The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn't alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.
Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others-no one knows the precise number-have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.
Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ-its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until shemeets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.
Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning "A Civil Action," The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. The fascinating details of Caravaggio's strange, turbulent career and the astonishing beauty of his work come to life in these pages. Harr's account is not unlike a Caravaggio painting: vivid, deftly wrought, and enthralling.
." . . Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller . . . rich and wonderful. . .in truth, the book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling nonfiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein (Harr's previous book, "A Civil Action," was made into a John Travolta movie), Harr doesn't plump up hi tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake. . .if you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk. . .[you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city, as when--one of my favorite moments in the whole book--Francesca and another young colleague try to calm their nerves before a crucial meeting with a forbidding professor by eating gelato. And who wouldn't in Italy? The pleasures of travelogue here are incidental but not inconsiderable." --"The New York Times Book Review"
"Jonathan Harr has taken the story of the lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste--and about the greed, envy, covetousness andprofessional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read." --"The Economist"
Michael Kimmelman, the prominent "New York Times" writer and a regular contributor to "The New York Review of Books," is known as a deep and graceful writer across the disciplines of art and music and also as a pianist who understands something about the artist's sensibility from the inside. Readers have come to expect him not only to fill in their knowledge about art but also to inspire them to think about connections between art and the larger world--which is to say, to think more like an artist. Kimmelman's many years of contemplating and writing about art have brought him to this wise, wide-ranging, and long-awaited book.
It explores art as life's great passion, revealing what we can learn of life through pictures and sculptures and the people who make them. It assures us that art--points of contact with the exceptional that are linked straight to the heart--can be found almost anywhere and everywhere if only our eyes are opened enough to recognize it. Kimmelman regards art, like all serious human endeavors, as a passage through which a larger view of life may come more clearly into focus. His book is a kind of adventure or journey.
It carries the message that many of us may not yet have learned how to recognize the art in our own lives. To do so is something of an art itself. A few of the characters Kimmelman describes, like Bonnard and Chardin, are great artists. But others are explorers and obscure obsessives, paint-by-numbers enthusiasts, amateur shutterbugs, and collectors of strange odds and ends. Yet others, like Charlotte Solomon, a girl whom no one considered much of an artist but who secretly created a masterpiece about the world before her death in Auschwitz, have reserved spots for themselves in history, or not, with a single work that encapsulates a whole life.
Kimmelman reminds us of the Wunderkammer, the cabinet of wonders--the rage in seventeenth-century Europe and a metaphor for the art of life. Each drawer of the cabinet promises something curious and exotic, instructive and beautiful, the cabinet being a kind of ideal, self-contained universe that makes order out of the chaos of the world. "The Accidental Masterpiece" is a kind of literary Wunderkammer, filled with lively surprises and philosophical musings. It will inspire readers to imagine their own personal cabinet of wonders.
Fixing the World: Jewish American Painters in the Twentieth Century (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life)
In France of the early twentieth-century, the term art nègre was as likely to refer to the black music and dance of America as to the sculpture of Africa. Indeed, music and dance, which both racial theorists and novelists portrayed as the "primitive" arts par excellence, were widely believed to exemplify the "genius" of blacks. In Le Tumulte noir, Jody Blake traces the profound impact African sculpture and African American music and dance had upon Parisian popular entertainment as well as upon avant-garde, modernist art, literature, and theater.
Through her discussion of the reception of ragtime and jazz, as well as other African visual and performing art forms, Blake provides new ways of understanding the development of modernist "primitivism," from Matisse and Picasso to Dada and Surrealism. She also demonstrates that the influence of art nègre went well beyond the art world. From the notorious cakewalk to the Charleston, African American idioms played a key role in shaping modern cultural, social, and political life.
What art is--its very nature--is the subject of this book by one of the most distinguished continental theorists writing today. Informed by the aesthetics of Nelson Goodman and referring to a wide range of cultures, contexts, and media, The Work of Art seeks to discover, explain, and define how art exists and how it works. To this end, Gérard Genette explores the distinction between a work of art's immanence--its physical presence--and transcendence--the experience it induces. That experience may go far beyond the object itself.Genette situates art within the broad realm of human practices, extending from the fine arts of music, painting, sculpture, and literature to humbler but no less fertile fields such as haute couture and the culinary arts. His discussion touches on a rich array of examples and is bolstered by an extensive knowledge of the technology involved in producing and disseminating a work of art, regardless of whether that dissemination is by performance, reproduction, printing, or recording. Moving beyond examples, Genette proposes schemata for thinking about the different manifestations of a work of art. He also addresses the question of the artwork's duration and mutability.
We all get dressed. But how often do we pause to think about what our clothes say? When we dress ourselves, we are presenting to the world an essence of who we are, who we want to be. Dressed ranges freely from suits to suitcases, from Marx's coat to Madame X's gown. Through art and literature, film and philosophy, philosopher Shahidha Bari unveils the surprising personal implications of what we choose to wear. The impeccable cut of Cary Grant's suit projects masculine confidence, just as Madonna's oversized denim jacket and her armful of orange bangles loudly announces big ambition. How others dress tells us something fundamental about them -- we can better understand how people live and what they think through their garments. Clothes tell our stories. Dressed is the thinking person's fashion book. In baring the hidden power of clothes in our culture and our daily lives, Bari reveals how our outfits not only cover our bodies but also reflect our minds.
This collection of essays constitutes the first history of modern Japanese aesthetics in any language. It introduces readers through lucid and readable translations to works on the philosophy of art written by major Japanese thinkers from the late nineteenth century to the present. Selected from a variety of sources (monographs, journals, catalogues), the essays cover topics related to the study of beauty in art and nature.The translations are organized into four parts. The first, The Introduction of Aesthetics, traces the formation of notions of beauty, culture, and art in Japan. It includes discussion of the creation of the museum in Japan and the frenetic efforts of Nishi Amane, Okakura Tenshin, Ernest Fenollosa, and Mori Ogai to introduce German, British, and French aesthetic thought to the Japanese. This is followed by three sections that examine the transformation of the aesthetic field into an academic discipline that flourished at three major Japanese universities. Aesthetics at Waseda University begins with an essay on the spiritualism and idealism of Onishi Hajime and continues with essays on the impact of German Lebensphilosophie (philosophy of life) on Shimamura Hogetsu and Takayama Chogyu, and work by the major Waseda aesthetician of the twentieth century, Aizu Yaichi. Thinkers of the Tokyo School adopted a scientific method in the study of art theory. Part 3, Aesthetics at the University of Tokyo, focuses on the ideas of Otsuka Yasuji (holder of the world's first Chair of Aesthetics), Onishi Yoshinori, Watsuji Tetsuro, Abe Jiro, Takeuchi Toshio, and Imamichi Tomonobu. The section concludes with a look at the contemporary philosopher Sakabe Megumi. The last section, Aesthetics at the University of Kyoto, includes essays on Nakagawa Shigeki and Fukada Yasukazu, pioneers in the field of aesthetics, and on the philosophy of art of the Kyoto School, which was deeply inspired by the thought of Nishida Kitaro. Finally the work of Kuki Shuzo, an influential teacher of Western philosophy at the University of Kyoto, is examined. A History of Modern Japanese Aesthetics is a companion volume to Modern Japanese Aesthetics: A Reader (UH Press, 1999).