Art and Design: Art History

Pieter Bruegel

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This fascinating full-length study examines all works by the great Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel within the wider setting of art during his lifetime.

The recent rediscovery in Spain of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s lost painting, The Wine of Saint Martin’s Day, has created even more interest in this much-loved artist, who was one of the Netherlands’ two great masters of satire and fantasy, along with Hieronymus Bosch. Although these two artists never met each other—Bruegel was born around 1525, a decade after Bosch’s death—numerous features link them; indeed, Bruegel painted several demon-infested hellscapes directly inspired by the older master, and he was known in Antwerp as a “second Bosch.” But Bruegel is most famous for his peasant scenes, often humorous and packed with anecdote, and for his landscapes, which poignantly evoke Nature’s changing seasons. His legacy to Netherlandish art was the enduring popularity of both these genres, as well as the artistic dynasty he founded, beginning with his painter sons Pieter the Younger and Jan Brueghel.

Critics have often remarked how Bruegel’s art, so keenly observed and richly detailed, seems to preserve a world in miniature. In this new monograph, Larry Silver, an eminent historian of Northern Renaissance art, serves as our guide to that world. He leads us expertly through Bruegel’s complex and fascinating iconography, allowing us to see his paintings and drawings from the same perspective as his sixteenth-century countrymen. Silver situates Bruegel within the visual culture of his time—exploring, for example, his relationship with the print publisher Hieronymus Cock—and within the broader context of Netherlandish history. All of Bruegel’s surviving paintings are reproduced here, with many full-page details, as well as all of his prints and representative works by his contemporaries and followers.

This volume on Bruegel complements Silver’s widely praised monograph on Hieronymus Bosch, which was published by Abbeville Press in 2006. These two books are the most authoritative and best-illustrated studies of their respective subjects, and together they present us with a panorama of Netherlandish art’s emergence into the distinctive form of the Northern Renaissance.

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Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Painting

A beautifully designed album of the finest paintings from collections across China.

This oversized volume presents 105 important paintings in chronological order, from the Eastern Jin dynasty (AD 317–420) to the end of the nineteenth century. These masterworks range from brightly colored and crisply delineated Buddhist frescoes to the muted yet evocative ink-wash landscapes of the literati painters. Each spread is devoted to a single painting: on the verso the work is reproduced in full, with a narrative caption that describes its style, iconography, and historical context; and on the recto there appears a gorgeously printed full-page detail that allows the reader to appreciate the true qualities of the work. A general historical introduction skillfully traces the development of the three major genres of Chinese painting—figurative, landscape, and bird-and-flower—through each successive dynasty.

The reader’s enjoyment of the artistic treasures gathered within these pages will be heightened by the refined luxury of the book’s design. Printed on a premium paper whose subtle texture recalls the feel of silk, it is crafted in the traditional Chinese manner, with folded leaves and a hand-sewn thread binding. Its soft covers are protected by an elegant wraparound case stamped in gold. A worthy monument to a great cultural tradition, Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Painting will appeal to lovers of both fine editions and fine art.

Zheng Xinmiao is director of the Palace Museum in Beijing. Zhang Hongxing is a senior curator and researcher at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Shao Jingjing is a curator at the National Museum of China. Guo Guang is general manager of CYPI Press. Zhang Bo is a historian of Ming and Qing dynasty art. Jiang Peng is an expert in scroll paintings of the Song through Qing dynasties. Li Lin, director of the Department of Art History at Luxun Academy of Fine Arts, specializes in the earlier history of Chinese painting.

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The History of Rome in Painting

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A sumptuously illustrated history of the Eternal City—the capital of Italy and world art—as captured by painters from the Antiquity through the twentieth century.

Traditionally founded by its namesake Romulus in 753 BC, Rome began modestly, as a little village of thatched huts on the Palatine Hill. By the third century BC, it controlled the entire Italian peninsula, and by the first century BC, much of the known world. Rome’s fortunes have stumbled more than once since then—indeed, there have famously been times when cows grazed on the Forum—but it has always reemerged as a leading city, thanks to its status as the seat of Christendom. Through the centuries, artists from all over Europe have been drawn to Rome, both to work in the service of the Church and to learn from the accumulated masterpieces.

This luxuriously oversized book uses Rome’s artistic riches to chronicle the eventful history of the city itself. We are shown the customs and beliefs of the ancient Romans through their own frescoes and mosaics, and their greatest deeds in the history paintings of later masters such as Poussin and David. We follow the fitful rise of Rome, which eventually blossoms forth into the supreme achievements of Michelangelo and Raphael. With eyes uplifted to frescoed vaults, we watch the great decorators of the Baroque add to the city’s store of monuments, which are then deftly—and sometimes quite imaginatively—recorded by the vedutisti of the eighteenth century. Finally, in canvases by a surprising range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists—from Sargent to de Chirico, and even de Kooning—we see Rome in its role as the capital of a unified Italy, and of the modern Western imagination.

With its more than three hundred full-color illustrations, including four spectacular gatefolds; its insightful text, written by leading art historians; and its valuable apparatus, including capsule biographies of 175 artists; The History of Rome in Painting is an important achievement in scholarship and publishing and a fitting tribute to the Eternal City. Like its predecessors The History of Venice in Painting and The History of Paris in Painting, it belongs in every art lover’s library.

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Italian Mosaics

300 - 1300

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A prequel to the extraordinary, highly praised Italian Frescoes series from Abbeville Press, this stunning volume features one thousand years of important Italian mosaics.

Ever since their emergence as a major art form in the Hellenistic era, mosaics have been prized for the glittering radiance of their colors, their permanent, almost eternal nature, and the painstaking craftsmanship required to create them. In late antique and medieval Italy, mosaics were the most important medium for monumental religious art, just as frescoes would be in the Renaissance. In fact, the mosaics that adorn the fourth to sixth-century churches, baptisteries, and mausoleums of Rome, Ravenna, Naples, and Milan are among the first examples of Christian pictorial art on a grand scale. These early works were still indebted to classical conventions, but as the Middle Ages progressed, Italian mosaics came to more clearly reflect a Christian, transcendentalist worldview. Their style usually also displayed a strong Byzantine influence; indeed, in the final flowering of the art in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, many Italian mosaics were actually executed by Byzantine craftsmen.

Italian Mosaics, 300–1300 opens with a concise history of the mosaicist’s art in the millennium under consideration, tying together the strands of style, iconography, technique, and cultural context. The central part of the book examines nineteen celebrated mosaic cycles in detail, including those of the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, the Basilica di Santa Prassede in Rome, and the Cathedral of Monreale near Palermo. Each cycle is introduced by a descriptive and interpretive essay and then illustrated in its entirety in a series of stunning full- and double-page color photographs, most of which were specially commissioned for this volume.

The first survey of its subject to be published, Italian Mosaics will stand alongside Abbeville’s Italian Frescoes series as an essential addition to the literature on art history.

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The Horse

From Cave Paintings to Modern Art

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A luxuriously slipcased tome that features 30,000 years of horses in art—from cave paintings and illuminated manuscripts to sculptures, paintings, and photographs.

From the caves at Lascaux to the European racetracks of Degas to the American West of Frederic Remington, the horse has never ceased to inspire the human imagination. Once omnipresent—on the battlefield, in agricultural work, and in transport—horses have little by little disappeared from our immediate environment, but they remain fixtures throughout our museums, atop pedestals in our town squares, and in the landscapes of memory.

Transcending genres, places, and eras, specialists on the history of the horse and its representation in art create an ideal panorama on the subject, guiding us through the rich legacy of The Horse: From Cave Paintings to Modern Art. With these scholars we cross the principal continents from east to west and from prehistory to the present day, examining an ever-surprising gallery of images that illustrate how dearly horses have been prized by all human societies fortunate enough to encounter them.

The artistic styles represented in this book offer something for every taste. There are cave paintings and sculptures, medieval illuminated manuscripts and photographs, depictions of battle, and scenes of leisure. Uccello, Rubens, Van Dyck, Velásquez, Géricault, Stubbs, David, and Picasso are among the 137 artists featured in this indepth study. As the more than 300 images in The Horse diversely illustrate, the horse is as beautiful an animal as it has been useful—indeed, central—to the development of human society.

The thirteen authors who contributed to this volume are all experts in their art historical fields: Nicolas Chaudun, Yves Christe, Henri-Paul Francfort, Jean-Louis Gouraud, Emmanuelle Héran, Jean-Louis Libourel, Camille Morineau, Christine Peltre, Daniel Roche, Annie Vernay-Nouri, Denis Vialou, Marc-André Wagner, and Michel Woronoff.

The book was a forward from Joe Fargis. He is one of the most successful riders ever to represent the U.S. Equestrian team in international competition. During the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Fargis won the show jumping individual gold medal and the team gold medal. He is only the second U.S. athlete to win an individual gold medal in show jumping. He was also a member of the silver medal show jumping team during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and won a team gold medal at the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City.

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Seductive Subversion

Women Pop Artists 1958–1968

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Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968 is the catalogue of the exhibition of the same title and the first book to survey the achievements of women Pop artists.

Pop Art was one of the most important artistic movements of the late twentieth century. Its adaptation of mediated, popular-culture imagery continues to influence artists, but until now, little attention has been paid to the important contributions that women made to the movement. Pop Art by women dealt less with direct consumerist critiques, instead subversively combating the stereotypical perceptions of women via advertising and film clichés. Work by women Pop artists ranges from Rosalyn Drexler’s surreal filmnoir riffs, Idelle Weber’s New Realism office workers, and Niki de Saint Phalle’s exuberant Nanas to the more controversial and blatantly political statements of Faith Ringgold and Martha Rosler. Pauline Boty and Axell explored female desire, while the innovative soft structures stitched by Yayoi Kusama, Jann Haworth, Patty Mucha, and others form an important contribution to the history of sculpture.

Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958–1968 is the catalogue of the first exhibition to expand Pop Art’s narrow critical definition to reflect the significant role of these women artists. The culmination of six years of research by Sid Sachs, this exhibition, organized by the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, is touring nationally. The essays in this catalogue span from London’s Independent Group in the early 1950s to the end of classic Pop in 1968. Written by the art historians Linda Nochlin, Sid Sachs, Kalliopi Minioudaki, Bradford R. Collins, Annika Öhrner, and Sue Tate and the artists Martha Rosler and Patty Mucha, these texts will be revelations and will remain a vital reference for artists, art and cultural historians, and feminists alike. Artworks by more than twenty artists are reproduced, including Pauline Boty, Chryssa, Rosalyn Drexler, Jann Haworth, Yayoi Kusama, and Marisol, as well as now lesser-known figures such as Barbro Östlihn and Dorothy Grebenak. Numerous works are discussed in depth from a number of vantage points.

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Discovering the Arts of Japan

A Historical Overview

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A concise and informative illustrated guide to 12,000 years of Japanese art.

Discovering the Arts of Japan is an illustrated history of Japanese art, from prehistoric times through the modern era. The chapters are arranged chronologically, each highlighting a particular historical period and discussing its artistic trends in context. The authors discuss various forms of representative art objects, highlighting important works of architecture, sculpture, paintings, calligraphy, textiles, ceramics, and more. The book features over 230 captioned photographs from leading museums, temples, and rare private collections. A map of Japan provides readers with a visual reference, and the chronology and timeline, which include other cultures’ milestones as well as those of Japan, enable comparison between Japan’s achievements and developments in other countries.

This concise, handy reference book is perfect for anyone interested in Japanese art, whether they be art history students and enthusiasts or tourists visiting Japan. A comprehensive overview of the major trends in art throughout the history of Japan, Discovering the Arts of Japan includes a select bibliography and list of major museums housing collections of Japanese art. Handsomely presented and easy-to-use, this book offers a valuable introduction to the subject, and encourages further in-depth study of specific periods and art forms.

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The Human Figure and Jewish Culture

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This wide-ranging, intellectually provocative study argues that artists of Jewish descent have been especially devoted to the human figure on account of their cultural heritage. Abundantly illustrated in full color.

In the twentieth century, the avant-garde movements promoted abstraction and formal experimentation in the visual arts, often dispensing with the human form altogether. Yet many artists of Jewish descent resisted this trend and continued to depict the human figure with sympathy and understanding. Few of them portrayed overtly Jewish themes, but—as Eliane Strosberg argues in this thought-provoking volume—their persistent devotion to the human figure was itself a reflection of their Jewishness. Though their individual styles were diverse, they all used the human figure as a means of communicating, in secular terms, aspects of their Jewish intellectual heritage, such as their humanistic values, passion for social justice, and opposition to the nihilism that underlay so much of modern culture. For this reason, their work may be said to constitute an ethical, if not an aesthetic, art movement, which Strosberg aptly dubs “Human Expressionism.”

Strosberg begins her highly readable text with an overview of Jewish tradition that illuminates the mindset of many Jewish artists. She also provides a concise history of Jewish art from Genesis to the Enlightenment, in which she demonstrates that figurative art has actually had a place in Judaism for thousands of years, despite the Second Commandment’s prohibition of graven images. However, Strosberg devotes the greater part of her study to a comparative analysis of those artists who fall under the rubric of Human Expressionism. Though her scope is impressively broad, ranging from Camille Pissarro to George Segal, she pays particular attention to the immigrant painters of the École de Paris, like Soutine and Modigliani; the American social realists, like Ben Shahn and Raphael Soyer; and the masters of the postwar School of London, like Lucian Freud and R. B. Kitaj.

Illustrated with more than one hundred full-color reproductions of works by the artists under discussion, The Human Figure and Jewish Culture is an essential addition to any library of art history or Judaica.

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The History of Paris in Painting

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A sumptuous artistic tribute to the city of lights, this volume brings Paris to life in paintings that range from the medieval to the modern.

“Paris is a moveable feast,” Ernest Hemingway once proclaimed. The city of lights, or the city of love, Paris is indeed a feast for the senses. Paris’s rich history has been justly captured by the many artists sheltered by its garrets and supported by its patrons for centuries.

Finally the story and grandeur of this beautiful city are revealed in this luxurious slipcased volume. The 350 full-color illustrations, including four breathtaking gatefolds, present Paris from its days as a medieval city on the Ile de la Cité, in the middle of the Seine River, through the tumultuous days of the French Revolution, to the “Haussmannization” of Paris, when much of the city was razed to make way for broad boulevards emanating from the Arc de Triomphe.

The rich heritage of painting in Paris is broadly represented in this collection. Home of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris nurtured generations of French artists and displayed their work in the Salon. As the Impressionists broke with the authoritarian standards of the Academy, Parisian art became even more diverse and increasingly abstract—a trend that continued through the twentieth century.

The History of Paris in Painting honors this celebrated city and its famous monuments by presenting readers with an artistic feast that will make anyone fall in love with Paris again and again.

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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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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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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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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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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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