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How to Read a Modern Painting: Lessons from the Modern Mastersby Jon Thompson
Synopses & Reviews
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.
Modern art, filled with complex themes and subtle characteristics, is a wonder to view, but can be intimidating for the casual observer to comprehend. In this accessible, practical guide, author and instructor Jon Thompson explores more than 200 works, helping readers to unlock each painting’s meaning.
Beginning with the Barbizon school and the Realist movement of the mid-19th century and continuing through the 1980s avant-garde, artists including Bonnard, Basquiat, Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, Warhol, and Whistler are featured. Thompson describes each artist’s use of media and symbolism and provides insightful biographical information. A natural companion to Abrams’ How to Read a Painting, this book is a vibrant, informative trip through one of art history’s most compelling periods.
About the Author
Jon Thompson is an artist, writer, curator, and teacher. The former head of the fine art department at London University, he recently retired from his post as senior research professor at the University of Middlesex.
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Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism