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Edward Hopper. Light and Dark

In his works, Hopper poetically expressed the solitude of man confronted with the American way of life as it developed in the 1920s. Inspired by the movies and particularly by the various camera angles and attitudes of characters, his paintings expose the alienation of mass culture. Done in cold colours and inhabited by anonymous characters, Hopper’s paintings also symbolically reflect the Great Depression. Through a series of different reproductions (etchings, watercolours, and oil-on-canvas paintings), as well as thematic and artistic analysis, the author sheds new light on the enigmatic and tortured world of this outstanting figure.

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Paul Klee

An emblematic figure of the early 20th century, Paul Klee participated in the expansive Avant-Garde movements in Germany and Switzerland. From the vibrant Blaue Reiter movement to Surrealism at the end of the 1930s and throughout his teaching years at the Bauhaus, he attempted to capture the organic and harmonic nature of painting by alluding to other artistic mediums such as poetry, literature, and, above all, music. While he collaborated with artists like August Macke and Alexej von Jawlensky, his most famous partnership was with the abstract expressionist, Wassily Kandinsky.

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Russian Painting

From the 18th century to the 20th, this book gives a panorama of Russian painting not equalled anywhere else. Russian culture developed in contact with the wider European influence, but retained strong native intonations. It is a culture between East and West, and both influences in together. The book begins with Icons, and it is precisely Icon-painting which gave Russian artist their peculiar preoccupation with ethical questions and a certain kind of palette. It goes on the expound the duality of their art, and point out the originality of their contribution to world art. The illustrations cover all genres and styles of painting in astonishing variety. Such figures as Borovokovsky, Rokotov, Levitsky, Brullov, Fedatov, Repin, Shishkin and Levitan and many more are in these pages.

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Hans Memling

Little is known of Memling’s life. It is surmised that he was a German by descent but the definite fact of his life is that he painted at Bruges, sharing with the van Eycks, who had also worked in that city, the honour of being the leading artists of the so-called ‘School of Bruges’. He carried on their method of painting, and added to it a quality of gentle sentiment. In his case, as in theirs, Flemish art, founded upon local conditions and embodying purely local ideals, reached its fullest expression.

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Caravaggio

After staying in Milan for his apprenticeship, Michelangelo da Caravaggio arrived in Rome in 1592. There he started to paint with both realism and psychological analysis of the sitters. Caravaggio was as temperamental in his painting as in his wild life. As he also responded to prestigious Church commissions, his dramatic style and his realism were seen as unacceptable. Chiaroscuro had existed well before he came on the scene, but it was Caravaggio who made the technique definitive, darkening the shadows and transfixing the subject in a blinding shaft of light. His influence was immense, firstly through those who were more or less directly his disciples. Famous during his lifetime, Caravaggio had a great influence upon Baroque art. The Genoese and Neapolitan Schools derived lessons from him, and the great movement of Spanish painting in the seventeenth century was connected with these schools. In the following generations the best endowed painters oscillated between the lessons of Caravaggio and the Carracci.

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Greek Sculpture

Greek Sculpture is probably the most well known aspect of Greek art, for a contemporary it expresses the most beautiful ideal and plastic perfection. It is the first of the Ancient Arts that looked to free itself from the imitative constraints, of the faithful representation of nature. Only a small part of the production of Greek Sculpture is known to us. Many of the masterpieces described by Antique literature are henceforth lost or badly damaged, and a large part, we know are copies, more or less skillful and faithful to the Roman era. Many have been restored by Western Sculptors, from the Renaissance to nowadays, and often in a meaning very different from the original work: a discobolous is thus turned into a dying gladiator, this god received the attributes of another, the legs of this statue are transplanted to the torso of this other one.

“The soul of Greek Sculpture contains in it all sculpture. Its essential simplicity, defies all definition. We can feel it, but we can not express it. ‘Open your eyes, study the statues, look, reflect and look again,’ is the perpetual perception of anyone who wants to learn or know about Greek Sculpture.”

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Taiwan Art & Civilisation

Taiwan's specific situation in Asia is the source of its thorn past. Situated in the South East of China, Taiwan was at the crossroads of many maritime routes and squeezed between its neighbors, China and Japan. After centuries of foreign occupation, Taiwan has a unique history. Taiwan, Art and Civilization sheds light on Taiwan's beautiful scenery as well as its colorful history in the form of a true initiatory trip. Through magnificent illustrations, Taiwan reveals its secret beauty, its fauna and flora intertwined with its unique architecture. Home of the traditional and the modern, the gorgeous island is also the home of a very dynamic artistic scene. One thus fully grasps why the Portuguese named her Ilha Formosa, beautiful island.

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Erotic Fantasy

Numerous and diverse points of view come together in this work, demonstrating the multiple aspects that sexuality can present. If nothing is more natural than sexual desire, it is nothing less than the forms by which this desire is expressed and found to satisfy. This book invites you on a special journey, into the universe of emotion, of pleasure and desire.

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Fra Angelico

Secluded within cloister walls, a painter and a monk, and brother of the order of the Dominicans, Angelico devoted his life to religious paintings. Little is known of his early life except that he was born at Vicchio, in the broad fertile valley of the Mugello, not far from Florence, that his name was Guido de Pietro, and that he passed his youth in Florence, probably in some bottegha, for at twenty he was recognised as a painter. In 1418 he entered in a Dominican convent in Fiesole with his brother. They were welcomed by the monks and, after a year’s novitiate, admitted to the brotherhood, Guido taking the name by which he was known for the rest of his life, Fra Giovanni da Fiesole; for the title of Angelico, the “Angel,” or Il Beato, “The Blessed,” was conferred on him after his death. Henceforth he became an example of two personalities in one man: he was all in all a painter, but also a devout monk; his subjects were always religious ones and represented in a deeply religious spirit, yet his devotion as a monk was no greater than his absorption as an artist. Consequently, though his life was secluded within the walls of the monastery, he kept in touch with the art movements of his time and continually developed as a painter. His early work shows that he had learned of the illuminators who inherited the Byzantine traditions, and had been affected by the simple religious feeling of Giotto’s work. Also influenced by Lorenzo Monaco and the Sienese School, he painted under the patronage of Cosimo de Medici. Then he began to learn of that brilliant band of sculptors and architects who were enriching Florence by their genius. Ghiberti was executing his pictures in bronze upon the doors of the Baptistery; Donatello, his famous statue of St. George and the dancing children around the organ-gallery in the Cathedral; and Luca della Robbia was at work upon his frieze of children, singing, dancing and playing upon instruments. Moreover, Masaccio had revealed the dignity of form in painting. Through these artists the beauty of the human form and of its life and movement was being manifested to the Florentines and to the other cities. Angelico caught the enthusiasm and gave increasing reality of life and movement to his figures.

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Andrea Mantegna and the Italian Renaissance

Mantegna; humanist, geometrist, archaeologist, of great scholastic and imaginative intelligence, dominated the whole of northern Italy by virtue of his imperious personality. Aiming at optical illusion, he mastered perspective. He trained in painting at the Padua School where Donatello and Paolo Uccello had previously attended. Even at a young age commissions for Andrea’s work flooded in, for example the frescos of the Ovetari Chapel of Padua. In a short space of time Mantegna found his niche as a modernist due to his highly original ideas and the use of perspective in his works. His marriage with Nicolosia Bellini, the sister of Giovanni, paved the way for his entree into Venice. Mantegna reached an artistic maturity with his Pala San Zeno. He remained in Mantova and became the artist for one of the most prestigious courts in Italy – the Court of Gonzaga. Classical art was born. Despite his links with Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, Mantegna refused to adopt their innovative use of colour or leave behind his own technique of engraving.

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Top 5 Masterpieces Vol. 1

This book offers our young readers an enjoyable approach to the history of art by transforming five masterpieces into fun puzzles. Top 5 Masterpieces Vol. 1 provides parents and teachers with a wonderful way to develop children’s imaginations and grow their awareness of great art from an early age.

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Top 5 Masterpieces Vol. 2

This book offers our young readers an enjoyable approach to the history of art by transforming five masterpieces into fun puzzles. Top 5 Masterpieces Vol. 2 provides parents and teachers with a wonderful way to develop children’s imaginations and grow their awareness of great art from an early age.

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Art of the 20th Century

The 20th century was a revolutionary period in art history. In the span of a few short years, Modernism exploded into being, disrupting centuries of classical figurative tradition to create something entirely new. This astoundingly thorough survey of art's modern era showcases all of the key artistic movements of the 20th century, from Fauvism to Pop Art, featuring illustrative examples of some of the most renowned works of the era along with illuminating companion essays by expert critics and art historians. A vivid window into the collective psyche of the modern world's great artists, Art of the 20th Century is a must-have for any fan of contemporary art.

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Émile Gallé

An icon in the Art Nouveau movement, Émile Gallé (1846-1904) sought to portray the beauty and simplicity of nature in his glass art. His designs, referred to as “poetry in glass”, range from fine pottery to jewellery and furniture. Everything Gallé produced contains traces of his masterful technique which reflects his innovativeness as an artist and his skill as a designer. In this rich text, Gallé unravels the beauty and ingenuity found within his own work.

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Dalí

Painter, designer, creator of bizarre objects, author and film maker, Dalí became the most famous of the Surrealists. Buñuel, Lorca, Picasso and Breton all had a great influence on his career. Dalí's film, An Andalusian Dog, produced with Buñuel, marked his official entry into the tightly-knit group of Parisian Surrealists, where he met Gala, the woman who became his lifelong companion and his source of inspiration. But his relationship soon deteriorated until his final rift with André Breton in 1939. Nevertheless Dalí's art remained surrealist in its philosophy and expression and a prime example of his freshness, humour and exploration of the subconscious mind. Throughout his life, Dalí was a genius at self-promotion, creating and maintaining his reputation as a mythical figure.

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Klee

An emblematic figure of the early 20th century, Paul Klee participated in the expansive Avant-Garde movements in Germany and Switzerland. From the vibrant Blaue Reiter movement to Surrealism at the end of the 1930s and throughout his teaching years at the Bauhaus, he attempted to capture the organic and harmonic nature of painting by alluding to other artistic mediums such as poetry, literature, and, above all, music. While he collaborated with artists like August Macke and Alexej von Jawlensky, his most famous partnership was with the abstract expressionist, Wassily Kandinsky.

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Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was first a sailor, then a successful stockbroker in Paris. In 1874 he began to paint at weekends as a Sunday painter. Nine years later, after a stock-market crash, he felt confident of his ability to earn a living for his family by painting and he resigned his position and took up the painter’s brush full time. Following the lead of Cézanne, Gauguin painted still-lifes from the very beginning of his artistic career. He even owned a still-life by Cézanne, which is shown in Gauguin’s painting Portrait of Marie Lagadu. The year 1891 was crucial for Gauguin. In that year he left France for Tahiti, where he stayed till 1893. This stay in Tahiti determined his future life and career, for in 1895, after a sojourn in France, he returned there for good. In Tahiti, Gauguin discovered primitive art, with its flat forms and violent colours, belonging to an untamed nature. With absolute sincerity, he transferred them onto his canvas. His paintings from then on reflected this style: a radical simplification of drawing; brilliant, pure, bright colours; an ornamental type composition; and a deliberate flatness of planes. Gauguin termed this style “synthetic symbolism”.

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Raphael

Raphael was the artist who most closely resembled Pheidias. The Greeks said that the latter invented nothing; rather, he carried every kind of art invented by his forerunners to such a pitch of perfection that he achieved pure and perfect harmony. Those words, “pure and perfect harmony,” express, in fact, better than any others what Raphael brought to Italian art. From Perugino, he gathered all the weak grace and gentility of the Umbrian School, he acquired strength and certainty in Florence, and he created a style based on the fusion of Leonardo's and Michelangelo's lessons under the light of his own noble spirit. His compositions on the traditional theme of the Virgin and Child seemed intensely novel to his contemporaries, and only their time-honoured glory prevents us now from perceiving their originality. He has an even more magnificent claim in the composition and realisation of those frescos with which, from 1509, he adorned the Stanze and the Loggia at the Vatican. The sublime, which Michelangelo attained by his ardour and passion, Raphael attained by the sovereign balance of intelligence and sensibility. One of his masterpieces, The School of Athens, was created by genius: the multiple detail, the portrait heads, the suppleness of gesture, the ease of composition, the life circulating everywhere within the light are his most admirable and identifiable traits.

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