The Great Masters of the Albertina Paperback – 28 Feb 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The only odd thing about the book is that there is no index. The drawings are arranged roughly by date and school so it is possible but can be difficult to find specific artists (for example, I was recently looking for images by Andrea del Sarto and spent a good few minutes before I could be sure there aren't any of his drawings in this book). However, this is a minor quibble and otherwise this is an absolutely excellent catalogue. Highly recommended.
I've been collecting books on drawing for a few years and bought this title because there's every indication the Albertina has an impressive collection. They do. There's plenty of works I hadn't seen before which were jaw-droppingly good. Even from masters such as Raphael.
If you are interested in drawing put this at the top of the list.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book starts by detailing the soul searching in the Albertina with falling visitor numbers ,lack of exhibition space,lack of space to store their many precious items etc. The Albertina has had an extensive make over.
They have now restored the State Rooms and tracked down some 200 items of furnishings that left the building at the close of WWI .these rooms are open to the public and there are some excellent photos of these rooms.
There is a history of the collection which covers the founder Duke Albert but also all his successors up to the end of WWI .There is also a good essay on the Building This helps one understand there changes in the building and the Staterooms
The basis of the book is around 290 drawings including some watercolours. Most of the great names are there.See the description above for some of the artists. There is a beautiful set of Durer watercolours,multiple items by Michealangelo and Raphael etc etc. You can compare how different artists render the same object eg R Savery vs Rembrandt's elephant, you can compare the many different portraits (Rubens tender portraits of his wife and son vs many others. You can see the effect of using pen and ink vs silverpoint or red chalk etc or the use of tinted paper or the use of wash.
Many different different types of scene are covered, landscape,seascape,interiors,tavern scenes etc
About 60 per cent of the item cover from from 1500 till about 1800 with reasonable modern coverage.
As the coverage is from 1500 till the present then there are obvious gaps ( the Swiss born Fuseli was the only British artist I noted) There is a reasonable selection of American artists That said,the editor and his team have made a excellent selection of drawings the showcase the strengths of the Albertina and introduce people to both well known and less well known artists
The format of each description is text on on side with the illustration on the next page. There is a description of technique/provenance and literature
This is followed by a paragraph summary of the artists life then comments on the piece under discussion.this is written in clear ,understandable prose. The illustrations are of high quality
The work is a translation from the original German. I think it is well done
As you will note from the Amazon description the book is fairly tall and pretty heavy at nearly 9 pound
The book doesn't open flat but usually this isn't a problem
Bottom line. This is a beautiful book of drawings by many of the great artists.The drawings are beautifully reproduced and worth the value of the book alone. For those that want to know more there is the text and an extensive bibliography
If you are in Vienna you may wish to check the Albertina out. As drawings are very light sensitive each exhibition is only short lived so check the web site
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