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Item Number: 128018
Title: Sculpture and Coins : Margarete Bieber as Scholar and Collector
Author: Arnold-Biucchi, Carmen ; Martin Beckmann (eds)
Record created on 11/17/2013
Description: Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018. 23cm., hardcover, 148pp. illus.
Summary: This volume addresses the question of the relation between sculpture and coins—or large statuary and miniature art—in the private and public domain. It originates in the Harvard Art Museums 2011 Ilse and Leo Mildenberg interdisciplinary symposium celebrating the acquisition of Margarete Bieber’s coin collection. The papers examine the function of Greek and Roman portraiture and the importance of coins for its identification and interpretation. The authors are scholars from different backgrounds and present case studies from their individual fields of expertise: sculpture, public monuments, coins, and literary sources. Sculpture and Coins also pays homage to the art historian Margarete Bieber (1879–1978) whose work on ancient theater and Hellenistic sculpture remains seminal. She was the first woman to receive the prestigious travel fellowship from the German Archaeological Institute and the first female professor at the University of Giessen. Dismissed by the Nazis, she came to the United States and taught at Columbia. This publication cannot answer all the questions: its merit is to reopen and broaden a conversation on a topic seldom tackled by numismatists and archaeologists together since the time of Bernard Ashmole, Phyllis Lehmann and Léon Lacroix.
(Loeb Classical Monographs, 16)
Item Number: 146623
Title: Rire en images à la Renaissance
Author: Bodart, Didier ; F. Alberti (eds)
Record created on 08/30/2017
Description: Turnhout: Brepols, 2018. 28cm., pbk., 552pp., 214 color, 76 b&w illus. Papers presented at a conference organized by Centre allemand d'histoire de l'art, Paris, 7-10 March 2012.
Contents: Daniel Ménager, Les plaisirs du rire dans la littérature de la Renaissance ; Francesca Alberti, Diane H. Bodart,Introduction ; Bert W. Meijer, Dessins grotesques et ridicules sur le support des peintures (XIV e-XVI e siècles) ; Valérie Boudier, Rire de la mauvaise humeur avec Bartolomeo Passerotti ; Diane H. Bodart, Pour une proto-histoire de la caricature politique ; Sandra Cheng, Ridiculous Portraits - comic ugliness and early modern caricature ; Francesco Porzio, Per il linguaggio del comico figurativo - il lessico metaforico delle "pitture ridicole" ; Michel Hochmann, 'Des bizarreries de chat et d'autres fantaisies' - le chat dans les tableaux comiques de la Renaissance ; Thomas Fusenig, Hans von Aachen, laughter and early Italian Genre Painting ; Philippe Morel, Rire avec les grotesques à la Renaissance ; Malcolm Jones, Facete and befitting pictures - humour in the prints and paintings of the English Renaissance, c.1550-c.1650 ; Paolo Procaccioli, Santa Nafissa. Per una tipologia della scrittura d'arte en comique ; Emmanuelle Hénin, Des peintures comiques malgré elles - à propos d'une distinction de Paleotti ; Patricia Simons, Dicks and stones - double-sided humour in a maiolica dish of 1536 ; Tommaso Mozzati, Ridere a bocca piena. La Compagnia del Paiuolo e le sculture di cibo ; Maurice Brock, Quelques enfants amusants dans la peinture religieuse de Lorenzo Lotto ; Angelica Tschachtli, Un sourire qui intrigue - les expressions faciales du buste funéraire de Leonardo Salutati par Mino da Fiesole ; Francesca Alberti, Ridente Redentore - le rire de l'Enfant-Jésus dans l'art italien de la Renaissance ; José Emilio Burucúa, Juegos de niños y conocimiento adulto en el Renacimiento europeo ; Dennis Geronimus, Northern Exposure - Pontormo, Dürer and the humor of the body ; Henri Keazor, Unexplained Laughter - The role of humor, wit and laughing in the painterly reform of the Carracci ; Elinor Myara Kelif, Traditions burlesque et populaire du mythe de l'âge d'or chez Pieter Bruegel et Bernard Salomon ; Nicola Suthor, Braccelli's Bizzarie - a distinctive form of Commedia dell'Arte ; Paul Barolsky, Smiles of delight and pleasures of play in Italian Renaissance art.
(The Body in Art)
Item Number: 148752
Title: Restoration: The Fall of Napoleon in the Course of European Art, 1812-1820
Author: Crow, Thomas
Record created on 04/24/2018
Description: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018. 27cm., hardcover, 208pp., 160 color illus.
Summary: As the French Empire collapsed between 1812 and 1815, artists throughout Europe were left uncertain and adrift. The final abdication of Emperor Napoleon, clearing the way for a restored monarchy, profoundly unsettled prevailing national, religious, and social boundaries. In Restoration, Thomas Crow combines a sweeping view of European art centers—Rome, Paris, London, Madrid, Brussels, and Vienna—with a close-up look at pivotal and significant artists, including Antonio Canova, Jacques-Louis David, Théodore Géricault, Francisco Goya, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Thomas Lawrence, and forgotten but meteoric painters François-Joseph Navez and Antoine Jean-Baptiste Thomas. Whether directly or indirectly, all became linked in a new international network in which changing artistic priorities and possibilities emerged from the ruins of the old. Crow examines how artists of this period faced dramatic circumstances, from political condemnation and difficult diplomatic missions to a catastrophic episode of climate change. Navigating ever-changing pressures, they invented creative ways of incorporating critical events and significant individuals into fresh artistic works. Crow discusses, among many topics, David’s art and pedagogy during exile, Ingres’s drive to reconcile religious art with contemporary mentalities, the titled victors over Napoleon all sitting for portraits by Lawrence, and the campaign to restore art objects expropriated by the French from Italy, prefiguring the restitution controversies of our own time.
(The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, 62)
Item Number: 149781
Title: Conversano nel Medioevo : Storia, arte e cultura del territorio tra IX e XIV secolo
Author: Curzi, Gaetano (et al)
Record created on 01/25/2019
Description: Roma: Campisano, 2019. 22cm., pbk., 332pp., 20 color, 160 b&w illus.
Contents: La ragioni del convegno, Maria Antonella Madonna, Maria Cristina Rossi - Il territorio di Conversano nell’Alto Medioevo, Daniela Uva - La cattedrale di Conversano in età angioina, Maria Teresa Gigliozzi - Decorazioni esterne a mosaico in Terra di Bari tra XI e XII secolo: il caso di San Benedetto a Conversano, Margherita Tabanelli - Il chiostro piccolo di San Benedetto a Conversano. Appunti sulla decorazione scultorea. - Maria Antonella Madonna - La chiesa di Santa Caterina fuori le Mura di Conversano: dal ‘mito’ orientale al contesto regnicolo - Antonino Tranchina - L’organizzazione della rete ecclesiastica nel territorio di Bari in età bizantina (IX-XI secolo) - Donatella Nuzzo - L’architrave istoriato della chiesa di San Benedetto a Brindisi: un problema iconografico - Teodoro De Giorgio - Il diavolo in mutande: metafora giudiziale ed enciclopedismo sul portale della cattedrale di Bisceglie - Valentino Pace - Frammenti di Pollice dalla cattedrale di Bitonto, Maurizio Ficari - Il portale della cattedrale di Altamura. La scultura nel contesto del Trecento pugliese - Maria Cristina Rossi - Produzione e importazione nella scultura lignea in Puglia tra XIII e XIV secolo: qualche spunto per una mappatura - Pierluigi Leone de Castris - La decorazione pittorica della chiesa di San Biagio presso San Vito dei Normanni, Stefania Paone - Ordini di Terrasanta a Brindisi: tracce materiali e documentarie, Gaetano Curzi - Documenta, Monumenta. Le Commende e i Baliaggi dell’Ordine di Malta in Puglia come sistema culturale territoriale dal Medioevo ad oggi, Valentina Burgassi, Valeria Vanesio - La scultura della cattedrale di Zara e della chiesa di San Crisogono a Zara tra IX e XVI secolo, Ivan Josipovic´ - Il convegno “Conversano nel Medioevo”. Conclusioni e prospettive di ricerca, Stefano Riccioni.
(Saggi di storia dell'arte, 56)
Item Number: 115567
Title: Van Dyck's Hosts in Genoa : Lucas and Cornelis DE WAEL's Lives, Business Activities and Works
Author: Stoesser, Alison
Record created on 09/27/2011
Description: Turnhout: Brepols, 2018. 2 vols. 27cm., hardcover, 1028pp., 40 color, 683 b&w illus. English text
From the review by Timothy Standring in The Burlington, February 2019: "(...) scholars will benefit from Stoesser’s exacting analysis of precisely how artists navigated the commercial and creative aspects of marketing their works to clients – especially in Genoa – during the first half of the seicento. Few other authors go to the effort of explaining the foundations of artistic practice on a commercial level, to outline the main tenets of the theoretical discourse that subsumed the creation of many of these works, or of reviewing arcane source material (the reader learns, for example, that it took over one hundred different motions to load a musket, information cited to substantiate the accuracy of details in Cornelis’s military works."
Summary: Long overshadowed by the brilliance of their close friend, Anthony van Dyck, Lucas and Cornelis de Wael, active as artists and dealers in Antwerp, Genoa and Rome, have largely been ignored in Flemish art historical literature. No monograph on them has appeared since 1925. This book aims to rectify this situation by giving a global overview of their wide-ranging pursuits. However, before assessing their personal histories it first examines the historical context, particularly with respect to the 17th-century art market in these three cities, with special attention given to its structure in Genoa, so far neglected in surveys of the Italian markets. A fresh appraisal of information from archival and other sources in each city has been undertaken to give a revealing up-to-date insight into their lives, trading activities in goods ranging from art works to second-hand clothing and hides, as well as their extensive network of friends and clients stretching from the Northern Netherlands to Sicily, including their close business association with the prominent Flemish art dealer Matthijs Musson and the Moretus family, owners of the Plantin-Moretus publishing house. Their own contribution to the art world is not neglected, with a full discussion of their works and an accompanying catalogue raisonné, which, in Cornelis de Wael’s case, includes his extensive oeuvre of paintings, drawings and prints. In addition, the De Wael brothers’ crucial function as hosts to Dutch and Flemish artists in both Genoa and Rome, with Van Dyck being the most famous, is also considered, while Cornelis de Wael’s not inconsiderable role in making Rembrandt’s prints known in both cities in his capacity as an art dealer is brought into focus. Despite the relative obscurity of his works till now, the sometimes unexpected influence of these on other artists from as far apart as the Northern Netherlands and Spain is also given careful attention.
(Pictura Nova, 19)
Item Number: 148979
Title: The Art of Allusion : Illuminators and the Making of English Literature, 1403-1476
Author: Drimmer, Sonja
Record created on 05/23/2018
Description: Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. 27cm., hardcover, 368pp., 27 color, 97 b&w illus.
Summary: At the end of the fourteenth and into the first half of the fifteenth century Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and John Lydgate translated and revised stories with long pedigrees in Latin, Italian, and French. Royals and gentry alike commissioned lavish manuscript copies of these works, copies whose images were integral to the rising prestige of English as a literary language. Yet despite the significance of these images, manuscript illuminators are seldom discussed in the major narratives of the development of English literary culture. The newly enlarged scale of English manuscript production generated a problem: namely, a need for new images. Not only did these images need to accompany narratives that often had no tradition of illustration, they also had to express novel concepts, including ones as foundational as the identity and suitable representation of an English poet. In devising this new corpus, manuscript artists harnessed visual allusion as a method to articulate central questions and provide at times conflicting answers regarding both literary and cultural authority. Sonja Drimmer traces how, just as the poets embraced intertexuality as a means of invention, so did illuminators devise new images through referential techniques—assembling, adapting, and combining images from a range of sources in order to answer the need for a new body of pictorial matter. Featuring more than one hundred illustrations, 27 of them in color, The Art of Allusion is the first book devoted to the emergence of England's literary canon as a visual as well as a linguistic event.
Item Number: 149403
Title: The McCarthy Collection Vol I: Italian and Byzantine Miniatures
Author: Freuler, Gaudenz
Record created on 08/08/2018
Description: London: Holberton, 2018. 30cm., hardcover, 304pp., 250 color plates.
Summary: This handsomely produced publication is the first of a two volume set exploring an outstanding collection of leaves and miniatures from medieval manuscripts. Brimming with beautiful illustrations, this welcome contribution to medieval scholarship covers a period from the late 9th to the late 15th centuries and incorporates new discoveries in this still growing field.
The turbulent times when Napoleon’s troops were sweeping over Europe under the banner of secularization, seeking to suppress ecclesiastical influence within the sphere of political power, had disastrous consequences especially for ecclesiastical libraries, which were broken up and looted. The Italian religious houses had their cultural treasures destroyed or moved out of context and spread all over the world to satisfy a growing market for medieval art. These fatal years (1796–99) coincide with a major interest in early Italian painting, when French and English connoisseurs joined their Italian colleagues in a systematic study of early Italian art, producing fundamental studies on the subject.
Essentially the deplorable practice of breaking up manuscripts and liturgical books was not all that different from the inglorious process of dismembering giant medieval altarpieces, whose single pieces were made available to a growing market and, consequently, dispersed among different collections. Thus, in the present day, one of the major tasks of the art historian is the attempt to reassemble these fragments and present them in virtual reconstructions, reconstituting their original context. By doing this, scholars create the foundation for any further art-historical analysis of a work of art. This task is one of the important objectives in cataloguing the present collection.
The miniatures and single leaves in the McCarthy collection, which has been formed in the past two or three decades – between 1990 and today – are manifestly the fruit of the destructive, but at the same time a conservational effort. Even though assembled in relatively recent years, the McCarthy collection stands in line with many similar anthologies of miniature in private or public hands. However, by contrast to other similar collections, the McCarthy collection has not limited its focus just on one school of European illumination, the Italian centres of illumination, but aims to present a vast panorama of this sophisticated art, which, to use Dante’s words, was called ‘illumination’ (‘... quell arte ch’alluminar chiamata è in Parisi’; Purgatorio, XI, 79–80). The present volume is dedicated to the holdings of single leaves and miniatures from medieval Italian manuscripts, which cover a period from the late 9th to the late 15th centuries, and are enriched by a few Byzantine items, appropriately included here and discussed by Georgi Parpulov. The focus on late 13th- and early 14th-century illumination in the collection demonstrates McCarthy’s predilection for the medieval and early Gothic world, which also becomes apparent in his holdings of French and German illumination, to be discussed by Peter Kidd in volume II, to be announced shortly.
Item Number: 146886
Title: Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment: French Art from The Horvitz Collection
Author: Hyde, Melissa ; Mary D. Sheriff ; Alvin L. Clark, Jr
Record created on 10/02/2017
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Description: Boston: The Horvitz Collection, 2017. 28cm., pbk., 208pp., 145 illus., most in color.
Summary: Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment: French Art from The Horvitz Collection is primarily an exhibition of drawings, but will include pastels, paintings and sculptures selected from one of the world’s best private collections of French drawings. The exhibition will feature more than 150 works by many of the most prominent artists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century, including Antoine Watteau, Nicolas Lancret, François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, as well as lesser-known artists both male and female, such as Anne Vallayer-Coster, Gabrielle Capet, François-André Vincent, Philibert-Louis Debucourt. Ranging from spirited, improvisational sketches and figural studies, to highly finished drawings of exquisite beauty, the works included in the exhibition vary in terms of style, genre and period.
Becoming a Woman will be organized into thematic sections that address some of the most important and defining questions of women’s lives in the eighteenth century. These include: how the stages of a woman's life were measured; what cultural attitudes and conditions in France shaped how women were defined; what significant relations women formed with men; what social and familial rituals gave order to their lives; what pleasures they pursued; and what work they accomplished. The aim is to bring new insights to the questions of what it meant to be a woman in this period, by offering the first exhibition to focus specifically on representations of women of a broad range of ages and conditions.
The exhibition will offer fresh perspectives on a subject that still has direct relevance to our times, but that has not been the focus of a significant exhibition for decades. Through its conceptual framework, thematic organization and its emphasis on historical context, the exhibition will provide viewers opportunities to consider what issues pertaining to women’s lives seem to have changed or persisted through time and across space. Although the circumstances and the specifics have changed, many issues remain with us today and can still provoke contentious debates. Pay equity, reproductive rights, gender-discrimination, violence against women, work-family balance, the ‘plight’ of the alpha-female, and the devaluation of the stay-at-home mom, are but a few of the women’s issues that are still hotly contested in the media, in cultural production of all kinds, in politics, and in public and private life.
Item Number: 148489
Title: Martin Lister and His Remarkable Daughters: The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century
Author: Roos, Anna Maria
Record created on 03/22/2018
Description: Oxford: Bodleian Library, 2018. 24cm., hardcover, 224pp., 46 color, 33 b&w illus.
Summary: A royal physician and fellow of the Royal Society, Martin Lister was an extraordinarily prolific natural historian with an expertise in shells and mollusks. Disappointed with the work of established artists, Lister decided to teach his daughters, Susanna and Anna, how to illustrate images of the specimens he studied. The sisters became so skilled that Lister entrusted them with his great work, Historiæ Conchyliorum, assembled between 1685 and 1692. This first comprehensive study of conchology consisted of more than one thousand copperplates of shells and mollusks collected from around the world. Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters reconstructs the creation of this masterwork, presenting original drawings, engraved copperplates, draft prints, and photographs of the finished books. Susanna and Anna portrayed the shells of this collection not only as curious and beautiful objects, but also as specimens of natural history, rendering them with sensitivity and keen scientific empiricism. Beautiful in their own right, their illustrations and engravings reveal the early techniques behind scientific illustration and offer fascinating insight into the often hidden role of women in the scientific revolution.
Item Number: 149663
Title: FILIPPO RUSUTI e la Madonna di San Luca in Santa Maria del Popolo : Il restauro e la nuova attribuzione di un capolavoro medievale romano
Author: Tomei, Alessandro ; Simona Antellini
Record created on 10/30/2018
Description: Milano: Silvana, 2018. 24cm., pbk., 64pp., 25 color illus. Exhibition held at Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo, Roma .
Summary: L'icona di Santa Maria del Popolo, raffigurante la Madonna con il Bambino, sin dal Tardo Medioevo è stata leggendariamente ritenuta dipinta dall'evangelista Luca il quale, secondo la tradizione, sarebbe stato il primo ritrattista della Vergine. Il magistrale restauro dell'opera ha portato alla nostra conoscenza una ben diversa realtà storica; sono state infatti scoperte parti di un'iscrizione, occultata con una spessa vernice nera già in tempi antichi, nella quale è sicuramente riconoscibile la firma di Filippo Rusuti, uno dei più importanti mosaicisti e pittori romani, attivo tra gli ultimi decenni del Duecento e i primi del Trecento. Il nome di questo maestro appare come sottoscrizione anche nella fascia del mosaico di facciata della basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, eseguito entro il 1297 e oggi in parte occultato da una loggia settecentesca. Insieme a Pietro Cavallini e Jacopo Torriti, Rusuti fu protagonista della svolta classicista della pittura a Roma nella seconda metà del XIII; dopo il trasferimento del papato ad Avignone, il maestro concluse la sua carriera in Francia al servizio del re Filippo il Bello, con la prestigiosa qualifica di pictor regis.
Item Number: 146340
Title: From Siena to Nubia : Alessandro Ricci in Egypt and Sudan, 1817-22
Author: Salvoldi, Daniele (ed., trans.)
Record created on 07/31/2017
Description: Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2018. 28cm., hardcover, 480pp., 104pp. color illus.
Summary: Alessandro Ricci, born in Siena, Italy, traveled extensively throughout Egypt and Sudan between 1817 and 1822. He worked as an epigraphist for Giovanni B. Belzoni in the tomb of Seti I and later visited and documented Siwa (1820), Sinai (1820), and Nubia (1818-19 and 1821-22). Ricci wrote a long account of all his journeys and reworked a series of ninety plates into striking form, yet failed to publish either. From Siena to Nubia is the English-translated critical edition, with notes and introductory chapters, of Ricci's travel account.
Contents: Alessandro Ricci and His Travels - 1. Tuscany, Egypt, Ricci, and the First Steps of Egyptology - 2. Alessandro Ricci: Early Life, Personality, and Cultural Background - 3. Travels in Egypt and Sennar (1817-22). Second Voyage to Upper Egypt with Baron von Minutoli (December 1820-February 1821) - 4. With Champollion and Rosellini between Europe and Egypt - Work on the Manuscript, Research for a Publisher, and Acquaintance with Champollion - 5. The Archaeological, Anthropological, and Natural History Collections - 6. The Travels: Topics and Problems. The Plates: Sources and Descriptions - 7. Identifying the Drawings for the Intended Plates - 8. List of Plates. The Manuscript of the Travels - 9. Note on the Original Manuscript, the Typewritten Copy, and the Present Edition - 10. Travels of Doctor Alessandro Ricci of Siena: Made in the Years 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822 in Nubia, to the Temple of Jupiter-Amun, Mount Sinai, and Sennar.
Item Number: 149767
Title: PIERRE SUBLEYRAS e l'abate miniatore Felice Ramelli : Un ritratto per i musei reali di Torino
Author: Morandotti, Alessandro ; Gelsomina Spione
Record created on 01/11/2019
Description: Milano: Officina Libraria, 2018. 29cm., pbk., 53pp. illus., most in color.
Summary: Pierre Subleyras (1699-1749) è stato uno dei più importanti esponenti del classicismo della prima metà del XVIII secolo, grazie a una pittura che seppur monumentale è essenziale nei gesti e contenuta nei sentimenti. La notevole fama raggiunta è testimoniata dalla prestigiosa commissione della Messa di San Basilio per San Pietro (oggi in Santa Maria degli Angeli, Roma). Vincitore del Prix de Rome, fu quindi pensionato dell’Accademia di Francia, e sposatosi con una miniaturista romana, Maria Felice Tibaldi, rimase nell’Urbe fino alla sua morte. Gli storici dell’arte italiana hanno trascurato Pierre Subleyras a causa della sua patria d’origine e della sua formazione artistica. D’altro canto per i francesi, la sua carriera è essenzialmente romana, e la sua opera si iscrive pienamente nello sviluppo della pittura italiana della prima metà del XVIII secolo. Il Ritratto dell’abate Felice Ramelli, recentemente acquisito dalla Galleria Sabauda (Musei Reali di Torino), è stato definito da Pierre Rosenberg come “uno dei più bei ritratti del XVIII secolo, sia in Italia che in Francia”. Piemontese di nascita (Asti, 1666), il Ramelli si fece monaco in Vercelli, dove gli fu maestro di miniatura il confratello Danese Rho. Abate di Santa Maria Nova ad Asti, fu chiamato a Roma da Clemente XI Albani, che lo nominò abate di San Giovanni in Laterano. La sua fama di artista è legata ai ritratti in miniatura, conservati in diversi musei italiani (Bologna, Torino, Padova). Questa attività di ritrattista in miniatura è ben evidenziata nello splendido ritratto che ne fece Subleyras. La bellissima veste bianca dell’agostiniano contrasta con il fondo scuro nel quale si intravedono due ritratti appesi al muro. Un terzo, quello di un alto prelato, è tenuto dallo stesso abate, affiancato dalla tavolozza e appoggiato a una pila di libri.
Item Number: 148932
Title: WHISTLER and nature
Author: de Montfort, Patricia ; Clare Willsdon
Record created on 05/16/2018
Description: London: Holberton, 2018. 26cm., pbk., 120pp., 60 color illus. Exhibition held at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park.
Summary: The Anglo-American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903) is a household name - a man who inspired and astonished the Victorian world. Less well known, though, is the influence of nature on Whistler's work. This innovative and compelling study reconsiders Whistler's work from the context of his military service and his relationship with 'nature at the margins', showing how Whistler's observation of nature and its moods underpinned his haunting visions of nineteenth-century life. This innovative and compelling study reconsiders Whistler's work from the context of his military service and his relationship with 'nature at the margins'. Whistler came from a family of soldiers and engineers; his father, Major George Washington Whistler, was originally a US military engineer. Drawing and mapmaking were important components of the military training that Whistler acquired as an officer cadet at West Point Academy in 1851-4 and subsequently in the Drawing Department at the US Coast and Geodetic Survey, where he attempted to realise his father's hopes that he would make engineering or architecture his profession. These influences in turn shaped Whistler's attitude towards nature, as expressed in works ranging from his celebrated London 'Nocturnes' to his French coastal scenes - all of which were created after Whistler moved permanently to Europe in 1855.
Whistler's close observation of nature and its moods underpinned his powerful and haunting visions of nineteenth-century life. His images explore the contrasts between the natural and man-made worlds: rivers and wharves, gardens and courtyards, the ideal and the naturalistic. And his singular vison was always defined by his enduring affinity with the makers of railways, bridges and ships, the cornerstones of Victorian wealth and trade. Influenced by Rembrandt, Whistler's early etchings of London are notable for their focus on line and topographical accuracy. From the 1860s, his enthusiasm for Japanese art, too, influenced his attitude to perspective and spatial relations between objects. This led him, in his London Nocturnes, to reduce the external world before him to its bare bones. Whistler's smoky images of warehouses, bridges, harbours and tall ships were designed to showcase a new kind of productive, wealth-generating landscape. It is a view of nature constrained by man-made structures: the shadowy outline of the warehouses and chimneys on the far shore; the mast and rigging of a Thames barge in the middle distance. This absorbing book reassesses a familiar and notoriously colourful artistic figure in a fascinating and pertinent new light, and is an important new contribution to our understanding of the Victorian art world and its physical context.
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