected Holy Roman Emperor. Suleiman the Magnificent—who stood apart as a Muslim—brought the Ottoman Empire to its apogee of political, military, and economic power. Against the vibrant background of the Renaissance, these four men collectively shaped the culture, religion, and politics of their respective domains. With remarkable erudition, John Julius Norwich delves into this entertaining and layered history, indelibly depicting four dynamic characters and how their incredible achievements—and obsessions with one another—changed European history.
📒Vel Zquez ✍ Dawson William Carr
📝Vel zquez Book Synopsis : Renowned for his physical and psychological naturalism, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez (15991660) is considered one of the greatest painters to have ever lived. Official court painter to King Philip IV (16051665), he created astounding effects of illusion in his minimalist and elegantly composed workswhich range from genre and history scenes to portraits. His paintings had an enormous impact on 19th- and early-20th-century artists such as Degas, Renoir, and Picasso, and Manet famously first described him as "the painter's painter." With over 150 illustrations and an in-depth chronology, this beautifully produced and comprehensive book surveys Velazquez's entire career and explores his universal popularity. Fascinating essays by world-class Velazquez scholars address the artist's life and technique, examining his studies in Seville and Italy to his final great works at the court of Philip IV. They also place his works in the context of 17th-century European painting and discuss how and why his works have resonated so strongly with the generations of Post-Impressionist and modernist artists.
📒Michelangelo ✍ Marcia B. Hall
📝Michelangelo Book Synopsis : Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes, considered one of the great masterpieces of Western art, are explored in this comprehensive survey of the recently restored masterwork.
📒Possession ✍ Erin Thompson
📝Possession Book Synopsis : Whether it's the discovery of $1.6 billion in Nazi-looted art or the news that Syrian rebels are looting UNESCO archaeological sites to buy arms, art crime commands headlines. Erin Thompson, America's only professor of art crime, explores the dark history of looting, smuggling, and forgery that lies at the heart of many private art collections and many of the world's most renowned museums. Enlivened by fascinating personalities and scandalous events, Possession shows how collecting antiquities has been a way of creating identity, informed by a desire to annex the past while providing an illicit thrill along the way. Thompson's accounts of history's most infamous collectors—from the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who stole a life-sized nude Greek statue for his bedroom, to Queen Christina of Sweden, who habitually pilfered small antiquities from her fellow aristocrats, to Sir William Hamilton, who forced his mistress to enact poses from his collection of Greek vases—are as mesmerizing as they are revealing.
📒Color And Meaning ✍ Marcia B. Hall
📝Color and Meaning Book Synopsis : Recent restoration campaigns, particularly to the Sistine Chapel, have focused attention on the importance of colour in our experience of paintings, but until recently it has been neglected by art historians. The author believes that the work of art can only be fully appreciated when it is regarded as the product of both the artist's hand and mind. This study utilizes the traditional sources, such as contemporary theoretical writings and iconographical analysis, but in addition draws on the scientific findings of the conservation laboratories. This is a new body of data assembled in large part since World War II, which art historians are only beginning to exploit to fill out the history of technique. Rather than writing merely a history of technique, however, the author has integrated this material with traditional approaches to cultural history. She undertakes to examine twenty major paintings of the period from Giotto to Tintoretto to elucidate how colour and technique contribute to their meaning. She gives us then, the first modern consideration of Renaissance paintings both as physical objects and as monuments of cultural history.
📒The Dig ✍ John Preston
📝The Dig Book Synopsis : In the long hot summer of 1939 Britain is preparing for war. But on a riverside farm in Suffolk there is excitement of another kind: Mrs Petty, the widowed farmer, has had her hunch proved correct that the strange mounds on her land hold buried treasure. As the dig proceeds against a background of mounting national anxiety, it becomes clear though that this is no ordinary find ... And pretty soon the discovery leads to all kinds of jealousies and tensions. John Preston's recreation of the Sutton Hoo dig - the greatest Anglo-Saxon discovery ever in Britain - brilliantly and comically dramatizes three months of intense activity when locals fought outsiders, professionals thwarted amateurs, and love and rivaly flourished in equal measure
📒The Totally Unscientific Study Of The Search For Human Happiness ✍ Paula Poundstone
📝The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness Book Synopsis : “A remarkable journey. I laughed. I cried. I got another cat.” —Lily Tomlin “Paula Poundstone is the funniest human being I have ever known.” —Peter Sagal, host of Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! and author of The Book of Vice “Is there a secret to happiness?” asks comedian Paula Poundstone. "I don’t know how or why anyone would keep it a secret. It seems rather cruel, really . . . Where could it be? Is it deceptively simple? Does it melt at a certain temperature? Can you buy it? Must you suffer for it before or after?” In her wildly and wisely observed book, the comedy legend takes on that most inalienable of rights—the pursuit of happiness. Offering herself up as a human guinea pig in a series of thoroughly unscientific experiments, Poundstone tries out a different get-happy hypothesis in each chapter of her data-driven search. She gets in shape with taekwondo. She drives fast behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. She communes with nature while camping with her daughter, and commits to getting her house organized (twice!). Swing dancing? Meditation? Volunteering? Does any of it bring her happiness? You may be laughing too hard to care. The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness is both a story of jumping into new experiences with both feet and a surprisingly poignant tale of a single working mother of three children (not to mention dozens of cats, a dog, a bearded dragon lizard, a lop-eared bunny, and one ant left from her ant farm) who is just trying to keep smiling while living a busy life. The queen of the skepticism-fueled rant, Paula Poundstone stands alone in her talent for bursting bubbles and slaying sacred cows. Like George Carlin, Steve Martin, and David Sedaris, she is a master of her craft, and her comedic brilliance is served up in abundance in this book. As author and humorist Roy Blount Jr. notes, “Paula Poundstone deserves to be happy. Nobody deserves to be this funny.”
📒The Lost Book Of Moses ✍ Chanan Tigay
📝The Lost Book of Moses Book Synopsis : One man’s quest to find the oldest Bible scrolls in the world and uncover the story of the brilliant, doomed antiquarian accused of forging them. In the summer of 1883, Moses Wilhelm Shapira—archaeological treasure hunter and inveterate social climber—showed up unannounced in London claiming to have discovered the oldest copy of the Bible in the world. But before the museum could pony up his £1 million asking price for the scrolls—which discovery called into question the divine authorship of the scriptures—Shapira’s nemesis, the French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau, denounced the manuscripts, turning the public against him. Distraught over this humiliating public rebuke, Shapira fled to the Netherlands and committed suicide. Then, in 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Noting the similarities between these and Shapira’s scrolls, scholars made efforts to re-examine Shapira’s case, but it was too late: the primary piece of evidence, the parchment scrolls themselves had mysteriously vanished. Tigay, journalist and son of a renowned Biblical scholar, was galvanized by this peculiar story and this indecipherable man, and became determined to find the scrolls. He sets out on a quest that takes him to Australia, England, Holland, Germany where he meets Shapira’s still aggrieved descendants and Jerusalem where Shapira is still referred to in the present tense as a “Naughty boy”. He wades into museum storerooms, musty English attics, and even the Jordanian gorge where the scrolls were said to have been found all in a tireless effort to uncover the truth about the scrolls and about Shapira, himself. At once historical drama and modern-day mystery, The Lost Book of Moses explores the nineteenth-century disappearance of Shapira’s scrolls and Tigay's globetrotting hunt for the ancient manuscript. As it follows Tigay’s trail to the truth, the book brings to light a flamboyant, romantic, devious, and ultimately tragic personality in a story that vibrates with the suspense of a classic detective tale.