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What Makes a Masterpiece: Artists, Writers, and Curators on the World's Greatest Art
     

What Makes a Masterpiece: Artists, Writers, and Curators on the World's Greatest Art

by Christopher Dell (Editor)
 

The stories behind the paintings and sculptures that form our common artistic heritage, illustrated with superb reproductions of the works, as well as dozens of details and comparative works.What Makes a Masterpiece explores the most important works of art ever created, from the Chauvet Cave to Cézanne. It covers art from Africa to China, Japan to South and

Overview

The stories behind the paintings and sculptures that form our common artistic heritage, illustrated with superb reproductions of the works, as well as dozens of details and comparative works.What Makes a Masterpiece explores the most important works of art ever created, from the Chauvet Cave to Cézanne. It covers art from Africa to China, Japan to South and Central America, Persia to Sri Lanka, as well as a large selection of European works from Ancient Greece to Impressionism. Little-known treasures such as the Iberian Lady of Elche or a Maya relief from Palenque appear alongside well-loved classics such as Masaccio’s Expulsion of Adam and Eve or Degas’s Little Dancer, creating a fascinating and unique collection of groundbreaking and beautiful works.
The book brings together an impressive list of authors: artists such as Antony Gormley and Avigdor Arikha, writers including Marina Warner and Philip Pullman, and cultural figures like Germaine Greer and Quentin Blake appear alongside curators and directors from the Louvre, Prado, Museo di San Marco, Berlin Gemäldegalerie, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, British Museum, and the National Gallery, London. Intimate knowledge combines with unique insight (and some startling new interpretations) to create fresh analyses of these works, of as much interest to art historians as to the general reader.

Editorial Reviews

Masterpieces aren't just the great paintings we all know; the Rembrandts, Van Goghs, and Matisse that form the rudiments of our artistic vocabulary. Christopher Dell's What Makes A Masterpiece rejects the notion of any static canon; in its place, this profusely illustrated hardcover advances an interactive multicultural inquiry that challenges narrow cultural and aesthetic preconceptions. Drawing on the writings of artists, museum directors, and writers, he invites readers to view paintings and sculptures in more open, analytical ways. The book's 280 illustrations set the tone of this insightful visual adventure.

Library Journal
Generously illustrated with 265 color reproductions (285 illustrations total) and sporting dozens of details and comparative works, this publication explores the meaning of an art masterpiece mostly from a western European, multicultural perspective. According to Dell, a writer and art historian based in Barcelona, Spain, an art masterpiece, while a "beguiling" concept, exhibits various universal characteristics not limited to the manifestation of virtuosity, quality, emotionally evocative elements, traditional forms, and expressive aspects. Internationally renowned artists, art historians, curators, critics, writers, and museum directors describe their personal encounters with the greatest artworks worldwide. Including little-known treasures as well as classics, many but not all art forms are highlighted, showcasing works by great, obscure, and unknown artists and craftspeople. Completed by a selected bibliography and the contributors' biographies, this nicely presented publication is sufficiently documented. VERDICT Not encompassing the decorative arts and lacking art masterpieces created by U.S. artists and craftspeople, this book is not comprehensive. Still it will delight and inform many general readers, students, and museum professionals.—Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780500238790
Publisher:
Thames & Hudson
Publication date:
10/31/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.50(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Dell holds a degree in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute, London. He has written and edited several books on art and visual culture, including Freemasonry, Mythology,What Makes a Masterpiece, and Monsters: A Bestiary of the Bizarre.

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