Famous Works of Art-And How They Got That Way

Famous Works of Art-And How They Got That Way

by John Nici, Dennis Geronimus

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In a world filled with great museums and great paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the reigning queen. Her portrait rules over a carefully designed salon, one that was made especially for her in a museum that may seem intended for no other purpose than to showcase her virtues. What has made this portrait so renowned, commanding such adoration? And what of other works of art that continue to enthrall spectators: What makes the Great Sphinx so great? Why do iterations of The Scream and American Gothic permeate nearly all aspects of popular culture? Is it because of the mastery of the artists who created them? Or can something else account for their popularity?

In Famous Works of Art—And How They Got That Way, John B. Nici looks at twenty well-known paintings, sculptures, and photographs that have left lasting impressions on the general public. As Nici notes, there are many reasons why works of art become famous; few have anything to do with quality. The author explains why the reputations of some creations have grown over the years, some disproportionate to their artistic value. Written in a style that is both entertaining and informative, this book explains how fame is achieved, and ultimately how a work either retains that fame, or passes from the public consciousness.

From ancient artifacts to a can of soup, this book raises the question: Did the talent to promote and publicize a work exceed the skills employed to create that object of worship? Or are some masterpieces truly worth the admiration they receive? The creations covered in this book include the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, El Greco’s The Burial of Count Orgaz, Rodin’s The Thinker, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Picasso’s Guernica. Featuring more than sixty images, including color reproductions, Famous Works of Art—And How They Got That Way will appeal to anyone who has ever wondered if a great painting, sculpture, or photograph, really deserves to be called “great.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442249554
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/17/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
File size: 34 MB
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About the Author

John Nici is a professor of art history at Queens College in Flushing, New York.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dennis Geronimus
Chapter 1 The Great Sphinx: Beyond Human Understanding
Chapter 2 Tomb of Tutankhamen: Politics, Ethnic Pride, Hornets, a Dead Canary, and a Curse
Chapter 3 The Parthenon Sculptures: Lord Elgin and How Greece Lost Its Marbles
Chapter 4 The Apollo Belvedere: The Rise and Fall of The Apollo Belvedere
Chapter 5 Nike of Samothrace: The Victory of the Staircase
Chapter 6 Birth of Venus by Botticelli: Nothing Is Forever, Not Even Neglect
Chapter 7 Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci: You Never Know What a Smile Can Do
Chapter 8 Sistine Madonna by Raphael: The Most Perfect Picture in the World
Chapter 9 The Burial of Count Orgaz by El Greco: A Touch of Madness Goes a Long Way
Chapter 10 Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer by Rembrandt: Fame Available for a Price
Chapter 11 Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze: Or Perhaps, Washington Crossing the Rhine
Chapter 12 Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet: Success through Scandal
Chapter 13 The Thinker by Auguste Rodin: Fame Has Its Consequences
Chapter 14 Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh: Lost in a Starry Night
Chapter 15 The Scream by Edvard Munch: Scream, Indeed
Chapter 16 American Gothic by Grant Wood: All-American Gothic
Chapter 17 Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange: The Power of the Press
Chapter 18 Guernica by Pablo Picasso: Travels with Guernica
Chapter 19 Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup: Mmm Mmm Good
Chapter 20 The Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Maya Lin: The Triumph of Abstraction
About the Author

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