Great Paintings of the Western World opens with the Paleolithic cave paintings of Spain and France, rough images of animals, humans, and intriguing symbols that mark the birth of Western art and moves to the majestic paintings on the temples, tombs, and sarcophagi of ancient Egypt. Exquisite vases with pictorial renditions of the adventures of gods, goddesses, and heroes, all depicted in realistic, human form, preserve forever the humanist spirit of classical Greece, while the wall paintings, mosaics, and other ...
Great Paintings of the Western World opens with the Paleolithic cave paintings of Spain and France, rough images of animals, humans, and intriguing symbols that mark the birth of Western art and moves to the majestic paintings on the temples, tombs, and sarcophagi of ancient Egypt. Exquisite vases with pictorial renditions of the adventures of gods, goddesses, and heroes, all depicted in realistic, human form, preserve forever the humanist spirit of classical Greece, while the wall paintings, mosaics, and other works of art of the Roman Empire display an unmatched breadth, incorporating a wealth of styles from far-flung lands. Readers will discover the creations of such immortal artists as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Botticelli, and Titian, as well as the remarkable paintings of Jan van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Durer, and other masters of the Northern Renaissance. The complex, often extravagant art of the Baroque and Rococo periods is represented in works by Caravaggio, Boucher, Rembrandt, and Vermeer, among others. The paintings of Neoclassicists like Jacques-Louis David mirror the renewed interest in the aesthetic and philosophical legacy of the Classical period, an influence apparent not only in the orderly composition of the works, but in the very subject matter. The romantic fascination with the interior landscape and in nature at its most primal shaped the works of artists from Goya and Delacroix on the continent to John Constable and John Turner in England, to Americans like Thomas Cole, Frederick Church, and Albert Bierstadt, who sought to capture the richness of an American landscape already disappearing in the wake of industrialization and westward expansion. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, rebelling against Romanticism toward the end of the century and beyond, focused on reality: Courbet shocked the public with paintings that competed with photographic images; Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh brilliantly reproduced the actual effects of li
Despite the grand title, this is a mindless compilation, subjective, as any would be, e.g., Thomas Hoving's Greatest Works of Art of Western Civilization (LJ 10/15/97). The three authors, who received advanced degrees in art hisotry from Columbia University or the Free University in Berlin, draw on the collections represented by Art Resource, a photo rights agency in New York, to present 300 fairly predictable "great" works. They don't actually limit themselves to paintingsancient Roman mosaics and Greek vases and Renaissance frescoes are includedand the organization juxtaposes artists, nationalities, and schools of painting. The text is scant, uneven, and without thesis, and the images adequate. A big book, a short review: skip it.Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib.
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Between the covers of this book, the full panorama of Western art springs to life in more than 600 full-color images, each one a rich, resonant expression of beauty and imagination. Beginning with the breathtaking prehistoric cave paintings of Altamira and Lascaux and the murals, mosaics, and delicately painted artifacts of the classical world, this breathtaking guided tour transports us through the ages--from the Christian-centered art of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance masterpieces of Michelangelo and Hieronymus Bosch; to the romantic landscapes of Goya, Delacroix, and Turner; and to luminous Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Degas. Finally we arrive at our own eclectic century, where artists as brilliantly diverse as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Andy Warhol, and Lucien Freud have left their mark. Sweeping in scope and masterfully designed, this astonishing bargain of a book samples the full spectrum of artistic expression and provides elightening insights into the development of Western culture. 9 1/2" x 13".