Art and Design

Egyptian Wall Painting

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A fascinating study of ancient Egyptian wall art, featuring full-page illustrations on matte paper specially designed to re-create the texture of the paintings themselves.

Ancient Egyptian civilization developed its own highly individual manner of expressing visible and invisible worlds—earth and the domain of the gods—through distinctive “languages.” These languages included both two-dimensional portrayals (paintings and painted reliefs) and three-dimensional figures—forms that each must be skillfully deciphered in order to grasp its overt and covert meanings.

Egyptian Wall Painting focuses on two-dimensional depictions in ancient Egypt, examining them as part of an elaborate code that was designed to maintain the Maat—or Cosmic Order, Truth-Justice, and Universal Harmony—and that figured intimately in Egyptian lives and beliefs. The text conducts this examination through two different lenses: that of Western rational analysis, with its emphasis on methods and techniques, and that of ancient Egyptian spirituality, which these complex works have handed down to our own time.

Accordingly, the first section of the book analyzes the technology, techniques, history, and cultural context of Egyptian art, while the second compares selected monumental works across different periods and places, detailing their artistic and spiritual significance. Handsomely illustrated with 350 color plates, including numerous full-page details printed on a special matte paper designed to simulate the feel of the stuccoed limestone on which the original images were painted, Egyptian Wall Painting illuminates an art, language, and culture of extraordinary richness.

The volume is also available in a slipcased version for those seeking an especially luxurious presentation for home or library. As the definitive treatment of its subject, Egyptian Wall Painting is sure to appeal to art historians, Egyptologists, linguists, and connoisseurs interested in one of history’s most complex and influential civilizations.

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The Loggia of Raphael

A Vatican Art Treasure

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The first book about one of the last—and greatest—achievements of the legendary painter and his atelier.

The loggia, or colonnaded porch, on the second story of the Apostolic Palace is one of the Vatican’s most remarkable art treasures; its decoration, designed by Raphael (1483–1520) and executed by his workshop in 1517–19, epitomizes the spirit of the Italian Renaissance in its synthesis of Christian and classical themes. The thirteen square vaults of Raphael’s loggia each contain four frescoes of scenes from the Bible, from the Creation to the Last Supper. Meanwhile, the plasterwork of the other architectural elements is decorated with “grotesques”—fanciful arabesques enlivened with a wide variety of human and animal figures—modeled after ancient Roman wall paintings.

This groundbreaking study of Raphael’s loggia, the first to be published in English, has four parts. The first and second concern the grotesques and the scenes from the Bible, respectively, while the third examines the lives and artistic styles of the members of Raphael’s workshop who worked with him on the loggia. The fourth part traces the loggia’s enduring influence: the grotesque ornamental style elaborated by Raphael has been imitated as far afield as the corridors of the United States Capitol, and the Bible scenes served as influential models for popular prints. Illustrated throughout with newly commissioned color photographs, this book reaffirms the central importance of Raphael’s loggia to the history of art.

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The History of Gardens in Painting

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An original, splendidly illustrated history of gardens as seen through the eyes of painters by the highly acclaimed author of Landscape Painting: A History.

-- A Booklist Top 10 Arts Book of 2009

The creation of gardens was among the first achievements of early civilizations, and garden design was already highly developed in antiquity. Pictures of gardens are a reflection of the social, historical, and aesthetic context in which gardens were conceived. The focus of this captivating book is not the gardens themselves or the different concepts of the garden, but rather the representation of gardens in paintings. The author examines why artists paint gardens by covering the varied and lively 2,000-year history of the garden picture using 180 garden masterpieces as examples.

The text begins with a look at ancient Rome, when paintings of gardens, as found in villas in Pompeii, were already valued as works of art. The wide-ranging coverage also includes pictures of charming medieval gardens in books of hours; Botticelli’s masterwork La Primavera, set in a grove of orange trees; views of well-known historic gardens, such as those at Versailles; painter’s gardens, as for example, Monet’s Giverny; and modern gardens depicted by Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney, among others. For collectors of art history books and garden books, this lovely volume should appeal to a broad audience.

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Giuseppe Panza

Memories of a Collector

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One of the world’s foremost collectors of modern art shares the story of his remarkable life, times, and culture.

A dedicated collector and advocate of contemporary art since the late 1940s, Giuseppe Panza has played a fundamental role in the artistic culture of his time, introducing American phenomena such as Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop Art, Environmental Art, and Conceptualism to the museums of Europe. Now, in a brilliant response to everyone’s primary question about Modern Art—“What does it mean?”—Panza shares philosophical insights and personal reflections that bridge a half-century of discovering new artists and movements.

Panza was among the first to buy the works of Rothko, Kline, Lichtenstein, and many of the other major figures of post-WWII art, watching as their works skyrocketed in monetary value as well as historic importance. He pursued collecting with undiminished enthusiasm through the 1980s and 1990s, all the while searching for the best venues in which to display his latest acquisitions. Sections of his private collection were exhibited by and acquired into major collections, particularly the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim in New York. Among his signature innovations was the juxtaposition of contemporary art with historic settings—Baroque palaces, ancient European public buildings, his own eighteenth-century villa—in order to create unexpected and stimulating dialogs between the architectural context and the work of art.

Complete with 110 full-color illustrations, spanning decades of transformation in art and world culture, Giuseppe Panza: Memories of a Collector provides a unique glimpse into the movements and trends that have defined modern art. It is also the fascinating life story of a man who helped define the trends themselves, through passion, insight, and prophetic taste.

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Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas

Great American Suburbs

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A beautiful and comprehensive chronicle of two of America’s earliest and most luxurious suburbs: Highland Park and University Park, Texas.

Dallas local Virginia McAlester, author of Random House’s A Field Guide to American Houses, the classic book on the subject, and Abbeville’s celebrated Great American Houses and Their Architectural Styles, teamed up with Prudence Mackintosh and Willis Cecil Winters to write Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas. This impressive and informative case study immerses readers into the architecture and culture, both past and present, of these classy neighborhoods.

Illustrated with over 280 specially commissioned photographs, in addition to over 75 maps, graphs, and archival images, this insightful work covers the history and development of Dallas’s suburbs, as well as the architects who designed them. Homes also features several appendices, providing notes on how to preserve early-twentieth century homes and a catalogue listing over 1,600 homes by address and architect. McAlester authored an additional appendix that illustrates the architectural styles found in The Park Cities, which run the gamut from Tudor and Colonial Revival to Minimal Traditional and Mid-Century Modern.

As grand as the houses it chronicles, Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas will fascinate architects, historians, suburbanites, and would-be suburbanites alike.

 

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The Art Atlas

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An invaluable guide to world art from prehistory to the present, complete with over 600 maps and illustrations and a searchable CD.

The Art Atlas is the first work to present the art of the entire world from ancient to modern times through extensive use of specially commissioned maps. Covering painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as other arts and artifacts, the volume provides an entirely new vision of the history of the world’s art by showing how physical and political geography has shaped its developments.

Over 350 pages in scope, Atlas compares countries separated by thousands of miles and many centuries, demonstrating how the art of each is affected by opportunities and constraints dictated by location or culture. Here, for the first time, readers can appreciate the art of prehistoric Oceania and the Nile Valley of the Pharaohs alongside that of nineteenth-century Russia and the twentieth-century United States. In addition to showing where and when great artists lived and worked, Atlas explains how major styles developed and the ways in which art has been influenced by religion, trade, travel, war, and other historical factors. The volume also provides the first comprehensive picture of the impact of the natural world on the development of art, charting the sources of fibers for weaving, pigments for coloring, wood for carving, paper for printing, and stone for use in sculpture and architecture.

With its combination of enormous breadth and constant clarity of focus, abdundant illustrations and a user-friendly, searchable CD, Atlas provides exceptional insight into what unites art and what makes it so varied. Organized into seven chronological periods and including contributions from 68 internationally renowned art historians, The Art Atlas is an original, comprehensive and up-todate reference work that will be a benchmark for many years to come.

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Courbet

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An insightful new survey of the wide-ranging body of work of the most important French realist painter.

When Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) began his career in the late 1840s, French painting was dominated by two competing styles: neoclassicism, exemplified by Ingres, and romanticism, exemplified by Delacroix. Courbet, a dynamic and boundlessly selfconfident man, proud of his rural origins and guided by his strong Republican beliefs, quickly established a third way.

Rejecting the historical and literary subjects of the prevailing styles as too remote from actual experience, Courbet instead depicted scenes of everyday life, particularly among the peasants and the working class, with a naturalism then considered shocking. His paint handling was correspondingly direct: disdaining equally the idealized contours and cool tones of the neoclassicists and the expressive line of the romantics, he laid on his colors almost roughly, often with a palette knife instead of a brush. While Courbet’s brand of realism bears a family resemblance to those of his contemporaries Daumier and Millet, its scope is much broader: his masterworks range from the Burial at Ornans (1850), a heroically scaled depiction of a villager’s funeral, to the very different Origin of the World (1866), a detailed close-up of the female anatomy, and he also painted many straight landscapes, portraits, and still lifes.

This lucidly written monograph from noted art historian Ségolène Le Men provides a new understanding of how Courbet’s life and milieu shaped his vast oeuvre. Le Men organizes her text both chronologically and thematically: while the five chapters correspond to the successive phases of Courbet’s career, each comprises several subsections that discuss individual aspects of his work. This hybrid approach allows Le Men to present an expansive and multifaceted view of Courbet’s realism, emphasizing its evolving relations with the various ideas and artistic currents of its time. With some three hundred stunning color illustrations, including all of Courbet’s most important paintings and many fine examples of his draftsmanship, this is the definitive study of a painter whose spirited pursuit of an independent aesthetic path has led many critics to call him “the first modern artist.”

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The Great Country Houses of Hungary

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Hungary houses a superb selection of Europe's finest country homes that were built over the centuries by some of the nation's most distinguished families.

Baroque castles and rococo villas dot Hungary’s countryside and stand as testaments to the wealth and power of this region’s aristocracy. Lord Pratt reveals the histories and treasures of these structures, many of which were inaccessible to the West until this past decade. Setting his discussion of the houses and their patrons against the backdrop of Hungary’s history, Pratt illuminates the manner in which diverse political and cultural influences have molded the architecture of this country’s most illustrious homes. For instance, he recounts how the castle Sárvár evolved from a wooden, fourteenth-century fortress to a splendid piece of Renaissance architecture under the noble Nádasdy’s family guidance. In a new, final chapter, Pratt laments the demise of the great home Fót while praising the skillful restoration of Seregélyes.

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The Great Country Houses of Poland

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In this volume, Lord Pratt provides one of the first illustrated, in-depth looks at Poland's magnificent homes.

The Polish countryside holds many enchanting surprises, as estates and medieval castles are nestled in picturesque valleys and alongside lengthy rivers. Pratt tells the fascinating histories of these houses and the nobles who built and continually remodeled them. For example, the Radziwill family created a rustic paradise in the château Nieborów. Arkadia, the garden of this house, serves as a tribute to ancient Greece and testifies to the taste and genius of one of Poland’s most culturally and politically influential dynasties.

Insightful and comprehensive, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in Poland’s tangled history and beautiful architecture. Lord Michael Pratt is a scholar based in London who specializes in modern European history. His works include Britain’s Greek Empire, a study of Corfu and the Ionian Islands under Venetian and British rule. Gerhard Trumler is a professor of photography in Vienna and a professional photographer whose work has appeared in more than fifty books.

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The Great Country Houses of The Czech Republic and Slovakia

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Lord Pratt tells the story of the country houses that crown the rolling hills of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, immersing us in the vanished world of these countries' aristocracies.

A comprehensive analysis of where politics, culture, and art merge, The Great Country Houses of the Czech Republic and Slovakia is a captivating read for anyone curious about the history and architecture of these two countries. Gerhard Trumler’s striking photographs allow readers entrance, for example, to the Liechtensteins’ twin chateaux of Valtice and Lednice in the Czech Republic. The lords of these castles established one of the greatest art collections in the world and played a major role in the diplomatic and military lives of the nation; they still remain as the ruling house of the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Pratt’s new chapter speaks of the difficulties of restoration and problems concerning modern-day ownership. Though many estates were lost or damaged during the World Wars, the houses as they stand today—some restored, some languishing in disrepair—present a rich cultural heritage of two fascinating countries.

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Italian Frescoes: The Baroque Era

1600-1800

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The fifth and final volume of the only comprehensive survey in modern times of the surviving Italian frescoes from the Baroque era, 1600 to 1800, this groundbreaking work is an achievement in scholarship and publishing of the same magnitude as Abbeville's Art of Florence and Art and Spirit of Paris. 

Following the success of the previous volumes in this extraordinary Italian Frescoes series — The Age of Giotto; The Early Renaissance; The Flowering of the Renaissance; and The High Renaissance and Mannerism — this new publication features twenty-five fresco cycles, each representing a notable achievement in the history of art. The fresco cycles presented include brilliant works by Domenichino, Sebastiano Ricci, Guercino, and Tiepolo — all of them still visible on walls and ceilings of palaces and churches spanning Italy from Venice to Naples.

The authors present such celebrated sites as the Barberini Palace in Rome and the Pitti Palace in Florence, as well as lesser-known gems. Each of the chapters is concise and authoritative, offering a descriptive and interpretive essay on all aspects of the fresco cycle, covering the artists and their patrons in the context of their cultural and political history. Each essay concludes with a diagram of the site, followed by a series of full- and double-page color plates showing the entire cycle, many reproduced from new photographs of recently restored frescoes.

No publisher until now has attempted to gather together and document all the important fresco cycles of Italian art from the late thirteenth to the eighteenth century. While this volume is a continuation of the previous books, Italian Frescoes: The Baroque Era certainly stands alone as an incredible treasury of art and scholarship that will be eagerly collected by art historians and art lovers alike.

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The Sistine Chapel

A New Vision

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A gloriously illustrated new exposition of the symbolism of the renowned fresco cycle.

The frescoes of the Sistine Chapel are often viewed as a striking study in the contrast between the middle and High Renaissance styles. On the one hand, the scenes painted on the chapel’s walls by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Rosselli, and Signorelli (1481–82), which depict parallel events in the lives of Moses and Jesus (and allegorically legitimize the power of the pope), exemplify the narrative art developed in quattrocento Florence, in which multiple incidents and numerous draped figures are depicted in a single view. On the other hand, Michelangelo’s scenes from Genesis on the chapel’s ceiling (1508–12) epitomize the art of the High Renaissance, with its emphasis on compositional clarity and the human form, and his immense Last Judgment on the chapel’s altar wall (1536–41) even anticipates Mannerism, which pushed the expressive power of the nude—hypertrophied and elaborately posed—to its limit.

In this boldly original book, sure to inspire lively discussion among all students and enthusiasts of art history, noted scholar Heinrich Pfeiffer reveals that, despite their stylistic diversity, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel display an iconographic unity of hitherto-unsuspected depth. Drawing on years of research, he argues that neither the frescoes of the quattrocento masters nor even those of Michelangelo are free artistic embellishments on the prescribed themes; rather, their every detail has a specific symbolic meaning that is to be discovered only in the texts available to contemporary papal theologians. As a whole, he asserts, this symbolism constitutes a single iconographic program that underlies (without supplanting) the frescoes’ more obvious thematic and allegorical meanings, and that expresses metaphorically a number of key theological concepts, such as the Trinity and the analogy of Christ and His Church to groom and bride.

With his clearly reasoned text, Pfeiffer leads us to a new understanding of the Sistine Chapel as a collaborative creation, encompassing not only “the agony and the ecstasy” of Michelangelo and his artistic forebears but also the faith and erudition of the theologians who closely advised them. He inspires us to take a fresh look at this great monument, the entirety of which is illustrated here in stunning full- and double-page photographs that faithfully reproduce the brilliant colors revealed by the frescoes’ recent restoration. Just as significantly, he reminds us of the importance of iconography to the full appreciation of art, and of the close links that so often exist between text and image.

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Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists

Discovering the Connections

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A captivating memoir of the author’s journey through France in search of the Impressionists and their art, interwoven with personal histories of the artists and illuminated with contemporary photographs that re-create and reimagine their work.

In 2000, deeply shaken by her husband’s recent death, author and world traveler Lin Arison took a trip through France with her granddaughter Sarah. Though Arison was in mourning, and Sarah was initially skeptical about art, the two surprised themselves by discovering renewed joy in the work of the Impressionists and the settings that inspired them.

In the years that followed, Arison’s personal odyssey became an extraordinary collaboration with photographer Neil Folberg, a collaboration culminating in Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists: Discovering the Connections. In one unique volume, Arison ushers readers from Auvers to Arles, Giverny to Mont Sainte- Victoire, in her quest to rediscover the lives, dwellings, and paintings of the Impressionists. En route, she debunks long-held myths about Van Gogh and Berthe Morisot, befriends twenty-first-century descendants of some of the masters, and finds inspiration in the Impressionists’ mutually supportive relationships. Gracefully blending memoir, travelogue, art history, and biography, Arison’s intimate narrative brings new insight to our understanding of these artists and their legacy.

Interspersed with Arison’s text, and with handsome reproductions of the original masterpieces, Neil Folberg’s photographs capture the central spirit of the Impressionists’ work and reapply that spirit to contemporary subjects and settings. Following an intuitive sensibility that never misses its mark, Folberg deploys each artist’s individual vision to new and striking ends, undergoing an artistic transformation of his own in the process.

Together, Arison’s words and Folberg’s images explore the enduring impact of France’s great late nineteenth-century painters, and the ways in which their revolutionary visions of their own world still impart great meaning and beauty to ours.

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Andrea Palladio

The Architect in His Time (2nd Edition)

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A comprehensive handbook exploring the career of the architect who transformed the building design and construction of the Western world.

Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) is known as the architect who has guided Western design philosophy for half a millennium, creating forms that have been studied and reproduced from age to age and around the world. For architects and the public alike, his buildings have become enduring testaments to his architectural genius as creator of a timeless classicism. When Abbeville Press first published Andrea Palladio: The Architect in His Time in 1994, it was selected by Choice magazine as “Outstanding Academic Book 1994,” while The World of Interiors called it “undoubtedly one of the most important architectural books to be published for some time.” Now Abbeville is pleased to release the revised concise edition of this essential resource.

Featuring a newly updated bibliography, this handsome volume spans the entire career of Palladio, illuminating his work in the context of his historical era and his own extraordinary life. It invites us to view Palladio’s masterpieces through the lens of Paolo Marton, moving across the thresholds of myriad villas, churches, and public edifices to illustrate the elegant proportions, crisp lines, and integrated geometries that are the hallmarks of Palladio’s vision. From the immortal Villa Rotonda to the Venetian churches of the Redentore and San Giorgio Maggiore, from the city halls to the bridges, each masterpiece is described using plans, maps, and contemporary drawings and etchings along with brilliant photography.

Combining modern scholarship with intriguing narrative, Palladio will educate and enlighten, helping readers understand the passion, joy, and beauty of one of the world’s most fascinating ages of architecture.

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The History of Venice in Painting

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This magnificent, oversized, luxuriously illustrated volume presents the wondrous history of Venice, as revealed by its artistic legacy.

Venice is a magical city. For centuries, Venice has enchanted visitors with its magnificent architecture and romantic canals. As a lone republic amid mostly monarchical Europe, Venice equally amazed philosophers and poets, leading Wordsworth to hail this floating city of more than one hundred islands as “the oldest Child of Liberty.”

Yet it is the imprint Venice left in the realm of painting, not only as a subject that inspired visiting artists from Europe and beyond, but more importantly as the seat of a new school of painting, for which Venice should best be remembered. The Venetian School of painting was developed during the Renaissance, featuring such celebrated painters as Bellini, Mantegna, Giorgione, and Titian. Emphasizing Venice’s pervasive sunlight and glowing color in their works, these painters influenced centuries of painters to come. The authors of The History of Venice in Painting explain how the Venetian School, in addition to other attractions like Carnival, attracted legions of tourists to Venice, making it an obligatory stop on the “Grand Tour” that should complete any eighteenth-century gentleman’s cultural education. Visitors also came to Venice to paint the city’s famous light for themselves, most notably J.M.W. Turner and Claude Monet. Sun-soaked Venice, with light reflecting off the waters of its many canals, was indeed an Impressionist’s dream.

This vibrantly illustrated text traces the history of the Republic of Venice through its artistic heritage, from medieval mosaics to twentieth-century Futurist paintings. Including 350 full-color images, as well as 4 breathtaking gatefolds, The History of Venice in Painting is a treasure-trove of art, history, and culture. Here such panoramas as religious processions and gondolas criss-crossing the Grand Canal are displayed in a size befitting the subject’s grandeur. Protected in a silkbound slipcase, this gorgeous tribute captures the history and indelible legacy of Venice.

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New Bar and Club Design

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A sophisticated, contemporary survey of fifty of the world’s newest and most stylish bars and clubs.

The sequel to the highly successful and critically praised book, Bar and Club Design, New Bar and Club Design is an elegant photographic journey through the latest international design trends in the bar and club industries, highlighting bars and clubs completed since 2001.

There has been a resurgence of cocktail culture and an explosion of the “style bar,” places that are professionally designed and serve high quality spirits, wine, and cocktails. Such bars have continued to open in cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo, but also in Beirut and Bangkok. Another strong trend in bar and club design, documented here, is a interest in creating lower budget designer bars that are as visually interesting and unusually designed as the big budget productions, such as Andy Wahloo in Paris and Loungelover in London. Likewise, club culture continues to thrive, albeit on a far smaller scale than the superclubs of the 1990s. Nightclubs have grown cozier, late night lounge bars have emerged to cater to the “grown-up clubber,” offering comfort and luxury rather than an empty shell in which to dance. The futuristic “superclubs” still being built now offer the very latest in technology and audiovisual entertainment.

This book explores the design zeitgeist of drinking and dancing culture worldwide. Divided by category into bars, restaurant bars, hotel bars, and clubs, each profile includes imaginative photographs, thoughtful descriptions, and architectural plans of the design. The innovative, sleek photographs allow the reader to enter into the ambience of each bar and experience its atmosphere. Sure to be an excellent guide for bar and club owners, architects and designers, as well as a sourcebook for new design inspirations, New Bar and Club Design will be appealing to travelers, night-lifers and design-lovers of every description.

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The Art and Architecture of Mesopotamia

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A richly illustrated survey of the artistic achievements of Mesopotamian culture from the Sumerians to the caliphs.

The artistic traditions of ancient Iraq, or Mesopotamia, are among the oldest in the world, for it was in this flat, fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that the world’s first advanced civilization, that of the Sumerians, arose around 3000 BC. But the long history of Mesopotamian art was marked by change as much as continuity; the region was then as now a center of political conflict, and the Sumerians gave way to a succession of powers both indigenous and foreign, each of which left a cultural imprint.

This volume’s contributing authors, all art historians and archaeologists specializing in the ancient Near East, provide accessible and lively overviews of the successive phases of this eventful artistic saga. The first two chapters cover the “classic” age of the great Mesopotamian city-states, from the pre-Sumerian Ubaid culture to Alexander’s conquest of Babylon; the remains of this era range from the fabulous treasures of the royal cemeteries at Ur to the mighty ziggurats of Uruk and Babylon. The third chapter concerns the Greco-Mesopotamian art of the Hellenistic dynasty founded by Alexander’s general Seleucus; the ruins of Seleucia, his capital on the Tigris, cover some 1500 acres. The fourth chapter investigates the artistic contributions of the two Persian dynasties, the Parthian and the Sassanid, that dominated the region from the first century BC to the seventh century AD and established the soaring iwan, or vaulted portico, as one of its typical architectural forms. The final chapter is devoted to the area’s early Islamic period, during which the Abbasid caliphs (eighth to thirteenth century AD) made Iraq the center of the Islamic world, constructing splendid mosques in their capitals of Baghdad and Samarra and elaborating the fantastic arabesques that have never disappeared from Islamic decorative art.

The ancient masterpieces discussed in these chapters are depicted in 217 stunning illustrations, most of them full-color photographs, and appended to the main text is a unique visual guide to Iraq’s principal archaeological sites, which provides a further 247 black-and-white photographs. With its authoritative, up-to-date texts and this wealth of illustrations, The Art and Architecture of Mesopotamia is an essential publication for anyone with an interest in the cultural heritage of mankind.

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The Art and Architecture of Persia

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This vibrantly illustrated text offers detailed historical and cultural insight into the art and architecture of one of the oldest regions of the world.

The history of the area now known as Iran, but often still referred to as Persia, spans millennia, boasting a rich and complex artistic and cultural legacy. Populated since prehistoric times, thus making it one of the most dynamic areas of Islamic civilization, this region was home to the world’s first powerful empire (lead by Cyrus the Great during the Achaemenid dynasty) and has influenced the aesthetic grammar of a large portion of central Asia, including Armenia, Georgia, and India.

From the ancient Iranian civilizations in 500 BC, through the Islamic period, and on to modern-day Iran, Iran: The Art and Architecture of Persia explores the common characteristics and thematic threads running through Persian art. Iran presents its readers with archaeological landscapes, monuments, sculptures, carpets, and dazzling ornaments and art objects from this stunning artistic milieu. The text takes as it subject the most fascinating and unusual facets of the Persian artistic experience, with a particular focus on post-Hellenic culture, namely late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Iran investigates how the examined regions were hothouses of specific artistic developments and identifies how the Iranian passage along the Silk Route acted as a bridge between distant lands for trade as well as the dissemination of religious and material culture.

The two authors, Gianroberto Scarcia and Giovanni Curatola, write in an engaging, refreshingly accessible manner, catering both to specialists and to novices wishing to immerse themselves in this captivating region and its art. Author Scarcia writes the first part of the book, covering the era from the Achaemenids to the Sassanids and examining the great architecture from Persepolis onward while also addressing the powerful metalwork produced by these cultures. The second part, by Curatola, explores the Islamic period, when architectural decoration moved into the forefront with brilliant chromatic effects etched onto massive built works. The same colors bloom throughout the other arts, including carpets and miniature paintings. Dynamic and absorbing, Iran and its over 200 color photos will take readers on a virtual tour of this region and the art it has produced over the centuries.

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