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How to Read a Painting: Lessons from the Old Mastersby Patrick De Rynck
Synopses & Reviews
Clues to the meaning of many of the masterpieces of art history lie in a rich system of symbols, themes, and motifs that often eludes modern museum-goers. The intimate knowledge of Christian theology, Greek and Roman mythology, and folklore that was so vivid in the minds of viewers during the Renaissance is rarely part of the preparation the contemporary viewer brings to a painting. This insightful, anecdotal, portable book, with 1,000 gorgeous color illustrations, helps to fill in those gaps by decoding th imagery of more than 150 of the most influential and admired artworks of all time. <BR>Covering the works of the Italian, Netherlandish, German, and Spanish Old Masters, from 1450 to 1750, paintings by artists such as Giotto, Botticelli, El Greco, Bruegel, Holbein, Rubens, and Vermeer, all held in public collections, "How to Read a Painting</I> not only helps the viewer to understand the significant details of a picture but also explains the relationship with similar imagery in other works. The guide to Old Master paintings that every art lover has always wanted, this indispensable museum companion will open the reader to a whole new experience of Western art's most praised and visited paintings.
How does an artists interpretation of historical events alter our understanding of them? Kings, queens, presidents, and generals from Alexander the Great to Theodore Roosevelt have commissioned paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs of major events, and artists have responded to important moments with works that forever shape historical memory.
The book deals with specific episodes, from the proclamation of the Code of Hammurabi to more recent events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It also deals with broader themes, such as the founding of states (Persia, Rome, the Chinese Empire, the United States) and war (Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, Picassos Guernica). Here too are the great voyages of exploration, the industrial revolution, and much more. World history is vividly elucidated in these works of art.
- Designed to offer the insight of an art historian in digestible anecdotes, this book will open the reader to a whole new experience of Western art's most praised, and visited, paintings.
- This guide to the old masters focuses on the signifying details of a painting, and if the motif or symbol in question appears again in other works, the explanation of the symbol includes a list of those paintings so that the reader can cross-reference the reoccurring themes.
- With a smaller trim size and flexibind cover, How to Read a Painting is portable and more resilient than a paperback to make for an optimum museum companion.
- All of the paintings included are available to be viewed by the public, and nearly 20 belong to museum collections in the United States.
About the Author
Patrick De Rynck is a classicist, a translator, and a writer for museums, publishers, newspapers, and radio. He is the author of ten books, including an ABC of Classical literature and a retelling of Greek myths.
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