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The Art of Lord Leighton [Paperback]

Christopher Newall
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1994

This volume embodies the essential critical overview of the works of Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-96): one of the most strongly praised and prominent artists in Victorian public life, with a fascinating personality behind his memorable career as an artist. His intricate figurative paintings - for which he has been immortalized in art history - reveal a subtly innovative and quietly absorbing combination of influences from a diversity of both ancient and classical sculpture, and painting.

The author of this tome focuses not solely on the actual paintings - deconstructing in detail their almost architectural and cinematic conceptions - but furthermore explains their context and their interesting reception by the Victorian public. The content of this book is punctuated by numerous illustrations of Lord Leighton's paintings and sculptures, as well as a selection of rare and relevant photographs.

Overall, this is the definitive monograph to Frederic, Lord Leighton - the artist, the public figure and the private person - comprising an insightful coverage of his career, and combining intellectual rigour in its content with aesthetic harmony in its presentation.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; New edition edition (1 Jan 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714829579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714829579
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 23.9 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,040,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'Newall's assessment of the work is full of fresh insights. He writes with refreshing enthusiasm and clarity.' (The Spectator)

About the Author

Christopher Newall is an independent scholar and writer, and the author of Victorian Watercolours, also published by Phaidon.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The colour reproductions of Leighton's paintings in this book are the worst I have ever seen. I accept that books cannot show a painting in anything other than an approximation of the real thing. However, this monstrosity of a book has nothing of the sort. For those who have seen the beautiful "Flaming June", you will know that the sky above the reclining figure is blue-just as the sky should be. But here we have nought but a muddy orange-brown sludge. In fact, the entire painting is rendered brown. Other reproductions fare a little better but not by much. I have "Flaming June" in several other books and all of them have faithfully reproduced colours. But the failings of this book don't end there. Almost half the pictures are printed in black and white. This is quite astonishing given that the book is published by Phaidon who can usually be relied on for quality. But not this time.
The selection of work chosen leaves out most of his more interesting paintings, such as The Siren, and gives us instead a fairly dull collection of portraits along with a few of the mythological paintings and some religious works plus the aforementioned Flaming June.
Christopher Newell has written a decent enough piece about Leighton but even that is not much more than a compressed biography with a fairly narrow focus.
Buy the book if you want to read a bit about Leighton but if you want a book of well printed paintings, look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reasonable profile of Leighton 13 Dec 2013
By Thomas Pots TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are very few profiles of Lord Leighton and his work, but this is not the best of them. The text is not bad; it's the choice and quality of the pictures that let it down. The images are of high resolution, but the colours of them are dull and generally on the brown side. This may explain why this book is a bargain when compared to the much more expensive a much better Frederic, Lord Leighton: Eminent Victorian Artist.

Putting its faults aside, the text is brief but informative, and ties in well with the accompanying images. There are some important pictures missing from the book, but at this price I would not expect to see an exhaustive catalogue of every picture. Overall, it's an honest book, which provides a broad introduction to the man and his work.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Grand Painter: A Victorian Icon 7 Sep 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lord Frederic Leighton stands at the top of the pinnacle of British art of the late nineteenth century. Though his images of dramatic, cloaked figures are easily recognizable, few art collectors or even museum visitors recognize the name of Lord Leighton. Now, with the resurgence of interest in this school of painting his name will certainly become more of a household word.

This slim though fine monograph is strong on images and less successful on information: Christopher Newell is a fine writer, he just wasn't given enough space to tell us much about the artist. Divided into sections - 'Outsider 1855 - 1864', 'Academician 1864 - 1878', and 'President of the Royal Academy 1878 - 1896' - Newell outlines the rise of this figurative artist and gives some insights as to his subject matter and influences.

But the beauty of this book is in the fine reproductions of his dramatic, grand, elaborate renderings of both historic and literary subjects. A bit on the kitsch side? Yes, but that was part of the Grand Victorian tradition. The paintings may be saccharine but oh, they are lovely to look at! Grady Harp, September 05
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, but could be more 10 Jun 2007
By wiredweird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The author states at the outset that Leighton's life has already been well documented, so only enough of his biography appears here to frame the context for his pictures. Instead, Newall chooses to analyze the art itself, which "... presents the world a hard, glossy carapace apparently designed to resist the critic's probe." Given this unpromising premise, I opted to study the pictures themselves, and dip only lightly into the text analyzing that which resists analysis.

The pictures themselves are easy to enjoy - skillful, classical, and carefully designed to appeal to Victorian tastes and to create a position for Leighton within the hierarchies of art and society. (He succeeded in both.) Many of this books reproductions honor his work beautifully, in lush color and fine printing, on bright, opaque paper. Those images generally make the most of the book's largish size,. As a result, the reader can enjoy much of Leighton's meticulous detail in rendering romanticized images of contemporary and classical topics.

Something like half of the reproductions, however, are black and white, undersized for the book's large format, and sometimes murky. The book chooses not to address Leighton's life, except tangentially, but under-represents the visual impact of his art, too. The large, lovely color reproductions are very enjoyable, but might not be enough to deliver the value that a reader might expect.

-- wiredweird
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great artist, but really bad copies of his work 18 Jun 2012
By M. Knowles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After seeing the Cult of Beauty exhibit in San Francisco, which featured some of the works shown in this book, I was shocked to see how poor the reproductions are in this book. The images are all very flat, and some of them don't even show the colors right. For example, in Flaming June, the blue in the sky is totally lost. Some quality loss can be blamed on the limitations of the printing process itself. However, we purchased the catalog for the exhibit, and many of the same prints are shown in that catalog with much better results.

Buy the book if you want to learn about his life and get a general idea of his work. But if you really like his work you'll be disappointed by this book.
2.0 out of 5 stars Few good reproductions 5 April 2014
By guitarmaker2010 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many black and white pictures. Not very useful.
Find a different copy that is in color. Im disappointed.
. .
3.0 out of 5 stars Its ok 17 Jan 2013
By james caffyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is the weakest of the Phaidon art books iv'e read. Pics aren't the best quality, the writing is dry and painfully slow to read. But still its a pleasure to have Leightons works in a book i can flick through now and then.
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