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Offbeat originals

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Recent additions.... [Feb. 17th, 2005|01:46 pm]
Offbeat originals

The Life and Music of Nick Cave

The book covers and combines both the personal development of the person Nick Cave and the history of his career. To a large extent, Nick Cave´s biography records and represents an entire generation and its attitudes towards life. The book is meant to depict parts of the puzzle Nick Cave, places them in their chronological biographical context and deals with deeper-going questions. Next to the text passages the book works with approx. 50% visuals - concert, band, back-stage and private photos. A comprehensive collage with newspaper cuttings with as much unpublished photographic material as possible and the artist's drawings which have never before been published shed a completely new unusual light on the person Nick Cave.


Written by the foremost scholars for a general audience, Abrams' Masters of Art series has proved its popularity over the years, becoming the industry's best-selling art history monograph series. In each book, forty full-page colorplates are accompanied by commentaries discussing each individual work. Other illustrations show the artist at varied points in his career, his contemporaries, and comparative works. The series is now being reissued in paperback, and will be redesigned to bring a contemporary feel to these classic Abrams titles. The individual artists selected for this first round of revisions - Van Gogh, Monet, Dali, Renoir, Bosch, and Leonardo da Vinci - were chosen because of their enduring popularity and their continued influence on the art of today.

Bosch - Art and Ideas

Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), one of the major artists of the Northern Renaissance, had a seemingly inexhaustible imagination. Known as the creator of disturbing demons and spectacular hellscapes, he also painted the "Garden of Earthly Delights", where gleeful naked youths feast on giant strawberries. Little is known of Bosch's life and his art has remained enigmatic, variously interpreted as the hallucinations of a madman or the secret language of a heretical sect. The Surrealists claimed Bosch as a predecessor, seeing in his work the imagery of dream, fantasy and the subconscious. Laurinda Dixon argues, however, that to understand and appreciate Bosch's art, we must return to the era in which he lived. Dixon presents Bosch as an artist of his times, knowledgeable about the latest techniques of painting, active in the religious life of his community and conversant with the scientific developments of his day. She draws on popular culture, religious texts and contemporary medicine, astrology, astronomy and chemistry - especially alchemy, now discounted but then of interest to serious thinkers - to investigate the meaning of Bosch's art.

Catherine Puglisi - Caravaggio

Catherine Puglisi's magnificent book on Michelangelo Merisi, better known simply as Caravaggio begins with Caravaggio's beguiling self-portrait as Bacchus, painted around 1594 when the artist was in his early twenties. This is then dramatically contrasted with the devastating self-portrait of the artist as the severed head of John the Baptist, painted only 15 years later in 1610, the year of Caravaggio's untimely death. These two pictures frame the incredible career of one of the most brilliant and complex of all Baroque artists, which is comprehensively analysed in Puglisi's wonderful study.
The book moves with great lucidity from Caravaggio's early success in Rome, to his exile in Malta and Sicily and his later astonishing religious paintings, undertaken in the dark years prior to his untimely death. Puglisi argues that Caravaggio was not the socially alienated painter that tradition has assumed, but that his highly innovative work took place within a deeply self-conscious awareness of contemporary developments within the composition of still life, portraiture, and devotional painting. What is so persuasive about Puglisi's argument is that, rather than diminish our sense of Caravaggio's originality, it only heightens our understanding of his brilliance in both composition and the use of light and colour. The final section of the book is particularly compelling in its account of Caravaggio's approach towards the composition of his work, as well as offering perceptive comments on the biographical assumptions which have grown up around the painter.

Throughout, Puglisi's passion for the paintings shines through; the book is beautifully produced, with nearly 200 wonderful illustrations, most in colour, a fascinating appendix of contemporary documents on the painter's life, and a checklist of all of Caravaggio's work. Caravaggio is a splendid book, which is undoubtedly destined to become the standard work in English on one of the greatest painters of Renaissance Italy.


The Russian Experiment in Art, 1863-1922 (World of Art S.)

This volume traces the development of Russian art from 1863 to 1922. It discusses the major movements and artists involved.