Titel: Portraits. A History
Verlag: Harry N. Abrams
Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Fine
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From its mythic beginnings - the tracing of a man's shadow to maintain his memory during a long absence - to present-day "portrayals" that are almost completely abstract, the genre of portraiture has had the unique goal of capturing, communicating, and documenting humankind's self-image through the ages. This sumptuous, oversized art treasury, with nearly 300 full-page reproductions of major works from museums all over the world, presents the history of Western portraiture, from its evolution in antiquity to its flowering in the Renaissance and Baroque eras to its transformation in modern times. The masters of the portrait - including Jan van Eyck, Leonardo, Raphael, Frans Hals, Hans Holbein, and Rembrandt - are all well represented, as are more recent practitioners of the genre such as Picasso, Chuck Close, and Gerhard Richter. Numerous stunning, close-up details provide an intimate view of the subjects depicted and invaluable information about the artists' techniques.
Art historian Andreas Beyer's well-researched and far-ranging text offers a fascinating overview of portraiture in all its manifestations: individual and group portraits; official and casual settings; sitters ranging from the famous to the anonymous; renderings of lovers, friends, and family; artists' powerful depictions of themselves; idealized visions along with warts-and-all realism. Through Beyer's vivid description of the portrait's artists, sitters, and contexts - artistic and political - we see how portraiture rose in status from the lowest rank in the hierarchy of genres to a legitimate and respected practice. Sometimes, as in the case of Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas, portraits would encompass the greatest masterpieces in a given artist's oeuvre. Thomas Gainsborough's The Blue Boy, Francois Boucher's Madame de Pompadour, John Singer Sargent's Madame X, Pablo Picasso's Gertrude Stein, and scores of other works by the most accomplished artists in portraiture illustrate, as the introduction states, "the seduction of everything human in the image." This volume is a celebration of a key aspect of our artistic heritage.
Andreas Beyer, one of the leading German art historians of his generation, is chair of the art history department at the Rheinisch Westfallische Technische Hochschule in Aachen, Germany. He has had fellowships at the Clark Institute in Williamstown, MA; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.
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