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One Hundred Details from the National Gallery: From the National Gallery, London Hardcover – 18 Apr 2008
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"Surely the most entertaining art book of the season. . . . Lord Clark's . . . vast erudition is conveyed in an easy, conversational style that both informs us and makes us eager for more."--Eric Gibson, Wall Street Journal--Eric Gibson"Wall Street Journal" (12/12/2008)
"One Hundred Details" offers Kenneth Clark's personal choice of details of paintings in the National Gallery, London, and his responses to them. First published in 1938, when he was Director of the Gallery, Clark chose the pictures he liked best, in the hope that we will come to like them too.The details are arranged in pairs, enabling us to see analogies and contrasts between paintings that are rarely viewed together - a faun from Piero di Cosimo, a satyr from Rubens. The commentaries are Kenneth Clark at his best, ranging from a few lines to an entire history of still life between Giotto and Picasso. The easy style makes no attempt to conceal the breadth of the author's erudition: world history and world culture are taken at the gallop and with a smile.Clark insists that there are countless ways of enjoying paintings, provided we stop, look and think. He has picked the pictures to stop at; the details we should look at. His comments, wide in scope and broad in approach, suggest lines of thought so diverse that this book will strike a chord with every reader, whatever their interests.For this new edition of "One Hundred Details", brand new reproductions from the National Gallery's state-of-the-art digital collection have been made.This is lovingly reworked re-issue of the landmark title by Kenneth Clark, still renowned for Civilisation. It offers stunning details from his favourite paintings with his trademark commentary bring the art to life. It offers an enjoyable introduction to art history, and a fresh way of looking at the paintings. See all Product description
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One can then hear Clark's aristocratic warmth as one reads the little paragraphs that appear before/after the full page reproductions of noteworthy details in contrasting or complementary pairs of paintings. A beard here, a foot there, a distant landscape in a renaissance painting versus one from the baroque. The little girl on the front is paired with a town seen through a window behind a version of the Virgin & Child, and K. Clark humorously pretends she is looking through that window at something painters in her time and place couldn't yet achieve.
In short, this gives a fresh perspective on the National gallery collection and the act of looking at paintings in general.
So often one feels harassed and impatient when visiting a museum. The paragraphs in many an art book prove to be tedious, verbose, uninformative. So nice to buy one which is immune to these disappointments, and at such a nice price.
Just be sure you have the DVDs already mentioned.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book is more like a cozy chat than a lecture series. Really fun.