The world's most well known works of art are both instantly familiar and profoundly mysterious. What has made these images so popular, and how did they come into existence? The Private Life of a Masterpiece answers these questions by delving into the secrets of iconic works of art dating from 1501 to 1950. Piecing together a trail of clues, it examines each work from conception through completion to afterlife, detailing how the commission came about, the preparation undertaken by the artist, the way the work was executed, how the finished work was received, and its influence on other artists. We learn, for example, that Leonardo devised a new form of perspective when painting the Mona Lisa, and that four centuries later Picasso was detained for stealing the portrait from the Louvre; that Goya painted The Third of May 1808 as a criticism of the monarchy but nonetheless offered it to the king as a gift; that Van Gogh's Sunflowers owes much to improvements in the postal system; that Munch's The Scream was influenced by the Incas; and that Jackson Pollock's paintings were promoted by the CIA. Along the way, we also learn about each artist's life, including the struggles with family, lovers, patrons, and critics.The works featured in this book met with a variety of reactions when first unveiled, and the author details them all, from admiration and respect to horror and contempt. Now readers can judge for themselves. Beautifully illustrated and lucidly written, The Private Life of a Masterpiece offers an innovative and compelling introduction to the extraordinary stories contained in the history of art. It will enthrall all those who wish to know more about this fascinating subject.
The lecturer traces the historical development of attitudes toward the arts over the past 150 years, suggesting that the present is a period of cultural liquidation, nothing less than the ending of the modern age that began with the Renaissance.
In the OUT LINES series, a biography of artist David Hockney which examines his treatment of gay relationships and the male nude in his work, considers the development of his gay art since he came out in London in the 1960s and investigates his fascination with pool swimmers in Los Angeles.
From the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Son of the Morning Star and Deus Lo Volt , a biography that breaks the mold-recounting with stunning immediacy the dark genius behind the renowned Spanish painter. Enigmatic, compelling, darkly brilliant and casually masterful in turn, Francisco Goya changed art forever, although the nature of his influence has been widely interpreted. Degas, for one, lamented that because of Goya he was condemned to painting a housewife in her bathtub. During the vile days of the Spanish Inquisition, Goya painted royalty, street urchins and demons with the same brush, bringing his own distinctive touch to each. This unusual man and his ghastly times are the perfect subject for Evan S. Connell, one of our greatest and least conventional writers. This unorthodox biography shines with wit, erudition and prodigious research. To say Connell is intimate with his subject is an understatement: He seems to be inside Goya's famously impenetrable skin. In a colloquial, wry style, Connell introduces a wealth of detail and a comic cast of weird and eccentric characters-dukes, queens and artists-as lewd and incorrigible a group as history has ever produced
Mark Doty's prose has been hailed as "tempered and tough, sorrowing and serene" (The New York Times Book Review) and "achingly beautiful" (The Boston Globe). In Still Life with Oysters and Lemon he offers a stunning exploration of our attachment to ordinary things-how we invest objects with human store, and why.
"How almost true they sometimes almost ring " Samuel Beckett's character rues his words. "How wanting in inanity " A person could almost understand them Why taunt and flout us, as Beckett's writing does? Why discourage us from seeing, as Mark Rothko's paintings often can? Why immobilize and daze us, as Alain Resnais's films sometimes will? Why, Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit ask, would three acknowledged masters of their media make work deliberately opaque and inhospitable to an audience? This book shows us how such crippling moves may signal a profoundly original--and profoundly anti-modernist--renunciation of art's authority.
Our culture, while paying little attention to art, puts great faith in its edifying and enlightening value. Yet Beckett's threadbare plays Company and Worstward Ho, so insistent on their poverty of meaning; Rothko's nearly monochromatic paintings in the Houston Chapel; Resnais's intensely self-contained, self-referential films Night and Fog and Muriel all seem to say, "I have little to show you, little to tell you, nothing to teach you." Bersani and Dutoit consider these works as acts of resistance; by inhibiting our movement toward them, they purposely frustrate our faith in art as a way of appropriating and ultimately mastering reality.
As this book demonstrates, these artists train us in new modes of mobility, which differ from the moves of an appropriating consciousness. As a form of cultural resistance, a rejection of a view of reality--both objects and human subjects--as simply there for the taking, this training may even give birth to a new kind of political power, one paradoxically consistent with the renunciation of authority. In its movement among these three artists, Arts of Impoverishment traces a new form of movement within art.
Presented in the form of ABC questions, Balthus: In His Own Words reveals the artist's personal universe. "B" for beauty, "H" for Homer, "M" for Mozart, "S" for SOS, Balthus takes us through his intimate thoughts and views on everything from Paris to Chinese calligraphy. Balthus (1908-2001) learned how to paint at the Louvre museum and in Italy. A figurative artist, he gained a reputation for his incisive style and incredible precision. Balthus sometimes spent years on one painting, obsessively observing and re-creating on canvas. Later, he focused on the nude, particularly adolescent girls, which fell halfway between innocence and perversion. As the last book written in his own words prior to his death, this work has even more significance. The artist's voice shines through, offering an authentic and personal perspective.
This book explores van Gogh's and Gauguin's conviction that the purpose of visual art in human culture is to communicate a spiritual understanding of existence comparable to the wisdom contained in the metaphors and parables of myths, religions, and literature. Monographic studies in the book, which entail many new interpretations of van Gogh's and Gauguin's imagery, reveal the ways in which their ideas and the specific events of their personal lives shaped their creation of meaningful symbolic motifs.
Shows and describes French paintings that were taken from Germany to Russia at the end of World War II and have not been exhibited since