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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Human, so human., 2 Dec 2008
The catalogue for the current exhibition at the National Gallery in London, this book is a wonderful study of the art of portraiture in the Renaissance. Studying famous works by Van Eyck (the Arnolfini Betrothal), Holbein (the Ambassadors) or Raphael that belong to the museum, alongside lesser known works by the likes of Metsys (a wonderful pair of portraits from 1513, one -long a part of the National Gallery's collection- of an old woman, and its companion piece, an old man -probably her husband- which is in a private collection), Pontormo or Beccafumi, the book succeeds in placing the portraits in their historical context, explaining their role in Renaissance society and stressing the fact that many were painted based on oral description of the model or even by studying the corpse of the model, making the posthumous portrait a genre in its own right (as in the portrait of an old man with his famously ugly nose by Ghirlandaio).

Top-quality illustrations make this book a valuable addition to any fine arts library.
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