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Hang-Ups: Essays on Painting (Mostly) [Kindle Edition]

Simon Schama
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Pre-eminent author and art historian Simon Schama has written widely on art for many years to great acclaim. In Hang-Ups, a personal selection of his articles from, amongst others, The New Yorker, appears in Britain for the very first time. Brilliantly and lucidly written by one of the most singular voices in non-fiction, this volume of provocative and often idiosyncratic essays makes hugely satisfying reading for lovers of both art and social history. In contains pieces on artists as diverse as David Hockney, Rembrandt and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and on such subjects as the unforgettable peculiarity of Stanley Spencer. From the author whose writing has been called sublime and whose ability to bring art and history vividly to life has earned him admiration worldwide, Hang-Ups is Schamas rallying cry for the art lover to look at familiar works of art and their artists and embrace a new way of seeing.

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Review

Schama is an utter original, a showman whose wit and erudition outpace his academic rivals -- Andrew Marr, Daily Telegraph, 11th December 2004

From the Inside Flap

Pre-eminent author and art historian Simon Schama has written widely on art for many years to great acclaim. In Hang-Ups, a personal selection of his articles from, amongst others, The New Yorker, appears in Britain for the very first time.

Brilliantly and lucidly written by one of the most singular voices in non-fiction, this volume of provocative and often idiosyncratic essays makes hugely satisfying reading for lovers of both art and social history.

It contains pieces on artists as diverse as David Hockney, Rembrandt and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and on such subjects as the ‘unforgettable peculiarity’ of Stanley Spencer.

From the author whose writing has been called ‘sublime’ and whose ability to bring art and history vividly to life has earned him admiration worldwide, Hang-Ups is Schama’s rallying cry for the art lover to look again at familiar works of art and their artists – and embrace a new way of seeing.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2587 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Digital; New Ed edition (31 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041OT8Q8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #337,920 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of fourteen books, which have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt's Eyes; the History of Britain trilogy and Rough Crossings, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written widely on music, art, politics and food for the Guardian, Vogue and the New Yorker. His award-winning television work as writer and presenter for the BBC stretches over two decades and includes the fifteen-part A History of Britain and the eight-part, Emmy-winning Power of Art. The American Future: A History appeared on BBC2 in autumn 2008.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and edifying read 5 Feb. 2011
Format:Paperback
In this collection of essays, originally written for publications such as The New Yorker, Simon Schama gives us his take on a wide variety of artists ranging from the Dutch Masters right through to the giants of modernism. In the introduction he describes how, when writing these pieces, he set out to reach a middle-ground between purely 'formal' approaches to art criticism, which pay little attention to social, historical and economic factors involved in the artwork's production, and the type of criticism that analyses the historical and materialistic forces in shaping the work, but which sidesteps any discussion of actual aesthetics. Schama believes we can give a more complete account of an artist's work by combining both approaches and so in these pieces we duly find a good dose of history and talk about the personal lives of the artists, as well as substantial passages devoted to the techniques, qualities and visual effects of the works of art in question. In fact, he weaves these strands together very effectively, on the whole; the history, not surprisingly from Schama, is erudite and (crucially) illuminating, and the discussion of the works themselves is always interesting and keenly perceptive. Schama's knowledge of the technical processes of making different art works is apparent and which, importantly, is never just mentioned for its own sake, but rather to explain or clarify the types of experience or sensation they help elicit in the viewer.

Stylistically, as the blurb rightly says, the writing is quite 'idiosyncratic', mixing together academic speak and breezy, colloquial phraseology, which makes for a type of art criticism that is both assured and lively.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baked buttock of British Beef 12 Sept. 2012
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a BBC book, but if there was a programme associated with it I missed it. In any case it is mostly essays about various exhibitions held in the late 90s up to around 2004. Most of these were Metropolitan or abroad so I suppose I wasn't alone. Prof. Schama begins with anecdotes about his lunchtimes at the Courtauld. "Art," he says, "Begins with resistance to loss." I wondered how true that is. Didn't the cave men draw their animals partly to record their existence? Theirs and the animals, I would think. Perhaps with a belief that drawing them would make them appear again? Art, I am inclined to think, was more a matter of hunger, mixed with magic, perhaps, more art must have given the power of reflection. On the next page Mr Schama puzzles me again with a claim that art replaces seen reality rather than reproduces it. I'm not sure that makes any more sense than his first claim. I tend to the idea that we re-live what we have seen, through the beauty and power of thought and memory. It tends to be the simpler explanation (Occam's Razor) that provides the most likely answer. The notion of having to replace anything is redundant. I should pass on quickly because no one wants to read a refutation of something they haven't read themselves. I forgave Schama everything when he introduced me to Michiel Sweerts, a Dutch painter I had never heard of before.

Sweerts (who lived in Delft) worked as a painter in Rome before coming back to prepare for an evangelical mission to China. He and his companions were following the teachings of the austere Vincent St Paul. He proved to be a great trial for his companions because he could not stop talking and somewhere between Isfahan and Tabriz in the summer of 1662 there was a parting of the ways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schama's Artistry 14 Aug. 2011
By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Simon Schama is as great an art critic as historian; he brings his historian's knowledge to art and writes with passion and beauty on both.
In a challengingly entitled essay on Stanley Spencer, "The Church of Me", he tackles the visionary complexities and stylised paintings of this unique artist and his place in the art world. The tongue-in-cheek" pun, "True Grid", begins a fascinating essay on Piet Mondrian, an artist not fully appreciated and "conversion to the creed" takes time.

The startling range is as follows:

Dutch Games: Sweerts, Rembrant, Goltzius, Vermeer
British Eyes: Lawrence, Rowlandson, Hogarth, Spencer
Modern Eyes: Homer, Trompe l'Oeil Painting, Photograohy, Schiele, Soutine, Mondrian
Fresh Marks: Hockney, Close, Kelly, Rwombly, Henriques, Brenner, Kiefer, Goldsworthy
Fixtures: Renaissance Armour, Salons and Cellars, Mackintosh, Haute Coutoure,
Dutch Fashion

It makes a great companion to his later book, "The Power of Art".

Recommended
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