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EL GRECO TO VELAZQUEZ: Art During the Reign of Philip III
Bibliophile price: £22.50
Imported from the USA we have a 2008 rare Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University fine art publication. During the reign of Philip III of Spain (1598-1621) picture collecting became a fashion at court, through the importation of Italian and Flemish paintings, local commissions by foreign artists, and through travel by artists to and from Spain. This cross-pollination helped develop new stylistic currents and led to many iconographic innovations in early 17th century Spanish art. This 'new style of grandeur' is evident in the lace, armour and other indications of luxury and power found in the portraiture of the period as well as in the Duke of Lerma's camarin, a room evocatively recreated for an exhibition which featured Chinese and Iberian ceramics as well as Venetian and Catalan glass. Philip III known as 'Pious Philip' understood the power of art to assert the primary dogmas of the Catholic church in readily accessible imagery. It was a time of cultural and political vitality in the Spanish monarchy, where gala celebrations and building campaigns were the order of the day. The period saw the birth of a naturalistic style, the flourishing of still life, the humanising of saints, and the development of polychrome sculpture. This luxury book explores the careers of the mature El Greco and the young Velázquez and the work of lesser known and highly talented artists through 162 spectacular colour illustrations. There are kitchen scenes, fruit and vegetables, the Bishop of Cuenca (detail) making a basket by hand, Saint Francis venerating the crucifix, the saints Peter and Paul painted by Ribera, the bloodied and rope-tied Christ at Calvary by Vicente Carducho, portraits of monks, royalty, the tiny royals Philip IV and Ana 1607, the dark and brooding View of Toledo by El Greco and his Saint Martin and the Beggar, all show in exquisite close-up detail. Plus title pages from famous books like Don Quixote and superb essays by the senior curators of the exhibition. This book is definitely our Annie's favourite this month. 9¾" x 12¼".
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