READING ART: Art for Book Lovers

READING ART: Art for Book Lovers

DAVID TRIGG    Book Number: 89952    Product format: Hardback

Paintings of books and reading by over 250 artists make this volume a sheer delight, particularly as there is an emphasis on women and the cultural implications of the literate woman. From the first century AD we have a fresco from Pompeii depicting a woman holding wax tablets, thoughtfully placing a stylus to her lips. A 17th century painting of a sorceress shows her casting a spell with a necromantic book open in front of her, while her off-the-shoulder dress suggests other kinds of freedom. Women are sometimes depicted reading naked, emphasizing the transgressive qualities of book-learning, while the Virgin Mary is frequently shown reading the Bible in a Protestant insistence on direct access to biblical revelation. The effigy of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine at Fontevraud unusually shows her reading a book. A 16th century portrait of the Renaissance scholar Laura Battiferri by Bronzino emphasizes her aquiline profile, possibly suggesting an intellectual kinship with Dante, who is seen among his books on the facing page deep in study as imagined by Signorelli. The Reformation scholars Calvin and Luther are portrayed with their books, while Durer's famous engraving of Erasmus locates the Humanist in his library. Artists who have painted gorgeous young women reading include Fragonard in the 18th century and C E Perugini in the 19th, both favourites on greetings cards. Victorian gentlemen liked to be depicted in their libraries, and Carl Spitzweg's "The Bookworm" shows an elderly man standing at the top of library steps absorbed in a book. Duranty's portrait of a worried-looking Degas depicts him hemmed in by books, while in some darker paintings books are burned or associated with the devil. 14.6 x 21.2cm, 352pp, colour reproductions on most pages.
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Published price: £24.95
Bibliophile price: £7.48

Additional product information

ISBN 9780714876276
Browse these categories as well: Literature & Classics, Art & Architecture, Books About Books

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