Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Art of Arts: Rediscovering Painting Paperback – Oct 23 2001


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 37.05 CDN$ 10.70

Up to 90% Off Textbooks

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (Oct. 23 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520229649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520229648
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 3.2 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,577,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

The lovingly crafted little tome The Art of Arts might become a cult classic if there are enough Jan van Eyck fans out there--or enough readers who can chew their way through 775 footnotes--to make this work of special genius even an underground bestseller. It is filled with delectable details (for example, that an image of a mill in a landscape connotes a wanton woman, complete with a page of explanations why) and myriad perspicacious observations. In discussing such masterworks as van Eyck's Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, author Anita Albus draws the reader into a vanished world of alternative perspectives, painterly depths of color and atmosphere, and the mesmerizing minutiae of late-medieval and Renaissance symbolism. The last chapter of the book, "Of Lost Colors," combines metallurgy, history, meticulous scholarship, and the author's passionate comprehension of colors in a discussion of antique pigments and their physical properties and pictorial uses.

The book's mostly paragraph-long sentences may put off some readers, and the warm, wry, even sly prose--its liveliness, in other words--may raise the hackles of the dowdy art-historical crowd (not the stylish, open-minded one). But this miniaturist's view of the northern Renaissance will copiously reward those who peruse it slowly, especially artists. Although it is possible to become lost in some chapters, as Albus tiptoes unhurriedly toward some arcane, elusive point, in the end it's hard to resist the sort of book that declares of the late 17th century: "Research into arthropods was in the air." This volume is a work of art, complete in itself, meticulously ordered according to the artist's unique vision, and handsomely "framed" by a sensitive designer. --Peggy Moorman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Painter and writer Albus (The Botanical Drama) has translated writings by the Goncourt brothers into German, and has illustrated books, including one by Claude L?vi-Strauss. This seems to have been insufficient preparation for tackling the present project, an examination of how the invention of oil painting by Jan van Eyck and his followers changed human perception. Secondary sources, particularly the great Erwin Panofsky, are quoted so heavily as to almost overshadow the project, especially since Albus's own reflections are often banal. We are told, for example, that on seeing van Eyck's Madonna of Chancellor Rolin at the Louvre Museum, "you have to rub your eyes." The prose is often redundant. In one instance, a kind of paint is called "a senile dotard." Some of this may be clumsy translation, which also refers to a "thick-as-a-fist black eye," but observations such as "[j]ust as not all art is art, not all science is science" don't help. Discussions of some painters less well known than van Eyck, such as still-life masters Georg Flegel, Johannes Goedaeart and Otto van Schriek, are somewhat more engaging, and in the last 60 pages, painters' colors are described in some detail and to some point. These pages might have made an interesting short book or pamphlet, instead of a welcome respite from a tedious treatise. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have recommended this book to several people and now it is available in paperback! It contains many nuggests of information a traditional oil painter will treasure. For example, the lapis lazuli-based pigment used by Van Eyck in his paintings contained tiny flecks of stone which added richness and sparkle to the paint. It was also irregularly ground and refracts light differently than the modern homogeneous synthetic "ultramarine blue" pigment available today. It was precious in Van Eyck's time, but today lapis lazuli ultramarine is more costly than gold per ounce. Albus devotes much of the book to historical pigments and shares recipes for making them.
My complaint with the book is that it is a strangely-shaped volume (it is extremely narrow and tall) and is uncomfortable to hold. Still, the early chapters on Van Eyck's paintings and the historical pigments will entice painters interested in effects not possible with modern pigments.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Traditional painters and Van Eyck fans will love this book! Sept. 11 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have recommended this book to several people and now it is available in paperback! It contains many nuggests of information a traditional oil painter will treasure. For example, the lapis lazuli-based pigment used by Van Eyck in his paintings contained tiny flecks of stone which added richness and sparkle to the paint. It was also irregularly ground and refracts light differently than the modern homogeneous synthetic "ultramarine blue" pigment available today. It was precious in Van Eyck's time, but today lapis lazuli ultramarine is more costly than gold per ounce. Albus devotes much of the book to historical pigments and shares recipes for making them.
My complaint with the book is that it is a strangely-shaped volume (it is extremely narrow and tall) and is uncomfortable to hold. Still, the early chapters on Van Eyck's paintings and the historical pigments will entice painters interested in effects not possible with modern pigments.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In Praise of Painting Dec 22 2012
By M. Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to know what painting was, the story is here. How pigments were ground and mixed. What is lapis lazuli and why the color never fades. Why some green pigments age to brown. How many layers of paint and glaze are to be found in Van Dyke's portrait of the Arnolfinis. You might be interest to read that discussion of perspective in the Arnolfini predates by tens of years Hockney's discovery of flaws, so-called. If you want to make your own pigments, recipes from the 16th century are here too.
A gorgeously idiosyncratic work of art Jan. 24 2011
By B. Burgess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Only in the narrowest sense can The Art of Arts be said to be a scholarly work about Northern European painting. A blend of aesthetics, visual art, natural science, myth, poetry, and arcana, I can only think that Ms. Albus immersed herself so completely in the age she studies that she emerged a magus. More than simply beautifully designed and written, the Art of Arts is a joy to the eye and mind--a work of art to be savored as art, the expression of a unique consciousness that can be appreciated only when viewed in its entirety.
Excellent writing, beautiful design Jan. 13 2014
By leon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Albus is biased no doubt, but we don't have to agree with everything she said. Anyway, most of the things she said are spot on, if not eye opening. All artists (esp painters) should read this book.
The design of the book is equally exquisite - great typography and layout. Full colour reproduction of the paintings in question inserted in the book, some with fold-out.
Cool Book Dec 13 2012
By I. Speakthetruth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading this book, very nice insight into the art world. Would make a nice gift for the art lover too.


Feedback