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Masters of Art: Van Dyck [Hardcover]

Alfred Moir
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 3 1994 Masters of Art
Alfred Moir, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Caravaggio, also in the Masters of Art Series, has written a compelling study of the seventeenth-century Flemish painter and his oeuvre. It is illustrated with 81 black-and-white reproductions of works by Van Dyck and influential works by other painters, notably Rubens and Titian. Forty full-page color-plates are each accompanied by a commentary about the work, its genesis, its meaning, and its place in Van Dyck's oeuvre.

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From Publishers Weekly

Famous for his so-called "swagger portraits" of 17th-century European noblemen, Van Dyck (1599-1641) is most often seen as a courtier interested only in flattering the rich and famous of the baroque era. For the artist's quadricentennial last year, British author Blake (Mind Over Medicine; Fat Man's Shadow) produced this more sympathetic life of the painter, now published in the U.S., recasting the relatively few facts that are known about the painter's life. The book is divided into three sections based on the artist's first name as it changed with his locale: early years in Antwerp as Antoon; apprentice years in Italy as Antonio; and finally England, where Van Dyck became Sir Anthony, a commercial and artistic success painting the Stuarts. Blake is not an art historian, and his book often goes out on speculative limbs, particularly in positing romantic relationships for Van Dyck with models, for which definitive documentation does not exist. He relies heavily on secondary sources, but chooses them well, making for a lively if sometimes overly romantic narrative of the artist among the fabulously wealthy and powerful, reaching a sad climax when Van Dyck dies (of what remains unknown) just as his young wife gives birth to their first child. The bibliography helpfully lists ISBNs whenever possible, and includes the address of Blake's personal Web site devoted to Van Dyck (www.vandyck.co.uk) as well as those of numerous sites where photos of the artist's work may be seen. Scholars, however, would be better served by Christopher Brown's less excitable study. 3 inserts of b&w reproductions. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

While there is no dearth of scholarly literature about the great Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, there has been no recent attempt at a comprehensive English-language accounting of his life and art. Unfortunately, the need for an accessible and up-to-date synthesis has not been satisfied by Blake's mostly wrongheaded opus. Relying on a tenuous foundation of questionable psychological theorizing and little historical evidence, the author invents Van Dyck as a psychically wounded, mother-grieving, father-conflicted, sexually and religiously repressed genius. Having manufactured the artistic personality he requires, the novelist-author (e.g., Fat Man's Shadow) not unsurprisingly finds these personal qualities manifested within a significant portion of the artist's oeuvre. The poverty of the formal articulation of the works themselves, the inadequate appreciation of the crosscurrents of contemporary art and taste, the tendency to enlard with trivia, and the grossly inadequate illustrations all combine to make this an unessential work.
-Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
Robin Blake's Anthony Van Dyck could also have been featured in our arts section but is a powerful biographical sketch which should not be missed by any interested in biographical history. Van Dyck was a portrait painter who saw his own works passed over in favor of his contemporaries, although they were compared to Titian and Rubens. Blake examines Van Dyck's life and art with an eye to revealing the underlying influences on his works; in the process imparting a fine bit of history. Recommended for any student of portraiture.
Diane C. Donovan Reviewer
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! April 25 2000
Format:Hardcover
This is by far the best bio on van Dyck in print today. I purchased it a year ago, from Amazon UK, and am very glad to see it available in the States. If you have the catalog from either the recent show in London or the Washington DC show from '90, use the images from that to go with Robin's text and you're in for a real treat. Bravo Robin!
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! April 25 2000
By Darren R. Rousar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is by far the best bio on van Dyck in print today. I purchased it a year ago, from Amazon UK, and am very glad to see it available in the States. If you have the catalog from either the recent show in London or the Washington DC show from '90, use the images from that to go with Robin's text and you're in for a real treat. Bravo Robin!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for students of portraiture. May 9 2000
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Robin Blake's Anthony Van Dyck could also have been featured in our arts section but is a powerful biographical sketch which should not be missed by any interested in biographical history. Van Dyck was a portrait painter who saw his own works passed over in favor of his contemporaries, although they were compared to Titian and Rubens. Blake examines Van Dyck's life and art with an eye to revealing the underlying influences on his works; in the process imparting a fine bit of history. Recommended for any student of portraiture.
Diane C. Donovan Reviewer
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