Great European Masters
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At the end of a program of restoration that lasted an incredibly short time, but for which preparations had been made down to the smallest detail over twenty years of scientific investigation, historical research, laboratory experimentation, essays, trials and monitoring, one of the most fundamental cornerstones and certainly the most dazzling incunbala of modern European painting has been reopened to the public.
Preceded by long and complex preparatory work on the building and the surroundings, the intervention of conservation on the mural decoration has made it possible to arrest the acceleration of the process of decay. This decay was chiefly the result of the combined action of damp and pollution, but had been further aggravated by the use of unsuitable restoration materials during the intervention carried out in the early sixties.
The result has been to render the revolutionary spatial layout of the work more legible, along with the formal values through which Giotto expressed himself, in particular the quality of his coloring, something that is usually (and inexplicably) undervalued.
But several genuine discoveries have also emerged, such as his use of the technique required to make mock marble ("marmorino" or "Roman stucco") and of oil to "bind" the white lead, which as a consequence has not undergone any process of alteration. This has revealed, at an unparalleled level (at least as far as our current knowledge is concerned), effects of sunlight or luminosity that it would be hard to regard as produced by chance.
In this sumptuous, scholarly volume, the life of Dominican friar and artist Fra Angelico (1400–1455) is presented in the context of his work. Spike divides his book into three sections: life and work, color plates (with commentary), and a black-and-white catalog. He records the influences that shaped Angelico's life and work, notably the emergence of the Humanists, the Council of Florence (1440), Cosimo de' Medici, and the library at San Marco, and also presents important original findings on Angelico's fresco cycles in the cloister of San Marco, Florence. While there is not yet a catalogue raisonné, this difficult but rewarding book, with its many quality illustrations and fresh perspective, offers a complex overview for informed readers.
Few painters have had the impact of Masaccio (1401–1428), who helped lay the naturalistic foundations of modern art during a career that seems to have lasted only six years. In his useful synthesis, Spike, an independent scholar and curator living in Florence, successfully summarizes our current understanding of the artist's career. An intelligent introductory essay sorts out his oeuvre's chronology; elucidates aspects of Masaccio's enigmatic relationship with his inferior partner, Masolino; and clarifies his connection with the great innovators Giotto, Brunelleschi, and Donatello. Commentaries accompanying the complete corpus of color illustrations allow further insights into the work's formal qualities and iconography, and a summary catalogue raisonné includes a compilation of early documentary sources, condition reports, and further scholarly discussion.
This catalogue is published in conjunction with the major Fall 2003 exhibition organized by the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris. This important and unprecedented exhibition covers the entire career of the Florentine master with over 40 exceptional masterpieces gathered from major museums around the world.
Sandro Botticelli was one of the leading painters of the Florentine Renaissance who developed a highly personal style characterized by elegant execution, sense of melancholy and strong emphasis on line. This monograph presents a selection of Botticelli's paintings and drawings, including extraordinary masterpieces such as the Mystic Nativity, Saint Augustine in his Studio, Pallade and the Centaur, Annunciation and Madonna and Child, as well as a selection of works by other Renaissance painters like Leonardo da Vinci, Piero di Cosimo, Filippo and Filippino Lippi.
This magisterial work-the most exquisite and luxuriously produced art monograph of the season-will immediately be recognized as the seminal volume on the paintings of the great Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. Not only does the quality of the reproductions far surpass those in previous books, but every one of Leonardo's magnificent paintings is included, along with preparatory drawings and studies for his most famous works, and a text by one of the world's leading experts on Leonardo.
Such beloved masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, The Madonna of the Rocks, and The Annunciation are all freshly photographed and showcased in greater detail than ever before. The newly restored Last Supper, lavishly reproduced as a full-color double gatefold, is seen here in all its richness of detail and tone. Scholar Pietro Marani explores Leonardo's fertile and original intellect and his astounding capacity for imbuing the human figure with emotion and sublime beauty and grace. Here, then, is a glorious art book that will be a gift to treasure for a lifetime.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) possessed one of the greatest minds of all time; his importance and influence are inestimable. This XXL-format comprehensive survey is the most complete book ever made on the subject of this Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, scientist and all-around genius. With huge, full-bleed details of Leonardo's masterworks, this highly original publication allows the reader to inspect the subtlest facets of his brushstrokes.
* Part I explores Leonardo's life and work in ten chapters, drawing upon his letters, contracts, diary entries, and writings. All of his paintings are presented and interpreted in depth, with The Annunciation and The Last Supper featured on fold-out pages.
* Part II comprises a catalogue raisonné of Leonardo's paintings, which covers all of his surviving and lost painted works and includes texts describing their states of preservation. Each and every painting that can be justifiably attributed to Leonardo is included here; thanks to new findings and scientific research, this is the first time his definitive painting oeuvre is being published.
* Part III contains an extensive catalogue of his drawings (numbering in the thousands, they cannot all be reproduced in one book); 663 are presented, arranged by category (architecture, technical, anatomical, figures, proportion, cartography, etc). Over half of the drawings included were provided by Windsor Castle, marking the first time that the Castle has allowed a publisher to reproduce so many of their drawings.
This beautiful and compelling book shines new light on Fra Filippo Lippi`s life and career, from his first paintings as a friar to later works painted outside the monastery for the Medicis and other patrons. Focusing on the fascinating conjunction of Lippi`s work as a painter and his experiences as a Carmelite friar, Megan Holmes transforms our understanding of the artist and of art in fifteenth-century Florence.
In one concise volume, Wallace (art history, Washington Univ.) presents an accurately rendered life in intelligent, accessible prose. Though not footnoted, it consists of an overview with chronology of Michelangelo's life, followed by three extensive chapters on his major creations sculpture, painting, and architecture each illustrated with stunning photographs and post-restoration reproductions. There are several fold-out sections, including a full-color Sistine ceiling and a complete diagram of all its segments. The commentary accompanying each work is engaging, and the layout is thoughtful and well planned, corresponding to the text. While there is a plethora of worthwhile books on Michelangelo, including those that focus in depth on a particular aspect, these sumptuous reproductions are some of the best on the market. They succeed in conveying Michelangelo's grandeur and magnificence gracefully and factually and, if budgetary conditions allow, should serve as a first-choice introduction to students and interested lay readers.
This extraordinary exhibition catalogue explores the rare works of one of the most enigmatic painters of the Renaissance, Zorzi da Castelfranco-universally known as Giorgione (Castelfranco Veneto, 1478-Venezia, 1510)-examining 15 out of an oeuvre of his 25 attributed paintings.
Fellow student of Titian under Giovanni Bellini in Venice, almost nothing is known of Giorgione's life except that he worked in Venice, undertook various important commissions in oil and fresco, and died of the plague in his early 30s. A major innovator, he is acclaimed as the father of modern Venetian painting of the sixteenth century. In his revolutionary brushwork he skillfully combined Leonardo's sfumato with the colors and the thin layers of paint favored by the Old Flemish masters to give a new dimension to light and color.
This monograph features masterpieces by Giorgione such as The Tempest, The Old Woman, The Nude, the recently restored Altarpiece of the Cathedral of Castelfranco, Christ Carrying the Cross, Three Philosophers and Laura as well as the only drawing by Giorgione View of Castel San Zeno at Montagnana and a Sitting Figure.
Some seminal examples of works by Bellini, Titian, Dürer and Cranach help to place Giorgione's art in context and to document his influence on later painters.
A team of international art historians and critics contribute original essays to the richly illustrated and well-documented book that features new discoveries in Giorgione's technique, an analysis of the results of restoration, and an updated bibliography.
In the quarter century since the last catalogue raisonné of Titian, more research has been carried out on the painter than in the whole of the previous four hundred years. New documentation has come to light, pictures have been cleaned and major exhibitions have allowed for scrupulous comparisons to be made. As a result, Titian's whole oeuvre has been reassessed, many old questions of attribution settled— and a few new ones raised.
Titian's place as one of the giants of Western culture has never been in doubt. He represents the culmination of the Venetian school, evolving a technique of free, spontaneous brushwork and a rendering of form through color that amazed his contemporaries and is now seen by some as foreshadowing Impressionism. In a long life of nearly ninety years he painted hundreds of canvases, ranging from moving and intense religious images, through penetratingly psychological portraits (including Charles V and Philip II of Spain) to sensuously erotic mythological scenes like Bacchus and Ariadne and the Venus of Urbino. Over 250 paintings are now attributed to him. All are illustrated here with detailed commentaries giving the circumstances of their commission, their subsequent history and stylistic analysis. Also included is an exhaustive bibliography. The fruit of many years' research, Titian is a monument of scholarship that will remain definitive for the foreseeable future.
by Pierluigi De Vecchi
All of Raphael's most important paintings as well as a significant number of his drawings and engravings are reproduced, principally in color, in this splendid new tribute to one of the most admired artists of the Italian Renaissance.
In this lavishly illustrated book featuring some 300 illustrations, the author takes a fresh, critical look at the life and work of Rafaello Sanzio, or, as he signed certain paintings, Raphael Urbinas—in homage to his native city of Urbino. Described as "an artist touched by grace," Raphael is considered along with Michelangelo and Leonardo to be one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance.
by Maurice Brock
Agnolo Bronzino (1503–1572) was one of the leading representatives of Florentine mannerist painting. In this important new study, the eminent French art historian Maurice Brock provides a detailed analysis of this painter's remarkable oeuvre, taking into account the latest developments in scholarship and drawing on information about the artist's life that has recently come to light.
Eschewing a chronological approach, the author examines the paintings according to genre, focusing above all on Bronzino's portraits and religiouslittle-known paintings, and in particular on the little-known altarpieces and private devotional pictures. For Bronzino, art was the imitation of art, not the faithful imitation of nature. This book explains how he borrowed from other art forms, notable sculpture, and it looks at the relationship between the artist's paintings.
In an engaging and informed text, John T. Spike explores in detail Caravaggio's scandalous life and provocative work. Placing Caravaggio within the broad panorama of society and ideas at the turn of the seventeenth century, the author sets a richly detailed stage for an artist who has been called "the first modern painter." Caravaggio (1571–1610) reflected in his canvases his own desires and spiritual crises to an extent no one ever had imagined possible, and he shocked his contemporaries by portraying the saints and virgins of Christianity with the faces and bodies of his companions and lovers in Rome's demimonde.
Accompanying the book is a critical catalog on CD-ROM in which all of Caravaggio's extant paintings, as well as lost and rejected works, are thoroughly described. Each entry specifies the work's medium, dimensions, location, and provenance, and provides an annotated bibliography of sources. Most of the entries conclude with a brief technical analysis. Much of this scientific data, of prime importance for attribution and dating, has not previously been published.
With its fresh insights, as well as judicious readings of the documents and the physical evidence of the paintings themselves, Caravaggio is the most thorough study on the artist to date, and it will no doubt remain a definitive monograph for many years to come.
This catalogue, published to accompany a large-scale exhibition of El Greco's work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery in London, presents a hearty portfolio of world-famous images alongside a comprehensive treatment of the artist's intellectual and religious foundations. Born Domenikos Theotokopoulos in Crete in 1541, El Greco moved to Venice in 1567, where he rapidly matured into one of the most daring artists of his time, known for his audacious color palette and ecstatic, elongated figures who often resemble rippling reflections in dark, cosmic waters. With his swooning, mystical compositions, El Greco remains a primary figure both in Renaissance painting and in the development of modern art, a favorite of such masters as Picasso and Cezanne. Treating the early stages of El Greco's work, as well as his lesser-known experiments in sculpture, this authoritative, comprehensive catalogue adds yet another chapter to the artist's permanent record as a looming figure in the history of western art.
Nicolas Poussin, perhaps the most famous French painter of the seventeenth century, lived and worked for many years in Rome. Yet he remained deeply engaged with cultural and political transformations occurring in France, argues Todd P. Olson in this original exploration of Poussin's paintings, their production, and their reception. Poussin's references to ancient literature and sculpture addressed a political elite-the Robe nobility-whose humanist education in classical antiquity equipped them to relate Greek and Roman history to contemporary events and to deploy ancient precedents in legalistic and political arguments. The painter's audience considered the hard-earned pleasures of his restrained, difficult pictorial style a benchmark of integrity as well as a criticism of the Regency's indiscriminate collecting practices and taste for foreign luxury. Poussin transformed the easel painting-its making and collection-into an expression of cultural and political commitments binding a community. Olson's fresh insights reveal the importance of this painter's work to a learned and powerful French constituency at a critical moment in French history and demonstrate that Poussin's famously timeless style was far more responsive to historical contingencies than has been previously recognized.