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In 2017 the Salvator Mundi was sold at auction for $450m. But is it a real da Vinci? In a thrilling narrative built on formidable research, Ben Lewis tracks the extraordinary journey of a masterpiece lost and found, lied and fought over across the centuries. In 2017, Leonardo da Vinci's small oil painting, the Salvator Mundi was sold at auction for $450m. In the words of its discoverer, the image of Christ as saviour of the world is `the rarest thing on the planet by the greatest human being who ever lived'. Its dazzling price also makes it the world's most expensive painting. For two centuries art dealers had searched in vain for the Holy Grail of art history: a portrait of Christ as the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci. Many similar paintings of greatly varying quality had been executed by Leonardo's assistants in the first half of the sixteenth century. But where was the original by the master himself? In November 2017, Christie's auction house announced they had it. But did they? The Last Leonardo tells a thrilling tale of a spellbinding icon invested with the power to make or break the reputations of scholars, billionaires, kings and sheikhs. Lewis takes us to Leonardo's studio in Renaissance Italy; to the court of Charles I and the English Civil War; to Holland, Moscow and Louisiana; to the galleries, salerooms and restorer's workshop as the painting slowly, painstakingly, emerged from obscurity. The vicissitudes of the highly secretive art market are charted across five centuries. It is a twisting tale of geniuses and oligarchs, double-crossings and disappearances, where we're never quite certain what to believe. Above all, it is an adventure story about the search for lost treasure, and a quest for the truth.
A fascinating new history of art, this gloriously illustrated book reveals how materials, techniques, and ideas have evolved over the centuries, inspiring artists to create their most celebrated works. Covering a comprehensive array of topics, from the first pigments and frescos to linear perspective in Renaissance paintings, the influence of photography, Impressionism, and the birth of modern art, The Story of Painting follows each step in the evolution of painting over the last 25,000 years, from the first cave paintings to the abstract works of the last 100 years. Packed with lavish colour reproductions of paintings and photographs of artists at work and the materials they used, it also focuses on key paintings from each period to analyse the techniques and secrets of the great masters in detail. Immerse yourself in the pages of this beautiful book and find yourself dazzled by new colours; marvel at the magic of perspective; wonder at glowing depictions of fabric and flesh; understand cubism; and embrace abstraction. It will transform your understanding and enjoyment of paintings forever.
The Hamburg banker's son Aby Warburg (1866-1929) was one of the most influential art historians and cultural theorists of the 20th century. His life's work was devoted to tracing antique formulas of representation in the depiction of human passions in Renaissance art. For this epoch-spanning relationship, he developed the term `pathos formula' (Pathosformel). In a lecture given in 1905 in the Konzerthaus in Hamburg, focusing on the young Albrecht Durer's Death of Orpheus, Warburg outlined his thoughts in front of the original drawing, which he had borrowed from the rich holdings of the Kunsthalle in order to better illustrate his idea. This drawing, pivotal in the young artist's development as an ambitious response to classical antiquity, was displayed during the lecture alongside a group of engravings and woodcuts which included not only some of Durer's own seminal later prints, such as Melencolia I, but also engravings by Andrea Mantegna which Durer copied in 1494, the same year he drew the Death of Orpheus. Warburg's `pop-up exhibition' of eleven works has here been reconstructed and analyzed, using his fascinating lecture notes, sketches and slide lists. First developed by the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 2011, subsequently on view in Cologne in the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and now at The Courtauld Gallery, each institution has interpreted the material slightly differently, while retaining the core Warburg group. Aby Warburg aimed at unlocking the meaning of an art work by excavating its roots in its cultural context. By restaging his legendary display of 1905 with Durer's Death of Orpheus at its heart, the exhibition and accompanying book present some of the most skillful and ambitious works on paper ever produced and also seek to introduce into Warburg's rich intellectual universe to a broader public, hoping thereby to offer both sheer enjoyment and food for thought.
During the Tudor Age the South West was famed for the innovation and endeavor of its people. Devon sea dogs Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins sailed to `World's End' in their pursuit of treasure and glory, Exeter's Nicholas Hilliard produced exquisite miniature portraits of courtiers while fellow Exonian Thomas Bodley re-founded Oxford University's library, later named the Bodleian in his honor. These men lived during the religious turmoil and political intrigue of Elizabeth I's reign- a time of opportunity for the merchants and traders of Devon. Many grew rich on the fruits of overseas trade and expressed their new status through fashionable houses, fine furnishings, decoration and valuable personal possessions. The demand for goods was met by a network of local craft workers: plasterers, masons, carpenters, lace-makers and goldsmiths. Aspects of their lives are revealed in this book, published to accompany the fascinating exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, which will draw together paintings, artifacts and documents from galleries, museums and record offices to tell the story of the South West and its people set against the backdrop of one of the most,evocative periods in British history.
Accompanying a landmark exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery, this book examines the remarkable drawings made by Du rer as a young man from 1490 to 1495, especially those made during his journeyman years, or Wanderjahre - considered the final part of a craftsman's training - and a second shorter trip which immediately followed and seems to have brought the artist to Italy. These trips form the framework for the book, which focuses on the young artist's figure studies and has at its heart the Courtauld Gallery's double-sided drawing of a Wise Virgin and Two studies of the artist's left leg. This superbly ambitious work serves as a springboard to explore in depth the role of drawing at this stage of Du rer's career. It allows us to address a series of crucial questions: how Du rer formed `his hand', how he responded to artistic challenges presented by contemporary and earlier art (both on a stylistic and an iconographic level), how his pursuit of professional success was linked with the quest for an individual artistic identity, and how the strategy of recording his own creative achievements in drawings dovetails with his claim for a new status for the artist in his city. The scholarly and beautifully illustrated catalogue is introduced with five essays by distinguished experts. Stephanie Buck examines the documentary evidence and attempts to reconstruct the motivations and activities of Du rer's travels as a young man. David Freedberg discusses Du rer's obsessive observation and recording of himself in portraits and in studies of his limbs. These represent the first critical steps in the artist's developing understanding of the body, and of the ways in which its movements could not just show emotion, but rouse the equivalent sense of torsion, tension and pathos in the bodies and minds of his viewers. Stephanie Porras looks at Du rer's copies of drawings or prints circulating in Nuremberg workshops or acquired during the Wanderjahre, which were used as a means of seeking inspiration, of challenging himself to draw more sophisticated figures and dynamic compositions. Michael Roth asks the question of how the three strands of the art of the line- drawing, engraving and woodcut - structurally correspond in Du rer's work and, consequently, how drawing merges with certain manual aspects of printing. A final essay presents new technical research on Du rer's early drawings undertaken collaboratively in a number of leading collections of the artist's work, and aims to enrich our understanding of the young Du rer's approach to the medium of drawing.
Embark on a grand tour of art history with this guide to the story of art, and the big ideas and themes behind the world's most important artistic movements, artworks, and artists. The Art Book explores the more than 80 of the world's most groundbreaking artworks by history's most influential painters, sculptors, and artists with stunning visuals and insightful quotations. Discover key artworks and artists from across the globe, stretching from the prehistoric Altamira cave paintings and Chinese jade carvings to more impressionism, symbolism, cubism, and pop art. Understand the ideas that inspired masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Klimt, Matisse, Picasso, and dozens more, with The Art Book's fascinating overview of painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, conceptual art, and performance art, from ancient history to the modern day.
This sweeping overview of Rembrandt's extraordinary achievement as a draughtsman fills a gap in the otherwise enormous literature on the artist. Beautifully illustrated, mostly in colour, the more than 150 drawings - culled from a corpus of some 800 - are discussed in detail. The drawings span Rembrandt's entire productive life as an artist, from early self-portraits in the 1620s to late drawings from the 1660s of the victim of an execution, a state coach, and historical and mythological images. The scope of the book allows readers to delve into the very broad range of Rembrandt's oeuvre of drawings.
Combining high-quality production with magnificent fine art, this luxurious week-to-view pocket diary has a foil and embossed cover with magnetic closure. Featuring on its cover a beautiful design based on Leonardo da Vinci's evocative Head of the Virgin drawing, this diary makes a perfect gift or a special treat just for you.
Originally published in Dutch and translated to Spanish for the fourth centenary celebration of the death of El Greco in 2014, this book is a comprehensive study of the rediscovery of El Greco -- seen as one of the most important events of its kind in art history. The Nationalization of Culture versus the Rise of Modern Art analyses how changes in artistic taste in the second half of the nineteenth century caused a profound revision of the place of El Greco in the artistic canon. As a result, El Greco was transformed from an extravagant outsider and a secondary painter into the founder of the Spanish School and one of the principle predecessors of modern art, increasingly related to that of the Impressionists -- due primarily to the German critic Julius Meier-Graefe's influential History of Modern Art (1914). This shift in artistic preference has been attributed to the rise of modern art but Eric Storm, a cultural historian, shows that in the case of El Greco nationalist motives were even more important. This study examines the work of painters, art critics, writers, scholars and philosophers from France, Germany and Spain, and the role of exhibitions, auctions, monuments and commemorations. Paintings and associated anecdotes are discussed, and historical debates such as El Greco's supposed astigmatism are addressed in a highly readable and engaging style. This book will be of interest to both specialists and the interested art public.
'In this painting of Leonardo's there was a smile so pleasing that it seemed divine rather than human.' Often called "the first art historian", Vasari writes with delight on the lives of Leonardo and other celebrated Renaissance artists . Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574). Vasari's works available in Penguin Classics are Lives of the Artists Volume I and Volume II.
Think of the Renaissance and you might only picture the work of fine artists such as Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Van Eyck. Or architecture could spring to mind and you might think of St Peter's in Rome and the Doge's Palace in Venice. Or you might consider scientists like Galileo and Copernicus. But then let's not forget the contribution of thinkers like Machiavelli, Thomas More or Erasmus. Someone else, though, might plump for music or poets and dramatists - after all, there was Dante and Shakespeare. Because when it comes to the Renaissance, there's an embarrassment of riches to choose from. From art to architecture, music to literature, science to medicine, political thought to religion, The Renaissance expertly guides the reader through the cultural and intellectual flowering that Europe witnessed from the 14th to the 17th centuries. Ranging from the origins of the Renaissance in medieval Florence to the Counter- Reformation, the book explains how a revival in the study in Antiquity was able to flourish across the Italian states, before spreading to Iberia and north across Europe. Nimbly moving from perspective in paintings to Copernicus's understanding of the Universe, from Martin Luther's challenge to the Roman Catholic Church to the foundations of modern school education, The Renaissance is a highly accessible and colourful journey along the cultural contours of Europe from the Late Middle Ages to the early modern period.
The religious turmoil of the sixteenth century constituted a turning point in the history of Western Christian art. The essays presented in this volume investigate the ways in which both Protestant and Catholic reform stimulated the production of religious images, drawing on examples from across Europe and beyond. * Eight essays by leading scholars in the field * Brings art historians and historians into productive dialogue * Broad chronology, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century * Broad geographical coverage * Richly illustrated
During his reign, King Charles I (1600-1649) assembled one of Europe's most extraordinary art collections. Indeed, by the time of his death, it contained some 2,000 paintings and sculptures. Charles I: King and Collector explores the origins of the collection, the way it was assembled and what it came to represent. Authoritative essays provide a revealing historical context for the formation of the King's taste. They analyse key areas of the collection, such as the Italian Renaissance, and how the paintings that Charles collected influenced the contemporary artists he commissioned. Following Charles's execution, his collection was sold. This book, which accompanies the exhibition, reunites its most important works in sumptuous detail. Featuring paintings by such masters as Van Dyck, Rubens and Raphael, this striking publication offers a unique insight into this fabled collection.
A never-before-seen presentation of art and architecture from the Renaissance era, in elegant, informative, and engaging three-dimensional form. Accompanied by stunning art and ingenious pop engineering, Renaissance Art Pop-Up Book presents the talent and imagination of some of the most influential artists in history. Ranging from the influences of Gothic art on the early Renaissance to the culmination of High Renaissance, this book follows the appearance of new forms in religious and secular painting and the burgeoning use of groundbreaking techniques, such as perspective and narrative in painting; new innovations in architecture; and the unique genius of artists from all over Europe. The book features the most outstanding artists, art, and architecture of the period, including the frescoes of Giotto, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, and the works of Caravaggio, Botticelli, Titian, Durer, and Massacio, to name only a few. Innovative pop-ups include a working camera obscura; da Vinci's -flying machine-; Piero della Francesca's View of the Ideal City, with removable perspective lines; Brunelleschi's majestic Duomo in Florence; and a fold-out timeline of the Renaissance. Showcasing the artistic innovations of the era in interactive format, this book gives the reader a fresh perspective, thereby teaching the principles and history of the Renaissance in a new and unique way. Renaissance Art Pop-Up Book is a superb tour of the greatest achievements of the world's early masters, and is the perfect educational gift for art lovers of all ages.
`Kemp is a natural storyteller... This book leads you on a journey through the life, work and legacy of one of history's most intriguing figures.' The Times In an engaging personal narrative interwoven with historical research, Martin Kemp discusses a life spent immersed in the world of Leonardo, and his encounters with great and lesser academics, collectors and curators, devious dealers and unctuous auctioneers, major scholars and authors, pseudo-historians and fantasists. He shares how he has grappled with swelling legions of `Leonardo loonies', walked on the eggshells of vested interests in academia and museums, and fended off fusillades of non-Leonardos, sometimes more than one a week. Examining the greatest masterpieces, from the Last Supper to Salvator Mundi, through the expert's eye, we learn first-hand of the thorny questions that surround attribution, the scientific analyses that support the experts' interpretations, and the continuing importance of connoisseurship. Throughout, from the most scholarly interpretations to the popularity of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, we are reminded of Leonardo's unique genius and wonder at how an artist from 500 years ago continues to make such compelling posthumous demands on all those who engage with him.
At the turn of the fifteenth century, private devotionals became a speciality of the renowned Ghent-Bruges illuminators. Wealthy patrons who commissioned work from these artists often spared no expense in the presentation of their personal prayer books, or `books of hours', from detailed decoration to luxurious bindings and embroidery. This enchanting illuminated manuscript was painted by the Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary (known as the David Master), one of the renowned Flemish illuminators in the sixteenth century. Every page of the manuscript is exquisitely decorated. Fine architectural interiors, gorgeous landscapes and detailed city scenes, each one depicting a narrative, form the subjects of three full-size illuminations and forty-two full-page miniatures. There are floral borders on a gold ground or historiated borders in the Flemish and Italian style on every page. It is one of the finest examples of medieval illumination in a personal prayer book and the most copiously illustrated work of the David Master to survive. The manuscript owes its name to the French Queen, Marie de Medici, widow of King Henri IV. For a time she went into exile in Brussels, where she is thought to have acquired the manuscript before moving again to Cologne. An inscription in English states that she left the book of hours in this city, and it is here that an English manuscript collector, Francis Douce, may have acquired the book and eventually donated it to the Bodleian Library. Together with a scholarly introduction that gives an overview of Flemish illumination and examines each of the illustrations in detail, this full-colour facsimile limited edition, bound in linen with a leather quarter binding and beautifully presented in a slipcase, faithfully reproduces all 176 leaves of the original manuscript.
Leonardo Da Vinci is considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived, responsible for the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Madonna of the Carnation and Vitruvian Man. Leonardo was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer, and this captivating book provides the reader with a unique insight into the life and work of one of history's most intriguing figures. All of Leonardo Da Vinci's work is presented in this compact volume - from his paintings and frescos, to detailed reproductions of his remarkable encrypted notebooks. As well as featuring each individual artwork, sections of each are shown in isolation to reveal incredible details - for example, the different levels of perspective between the background sections of the Mona Lisa, and the disembodied hand in The Last Supper. 640 pages of colour artworks and photographs of Da Vinci's original notebooks, accompanied by fascinating biographical and historical details are here.
An authoritative history of art history from its medieval origins to its modern predicaments In this wide-ranging and authoritative book, the first of its kind in English, Christopher Wood tracks the evolution of the historical study of art from the late middle ages through the rise of the modern scholarly discipline of art history. Synthesizing and assessing a vast array of writings, episodes, and personalities, this original and accessible account of the development of art-historical thinking will appeal to readers both inside and outside the discipline. The book shows that the pioneering chroniclers of the Italian Renaissance-Lorenzo Ghiberti and Giorgio Vasari-measured every epoch against fixed standards of quality. Only in the Romantic era did art historians discover the virtues of medieval art, anticipating the relativism of the later nineteenth century, when art history learned to admire the art of all societies and to value every work as an index of its times. The major art historians of the modern era, however-Jacob Burckhardt, Aby Warburg, Heinrich Wo lfflin, Erwin Panofsky, Meyer Schapiro, and Ernst Gombrich-struggled to adapt their work to the rupture of artistic modernism, leading to the current predicaments of the discipline. Combining erudition with clarity, this book makes a landmark contribution to the understanding of art history.
For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory-the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain of events that began with his imprisonment on Malta and ended with his premature death-has long confounded historians. In a bravura performance, Andrew Graham-Dixon delves into the original Italian sources, presenting fresh details about Caravaggio's sex life, his many crimes and public brawls, and the most convincing account yet published of the painter's tragic death at the age of thirty-eight. With illuminating readings of Caravaggio's infamous religious paintings, which often depict prostitutes and poor people, Graham-Dixon immerses readers in the world of Italy at the height of the Counter-Reformation and creates a masterful profile of the mercurial painter's life and work.
Part of a series of exciting and luxurious Flame Tree Notebooks. Combining high-quality production with magnificent fine art, the covers are printed on foil in five colours, embossed then foil stamped. And they're powerfully practical: a pocket at the back for receipts and scraps, two bookmarks and a solid magnetic side flap. These are perfect for personal use and make a dazzling gift. This example is based on 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Vermeer.
Part of a series of exciting and luxurious Flame Tree Notebooks. Combining high-quality production with magnificent fine art, the covers are printed on foil in five colours, embossed then foil stamped. And they're powerfully practical: a pocket at the back for receipts and scraps, two bookmarks and a solid magnetic side flap. These are perfect for personal use and make a dazzling gift. This example is based on Leonardo da Vinci's 'Detail of the Head of the Virgin'.
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