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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amor Vincit Omnia, 15 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance (Hardcover)
Jonathan Jones is the art critic on the Guardian newspaper. He writes well. The title accurately summarises the contents. The author takes us from the early Renaissance of 15th century Florence to the Baroque of later 17th century Amsterdam. Chapters are arranged chronologically, each dealing with one or two artists. The format is the same throughout - short relevant biographical notes and a look at great works by great painters/sculptors. Rembrandt, Botticelli, Rubens, Leonardo, Titian, Raphael and many other are considered.
The essence of the book is that the Renaissance allowed sensuality into art and, to paint sensually, the artist had to be alive to sexual attraction and eroticism. Some cases are so obvious you wonder however anyone could have thought otherwise - Caravaggio's St John the Baptist and Donatello's David. With others the influence is less immediate but as expounded here clear enough. I don't think the author reduces everything to sex. He does provide an alternative view to those who have seen the Renaissance in terms of line and colour, or monumentalism and lyricism. His analysis is quite subtle, too. He shows the representation of married love by Rubens, and the guilt of Durer in Reformation Nuremberg. He demonstrates how Judith and Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi differs from other treatments of that subject, because she was a woman and because she had been sexually assaulted.
There are some reproductions, but not that many, and in a Kindle format quite small. I needed a PC to hand to google up images.
I think it is a great book. There is a chapter of suggestions for further reading - and many will I think take advantage of this. It gives something else to consider when looking at the greats in the National Gallery.
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The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance
The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance by Jonathan Jones (Hardcover - 23 May 2013)
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