Art and Design: Art History

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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The Lure of Gold

An Artistic and Cultural History

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The dazzlingly illustrated story of how the world's most beautiful element has influenced the art, economy, and society of every civilization.

When Hesiod, the Greek poet of the eighth century B.C., recounted the history of the world as he understood it, he described the legendary first generation of mortal men, who lived in peace and ease, as the “people of gold.” Nearly three millennia later, we still refer to a particularly happy or prosperous era as a “golden age.” The reason Hesiod’s metaphor translates so perfectly into our own idiom is that the mystique of gold, the quintessential precious metal, is truly universal. The very scarcity of gold accounts for part of its allure and much of its monetary value: the total volume of gold ever mined, from prehistory to the present day, would probably fit inside a cube with sides just twenty yards (18 m) long. Yet gold’s incredible material properties also contribute to its appeal. Gold does not corrode, so it never loses its brilliant luster, and it can be chased, embossed, punched, drawn into wires, hammered foil-thin, and shaped in countless other ways.

This engaging book reveals that the ways in which gold, in turn, has shaped humanity are no less numerous. Since prehistory, for example, artisans have fashioned gold into ritual objects and high-status ornaments; beginning in the sixth century B.C., gold served as currency; and even in the modern era it has encouraged wars of conquest and triggered frantic gold rushes. Each chapter is devoted to one historical epoch, explaining how people of that time mined and refined gold, and how they used it for cultural and economic purposes. Two hundred gorgeous color photographs illustrate golden objets d’art as diverse as the funerary masks of Tutankhamen; intricate Celtic jewelry; a figurine of “El Dorado,” a pre-Columbian chief said to ritualistically cover his entire body in gold dust; bejeweled medieval reliquaries and crucifixes; and even Gustav Klimt’s gold-drenched canvas The Kiss. With its authoritative yet lively text and these arresting illustrations, The Lure of Gold sets, as it were, the gold standard for books on material culture.

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Hieronymus Bosch

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A stunningly illustrated, groundbreaking exploration of the work of the Low Countries' great visionary painter.

Four hundred little people frolic au naturel with overgrown songbirds and raspberries; a pudgy blue demon serenades a fashionable young couple with a tune piped through his own elongated nose; a knife-wielding set of disembodied ears stalks the damned through hell. The phantasmagoric imagery of Hieronymus Bosch (d. 1516) has been the source of widespread interest ever since the painter’s lifetime, and is still so enigmatic that scholars have theorized that it contains hidden astrological, alchemical, or even heretical meanings. Yet none of these theories has ever seemed to provide an adequate understanding of Bosch’s work. Moreover, the considerable professional success that the artist enjoyed in his native Hertogenbosch, not to mention his membership in a traditional religious organization, suggests that he pursued not a sinister secret agenda but simply his personal artistic vision.

This intriguing new monograph by noted art historian Larry Silver interprets that artistic vision with admirable lucidity: it explains how Bosch’s understanding of human sin, morality, and punishment, which was conceived in an era of powerful apocalyptic expectation, shaped his dramatic visualizations of hell and of the temptations of even the most steadfast saints. Silver’s account of Bosch’s artistic development is one of the first to benefit from recent technical investigations of the paintings, as well as from the reexamination of the artist’s drawings in relation to his paintings. Hieronymus Bosch is also unique in how securely it places its subject’s work in the broader history of painting in the Low Countries: Silver identifies sources of Bosch’s iconography in a wide range of fifteenth-century panel paintings, manuscript illuminations, and prints, and describes how, despite their own religiousness, Bosch’s pictures helped inspire the secular landscape and genre scenes of later Netherlandish painters. Augmented by 310 illustrations, most in color, including many dramatic close-ups of Bosch’s intricately imagined nightmare scenes, this is the definitive book on a perennially fascinating artist.

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Landscape Painting

A History

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A comprehensive, captivating history of landscape painting lavishly illustrated with 280 full-color works of art.

Since Antiquity, painters have sought to portray the glories of nature, and many of their pictures have become the best-known masterpieces in the history of art. In this sweeping treasury of Western art, distinguished art historian Nils Büttner has chosen paintings that not only portray natural vistas but also dramatic scenes with people and architecture. His broad selection of paintings in this genre consists mainly of well-known works, but some seldom-reproduced pictures are also included.

The paintings are presented chronologically, beginning with the heritage from the ancient world and the precursors of landscape artists in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, such as Leonardo da Vinci, Giovanni Bellini, and Raphael. The sixteenth century heralded a new perception of the world, reflected in the works of such masters as Albrecht Dürer and Bruegel, as shown. Next, artists of the flowering age of landscapes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are featured, including Claude Lorrain, Nicolas Poussin, Rubens, Rembrandt, Fragaonard, David, and Gainsborough. In the early nineteenth century, which was dominated by the spirit of Romanticism, artists began to display a new manner of treating nature. These revolutionary conceptions of nature are vividly presented with examples from Constable, Turner, Whistler, Frederic Church, Bierstadt, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer. These artists are followed by plein-air painters, Impressionists, and Post-Impressionists, among them Manet, Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, van Gogh, and Rousseau. Artists represented from the twentieth century include Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Magritte, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, and David Hockney.

Many of the extraordinary works are reproduced in full along with a detail and an informative caption. In the authoritative text, the author traces the history of landscape painting up to the present day but also focuses on individual paintings and the circumstances under which they were created. Along with a description of a painting, the lucid text examines the work’s cultural, historical, and aesthetic context.

The art of landscape artists, which has long been an under-published area of art history, is finally and stunningly revealed in this richly illustrated tribute to their work. This fresh vision of landscape artists is certain to be welcomed by art historians and museum-goers, as well anyone else interested in Western art.

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Earthworks and Beyond

Contemporary Art in the Landscape

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4th Edition

Updated and expanded to incorporate the most recent land art projects, Earthworks and Beyond (first published in 1984; 2nd edition, 1989; 3rd edition, 1998) is a perceptive and accessible survey of an influential art movement that developed during the 1960s and is still reshaping both remote and urban landscapes.

This invaluable volume now includes the most recent efforts by artists—often in collaboration with architects and city planners—to transform ravaged landscapes and desolate cityscapes into pleasure-giving parks and artworks. The book begins with an enlightening introduction tracing the historical roots of art in the landscape: Stonehenge, Indian mounds, cliff dwellings, park design from 18th-century England to modern-day golf courses. The opening chapter deals with such innovative artists as Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, Walter De Maria, and Christo, who in the 1960s began to free their art from the confines of tradition by constructing monumental sculptures in the environment. The following chapters discuss their predecessors, peers, and successors, including Constantin Brancusi, Herbert Bayer, Richard Long, James Turrell, and many others.

The final four chapters (chapter 7 is entirely new) explore at length the increasing involvement of artists in land reclamation and urban design, featuring projects by Michael Heizer, Nancy Holt, Mel Chin, Maya Lin, and many others.

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Artists' Self-Portraits

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An insightful, lavishly illustrated history of self-portraits by well-known artists from early examples in classical times through its flowering in the Renaissance to modern interpretations.

In his fascinating survey, art historian Omar Calabrese reveals that self-portraits through the ages are both a reflection of the artist and of the period in which the artist lived. Organized thematically, the author first presents a basic definition of the genre of the self-portrait, interpreting the picture to be a manifestation of self identity, and including examples from an Egyptian tomb painting and pictures on stained glass during the Middle Ages and continuing to modern times.

The next chapter focuses on the turning point for the establishment of the genre during the Renaissance when the status of the painter or sculptor was raised from artisan to artist and, as a result, portraits of the artist were considered worthwhile pictures. At first a self-portrait was hidden in a narrative painting: an artist would paint his image as part of a crowd scene, for example, or as a mythological figure. On the other extreme, once the genre was accepted, it was practiced by some artists— Rembrandt, van Gogh, Munch, and Dali, for instance—as almost an obsession. In contemporary art the self-portrait can become a deconstructed genre with the artist hiding or satirizing himself until he nearly disappears on the canvas.

Among the 300 pictures featured here are examples by such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Velàzquez, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Ingres, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gainsborough, Matisse, James Ensor, Egon Schiele, Frida Kahlo, Man Ray, Henry Moore, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, and Roy Lichtenstein.

This intriguing book is a fresh way to appreciate the history of art and to understand that a self-portrait is far more complex and meaningful than merely a portrait of the artist.

 

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Italian Frescoes: The Age of Giotto

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The fourth volume (though earliest chronologially) of the only comprehensive survey in modern times of the surviving Italian frescoes from the end of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Mannerism, this groundbreaking oeuvre is an achievement in scholarship and publishing of the same magnitude as Abbeville’s Art of Florence and The Art and Spirit of Paris.

Following the success of the previous volumes in this extraordinary series — Italian Frescoes: The Early Renaissance; Italian Frescoes: The Flowering of the Renaissance; and Italian Frescoes: The High Renaissance and MannerismItalian Frescoes: The Age of Giotto presents twenty-two outstanding fresco cycles. Created during the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, these cycles set new standards for painting and an innovative vision of man, paving the way for the monumental achievements of the Renaissance. It was at this time that fresco painting was not only commissioned for churches and chapels, but also for such secular places as town halls and royal residences with humanist in addition to religious themes. The fresco cycles featured here include brilliant works by Giotto in Assisi, Padua, and Florence; dramatic paintings by Cimabue, thought to be Giotto’s teacher; Pietro Cavillini in Rome; and the Sienese artists Simone Martini and Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti — all of these works still visible on walls and ceilings of palaces and churches spanning Italy from the Veneto to Rome.

The authors describe and illustrate such celebrated sites as the Church of Saint Francis in Assisi, the Chapel of the Scrovegni in Padua, the Public Palace in Siena, and the papal chapel, the Sancta Sanctorum, in Rome. Each of the twenty-two chapters is concise and authoritative, offering a descriptive and interpretive essay on all aspects of fresco painting, 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 seventeenth centuries. While this volume is the predecessor to the previous books, Italian Frescoes: The Age of Giotto easily stands alone as a masterpiece of art and scholarship which will be welcomed by art historians and art lovers alike. 

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A Key to the Louvre

Memoirs of a Curator

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An art world insider provides a witty and penetrating account of fifty years at the center of international culture.

Art historian, curator, and museum director Michel Laclotte has been at the forefront of French cultural life over the past half century. This informal autobiography sheds light on his brilliant career with warmth and directness. Highlights include twenty years as chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Musée du Louvre, heading the team that created the Musée d'Orsay, and taking the reins of the Louvre to lead the effort that culminated in the museum's transformation into the “Grand Louvre,” one of the world's preeminent cultural attractions.

Raising the curtain on fifty years of Western art scholarship, intrigue, and achievement, Laclotte introduces an extraordinary cast of characters who set France's cultural direction in the postwar period from Charles de Gaulle and André Malraux in the 1950s to François Mitterand in the 1980s and 1990s. His story overlaps with virtually every major scholarly figure in French art history of the last half-century, as well as Laclotte's mentors and colleagues throughout and beyond Europe, from Roberto Longhi and Anthony Blunt to Sir John Pope-Hennessy and Millard Meiss.

An incomparable testament to a period of seismic change in the museum world, this volume will be essential reading for art world afficianados and all students of art and modern culture.

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Orientalism In Art

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The romance and exoticism of the Orient, as captured by 19th-century European and American painters, are brought to life in this important volume.

Nineteenth-century Europe was fascinated by the Orient. Napoleon's Egyptian campaign of 1798 initiated this phenomenon, and its history-the most notable episodes of which include the Greek uprising against the Turks in 1821 and the French taking of Algiers in 1830-was closely linked to changing attitudes toward the "Eastern question." Artists of the period, too, were captivated by these events, and the rich body of imagery they produced is the subject of this volume.

Incorporating much recent research, author Christine Peltre's elegant text retraces Orientalism's artistic history, in which the French and British schools predominated. The "high poetry" of the Romantics' Orient, often inspired by Byron or Hugo, strove for dramatic effect, as the works of David Roberts, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, and Eugène Delacroix attest. A different brand of imagery was produced by the "ethnographic gaze" of the century's middle years, practiced by artists who visited the sites they represented, such as John Frederick Lewis, Eugène Fromentin, and Jean-Léon Gérôme, as well as by others who remained studio-bound, including J.-A.-D. Ingres and Adolphe Monticelli. Work of this kind was eventually superseded by a "third style,"a fusion of European and Eastern elements, as seen in the work of August Macke, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Henri Matisse.

Witnesses to a history that they influenced in subtle ways through their imagery, the Orientalist painters also produced a history of their own, that of a spiritual and formal quest to find in the "East" the ideal of "primitive" purity.Illustrated with more than two hundred expertly selected Orientalist paintings and drawings, Orientalism in Art is an indispensable volume for art historians and anyone lured by the romance and exoticism of Orientalist art.

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Italian Frescoes: High Renaissance and Mannerism

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The third volume in the only comprehensive modern survey of the surviving frescoes created during the later years of the great Italian Renaissance to the age of Mannerism.

Following the success of the previous volumes in this extraordinary series — Italian Frescoes: The Early Renaissance and Italian Frescoes: The Flowering of the Renaissance — this volume presents twenty-two fresco cycles, each representing a notable achievement in the history of art. The fresco cycles featured include brilliant works by Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Andrea del Sarto, Parmigianino, Bronzino, Veronese, and Carracci — all of them still visible on walls and ceilings of palaces and churches spanning Italy from the Veneto to Rome. Here are such celebrated sites as the Sistine Chapel in Rome and Palladio's Villa Barbaro in Maser, as well as lesser known gems.

Each of the twenty-two chapters is concise and authoritative, offering a descriptive and interpretive essay on all aspects of fresco painting, 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 the Italian Renaissance. While this volume is a continuation of the previous books, Italian Frescoes: High Renaissance and Mannerism easily stands alone as an incredible treasury of art and scholarship, which will be eagerly collected by art historians and art lovers alike.

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American Impressionism

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An expanded and revised edition of this elegant and definitive volume, which helped establish the ever-growing passion for American Impressionism.

With brilliant scholarship and a wealth of stunning illustrations, American Impressionism provides a vivid summary of the entire art movement, starting with its roots in earlier American art and its relationship to French Impressionsim. The first edition was quickly recognized as the most authoritative and penetrating account of the movement, which has continued to grow in poularity since the book's debut. For this new edition, which features 25 additional illustrations, Professor Gerdts has added a fascinating new chapter on Impressionist themes. The volume also includes a thoroughly updated bibliography.

American Impressionism tells how the movement progressed rom an avant-garde aesthetic assaulted by critics up to its years of triumph and how the movement developed in diverse ways throughou the country including regional Impressionism in the South, Midwest, and West. All of the master works are here, from Childe Hassam's sun-drenched gardens to John Twachtman's snow-silenced landscapes, from Edmund Tarbell's coolly elegant ladies in dim, luxurious interiors to Frederick Frieseke's sun-dappled nudes.

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Women Artists

An Illustrated History

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 4th Edition

Firmly established as one of the premier histories of women in the fine arts, Nancy G. Heller's Women Artists returns in an expanded fourth edition.

With coverage of the 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium, nearly half the volume is now devoted to the remarkable period from 1960 to the present, when women artists emerged as the most dynamic force in contemporary art.

New to this edition are innovative contemporary American artists, such as Janine Antoni and Renee Cox, as well as major international figures, including Iran's Shirin Neshat, Shahzia Sikander from Pakistan, and the Icelandic sculptor and performance artist Katrin Sigurdardottir. As in past editions, all the artists' works are represented in large-format color reproductions, and the artists' careers are examined in concise critical biographies.

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The Art and Spirit of Paris

(two volumes, slipcased)

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A dazzling successor to Abbeville's The Art of Florence, this two-volume tour de force sweeps through the entire history of the arts in Paris, from the Stone Age to the pyramid at the Louvre.

All the arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, urban design, interior design, graphic design, photography, film, fashion, the theater, and opera—have played a role in creating the enduring spirit of Paris. From a primitive village huddled on an island in the middle of the Seine, Paris rose to glory as a medieval and Renaissance center for art, as the cradle of the Enlightenment, and as the crucible of modern art and architecture. It remains a world center of innovation in art, architecture, and design, and one of the most thoroughly pleasurable of all modern cities.

Assembled under the editorial direction of Michel Laclotte, former director of the Musée du Louvre, and with the participation of outstanding scholars on both sides of the Atlantic, The Art and Spirit of Paris spans more than 6,000 years of cultural history. In two volumes, comprising nine insightful and wide-ranging chapters, and with approximately 1,500 illustrations, the authors chronicle the history of the visual arts in Paris, tracing their evolution and that of the social systems that supported them.

Volume I introduces the Gallo-Roman settlement described by Caesar and unearthed by modern archeologists, literally the foundation of modern Paris. From these beginnings, chapter 2 takes the reader through the dark period of the early Middle Ages, when Paris was ravaged by Norsemen, through the long process of rebuilding that led to the flowering of the Gothic and the remarkable masterworks of architecture and stained glass, Notre-Dame-de-Paris and the Sainte-Chapelle. The Renaissance city and the center of the Enlightenment are the subjects of chapters 3 and 4, illustrated by the masterpieces of painting and the decorative arts that established Paris, by the eighteenth century, as the Western world's center of the arts.

Volume II begins at 1800, as Napoleon consolidates his power and resolves to make Paris the most beautiful city the world has seen. Chapter 5 treats his brief era, which would echo in the French imagination for decades after, and which begins the reign of Paris as "Capital of the Nineteenth Century." The battles of classicism and romanticism and the advent of a modern "engineer's architecture" of glass and iron are followed in chapter 6 by the glorious Ville Lumière of Second Empire Paris, with its remarkable world's fairs. It treats as well the aftermath of the Commune, when a "New Painting" would be invented by the most beloved artists of the French tradition, including Manet, Renoir, Monet, and Cézanne. Chapter 7 brings us to fin de siècle Paris, the Belle Epoque, and the run-up to World War I, when a remarkable coterie of artists, including Picasso, invent an art for the new century. Chapter 8 examines the period between the wars, an era of refinement and consolidation in the arts, and chapter 9 brings the story of Paris up to the present, examining the remarkable ways Paris has yet again remade herself, as a city of spectacle and guardian of her remarkable past, while remaining a vital center of fashion, theater, and the visual arts.

A lavish selection of photographs, most reproduced in color, complements the lively, informative texts with a revealing mixture of much-loved masterpieces and little-known discoveries. Completing these luxurious volumes are nine photographic portfolios, featuring classic black-and-white pictures, reproduced in duotone, by such masters as Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, and André Kertesz, which capture the spirit of Paris in visual essays on such subjects as the Seine, Paris by night, shops and cafés, and the city's streets and boulevards.

About the authors: Michel Laclotte, former chief curator of paintings and retired president-director, Musée du Louvre, Paris; Venceslas Kruta, professor, Sorbonne; Alain Erlande-Brandenburg, former director, Musée de Cluny and Archives Nationales; Claude Mignot, professor, Université de Tours; John Goodman, independent scholar, New York; Christopher Lyon, executive editor, Abbeville Press; Michael Marrinan, professor, Stanford University; Gary Tinterow, curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Andrew Carrington Shelton, assistant professor, Department of History of Art, Ohio State University; Jeffrey Weiss, curator, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Malcolm Gee, professor, University of Northumbria, Newcastle, England; Françoise Levaillant, director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.

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Treasures of The White House

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A miniature handbook of the most important furnishings of the White House.

For nearly two centuries, the White House has served as the residence of our nation's president and his family. John and Abigail Adams were the first residents, and each family ever since has been encouraged, through congressional appropriations and private contributions, to make the White House a comfortable home and to provide the necessities for handsomely carrying out its additional functions as nexus for state ceremony and entertaining. As a result, the decorative objects acquired for the White House cover a wide range of genres, all rich with historic association

This treasury of our nation's valuable heirlooms, selected by the curator of the White House, includes some of the finest examples of American paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver, glass, and porcelain. In addition to excellent pictures of the objects, there are photographs that show them as arranged in state rooms. A concise essay introduces the collection and places it in historic context, and two additional pieces survey both the fine arts and the decorative arts in the president's house.

This pocket-size book is an ideal gift for those interested in beautiful historic objects or those who would like a comprehensive memento of a visit to the nation's capital.

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The Great Book of French Impressionism

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The return of the revised edition of the most popular volume on the subject offers inspired, authoritative text and hundreds of exquisite illustrations.

The Great Book of French Impressionism celebrates the richness and exuberance of the Impressionists's world — a world of light and color, of sunlit fields and shimmering waterscapes, of bustling city views and intimate domestic scenes. The 400 illustrations in this handsomely designed volume faithfully capture the subtle nuances of light and keen perception that make French Impressionist paintings unique. This edition features recent scholarship, more complete backmatter, and an expanded index.

In her thoughtful and cogent text, art historian Diane Kelder traces the development of Impressionism from its roots in landscape and realist painting through its focus on modern urban life to its ultimate goal: to fix on canvas the fleeting moods and effects of nature in an ever-changing world. The author weaves into her narrative fascinating anecdotes and excerpts form contemporary essays and letters, examines in detail the lives and works of all the major Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, including Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, and Cezanne, and shows how their work influenced others, ultimately giving rise to the new art of the twentieth century.

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Remedios Varo

Unexpected Journeys

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The adventures that fill the strange and wonderful paintings by Remedios Varo (1908-1963) reflect the physical and psychological journeys of her own tumultuous life.

Raised in a strict Spanish family and rigorously trained in academic art, Varo first found escape in Barcelona's bohemian avant-garde. After fleeing the Spanish Civil War with the poet Benjamin Péret, later her husband, she entered the inner circle of the Surrealists in Paris. Forced to flee again by the Nazis, she and Péret faced a year of mounting danger in Marseilles before securing passage to Mexico. Finding welcome refuge in Mexico City, where she remained until her death, Varo produced the extraordinary paintings for which she gained renown.

Janet A. Kaplan's vivid chronicle, the first on the subject in English, weaves Varo's life with the artist's exquisite work. Painted with a jewellike palette and old-master precision, Varo's intimate tableaux, rich with details of women's experience, tell fantasy tales of alchemy, science, mysticism, and magic. Fifty color reproductions capture the wit and beauty of her major paintings; numerous black and white illustrations document other works and portray the compelling artist with her circle of lifelong friends and admirers. The book is further enlivened by her own voice, conveyed in hilarious letters and surreal stories, published here for the first time. It concludes with an invaluable chronology as well as a newly updated bibliography and list of exhibitions.

A woman of intense magnetism and powerful imagination, Varo had been little known outside Mexico, but she has recently found enthusiastic audiences in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Japan. The fascinating story of her life and the dazzling intricacy of her art will prove a revelation.

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The Art of Florence

(two volumes, slipcased)

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This popular monument of scholarly and publishing history, winner of the prestigious Prix Vasari in France, is now available at an irresistible low price.

Since the radiant years of the Renaissance, the city of Florence has come for many to represent the greatest triumph of the Western cultural tradition. This is the city where humanism was born, where Plato was discussed passionately in the narrow streets, and where men and women first found themselves to be the measure of all things. For more than three centuries Florence nurtured a creative community of astounding, even revolutionary genius. Here, starting in the late 1200s, Giotto painted the grave and powerful frescoes that drew Florence and the world toward a radical new vision of realism, and here, ushering in the dazzling era of the High Renaissance, Michelangelo began his incomparable career as architect, sculptor, and painter. During the intervening years, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo, and hundreds of the most splendidly talented artists in history lived and worked in this small city on the Arno and collaborated in the creation of the great urban museum we know as Florence.

Matching an elegant and sophisticated text by three leading art historians with hundreds of glorious color photographs, The Art of Florence immerses us in a city and a time of unparalleled cultural ferment. This important and uncommonly beautiful publication analyzes the history of Florentine art in terms of the distinctly Florentine and Tuscan influences that shaped it—an approach never before employed in a study of this breadth and complexity. The fascinating and lucid text by Glenn Andres, John Hunisak, and Richard Turner gracefully links Florentine architecture, sculpture, and painting to the rich social fabric and the dramatic political life of the city. Woven into this compelling history is the most luxurious and comprehensive visual documentation available of Florence's unrivaled treasures. More than 700 color images and another 854 duotones and architectural drawings have been reproduced with a meticulous care worthy of the Renaissance craft tradition. Joining visual beauty with intellectual rigor in a fashion that truly invokes the spirit of this great city, The Art of Florence presents as rich a vision of human creativity as we can find anywhere outside Florence itself.

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