Monday, September 14, 2009

Must Read Book-Discovering the Great Masters: The Art Lover's Guide to Understanding Symbols in Painting

So I've been lost in the most wonderful book, it seems to detour me from reading anything else (with the exception of cook books, my current obsession).
Discovering the Great Masters: The Art Lover's Guide to Understanding Symbols in Painting by Paul Crenshaw is a gorgeous, oversize book with glorious photos of some of the most recognized art works in the world. Really this book is stunning and if it wasn't so big, I wouldn't put it down!
I started the book by quickly skimming through and marking each of the works I have seen personally. Not surprisingly many are housed at the Louvre in Paris, the Prado in Madrid and throughout museums and churches in Italy. What makes this book such a fun and completely immersing read is the use of cut out pages which when overlayed over a famous work allow only a glimpse of a particular section of the piece for study, including the explanation of symbolism in the work. Have you ever wanted to know what makes Mona Lisa's smile so mysterious, or what the symbolism in The Last Supper truly means...than this is the book for you.
I have created a list of the works featured in the book that I have actually seen while traveling, I will list them here for my own future reference. The remainder of the works in the book I have on a list tucked in my wallet, looks like I need to plan a trip to Florence Italy to truly say I have seen many of the greatest art works on earth.

Works I've already seen:
The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck, The National Gallery, London
The Deposition from the Cross by Rogier Van Der Weyden, The Prado, Madrid
Madonna della Vittoria, The Louvre, Paris
Pallas Athena Expelling the Vices by Andrea Mantegna, The Louvre, Paris
The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, Santa Maria Delle Grazie, Milan
Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, The Louvre, Paris
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, The Prado, Madrid
A Banker and His Wife by Quinten Metsys, The Louvre, Paris
Bacchanal of the Andrians by Titan, The Prado, Madrid
The French Ambassadors by Hans Holbein The Younger, National Gallery of Art, London
A Christian Allegory bu Jan Provost, The Louvre, Paris
Allegory of Vanity by Jan Van Der Straet, The Louvre, Paris
Allegory of Sight by Jan Breughel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens, The Prado, Madrid
The Education of Marie de'Medici by Peter Paul Rubens, The Louvre, Paris
The Spinners by Diego Velazquez, The Prado, Madrid
The Gathering of Manna by Nicolas Poussin, The Louvre, Paris
Les Meninas by Diego Velazquez, The Prado, Madrid
Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix, The Louvre, Paris
The Apotheosis of Homer by Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Louvre, Paris

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