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Books > Arts & Architecture > History of art / art & design styles > 1600 to 1800

Lives of Rembrandt (Paperback, 2nd Revised edition): Filippo Baldinucci, Joachim Von Sandrart, Arnold Houbraken Lives of Rembrandt (Paperback, 2nd Revised edition)
Filippo Baldinucci, Joachim Von Sandrart, Arnold Houbraken; Edited by Charles Ford
R209 R189 Discovery Miles 1 890 Save R20 (10%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (c.1606-1669) was the most talked-about painter of the seventeenth century - and quite possibly of the following centuries too. His prodigious talent, extraordinary emotional truth, and reckless disregard of artistic convention astonished, delighted and often dismayed his contemporaries; and the full gamut of these reactions is revealed in the three early bio-graphies published here for the first time in their entirety in English. Sandrart, a German painter and writer on painting, actually knew Rembrandt in Amsterdam; Baldinucci, also an artist contemporary with Rembrandt, was one of the greatest early connoisseurs of prints; and Arnold Houbraken, who studied under some of Rembrandt's pupils, wrote the earliest major biographical account of the artists of Holland. These extraordinary documents give a vivid picture of Rembrandt's shattering impact on the art world of his time - not only as a painter, but as a supremely successful manipulator of the market, a dangerous example to the young, and an unavoidable challenge to any sense of decorum and rule-giving.Rooted firmly in the 17-century realities of Rembrandt's life, they bring into sharper focus the qualities of originality and psychological acuity that remain Rembrandt's trademark to this day. The introduction by Charles Ford situates these biographies in the context of seventeenth-century appreciation of art, and the trajectory of Rembrandt's career. The translations have been specially prepared for this edition by Charles Ford, aided by Ulrike Kern and Francesca Migliorini, and in part following the work of Tancred Borenius.

Pasta For Nightingales - A 17th-century handbook of bird-care and folklore (Hardcover): Helen Macdonald Pasta For Nightingales - A 17th-century handbook of bird-care and folklore (Hardcover)
Helen Macdonald 1
R357 R277 Discovery Miles 2 770 Save R80 (22%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days
London - Prints & Drawings before 1800 (Hardcover): Bernard Nurse London - Prints & Drawings before 1800 (Hardcover)
Bernard Nurse
R747 R694 Discovery Miles 6 940 Save R53 (7%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

By the end of the eighteenth century London was the second largest city in the world, its relentless growth fuelled by Britain's expanding empire. Before the age of photography, the most widely used means of creating a visual record of the changing capital was through engravings and drawings, and those that survive today are invaluable in showing us what the capital was like in the century leading up to the Industrial Revolution. This book contains over one hundred images of the Greater London area before 1800 from maps, drawings, manuscripts, printed books and engravings, all from the Gough Collection at the Bodleian Library. Examples are drawn from the present Greater London to contrast town and countryside at the time. Panoramas of the river Thames were popular illustrations of the day, and the extraordinarily detailed engravings made by the Buck brothers are reproduced here. The construction, and destruction, of landmark bridges across the river are also shown in contemporary engravings. Prints made of London before and after the Great Fire show how artists and engravers responded to contemporary events such as executions, riots, fires and even the effects of a tornado. They also recorded public spectacles, creating beautiful images of firework displays and frost fairs on the river Thames. This book presents rare material from the most extensive collection on British topography assembled in this period by a private collector, providing a fascinating insight into life in Georgian London.

Vermeer in Detail (Hardcover): Gary Schwartz Vermeer in Detail (Hardcover)
Gary Schwartz
R885 R664 Discovery Miles 6 640 Save R221 (25%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days
Fantastic Ornament, Series Two - 118 Designs and Motifs (Paperback): A. Hauser Fantastic Ornament, Series Two - 118 Designs and Motifs (Paperback)
A. Hauser
R143 R101 Discovery Miles 1 010 Save R42 (29%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Engraved in the 19th century, these flamboyant ornamental designs are based on a wide variety of historical examples, dating back as far as the 1500s and including images by Watteau and Durer."

Classic Beauties - Artists, Italy and the Esthetic Ideals of the 18th Century (Paperback): Classic Beauties - Artists, Italy and the Esthetic Ideals of the 18th Century (Paperback)
R647 R446 Discovery Miles 4 460 Save R201 (31%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Classic Beauties allows readers to follow in the footsteps of the `Grand Tourists' and to trace the life stories of the leading Neoclassical artists. Together with the multitude of illustrations, the texts convey a vivid impression of an extraordinary era.

Pulcinella - Or Entertainment for Children (Hardcover, 2nd ed.): Giorgio Agamben Pulcinella - Or Entertainment for Children (Hardcover, 2nd ed.)
Giorgio Agamben; Translated by Kevin Attell
R505 R473 Discovery Miles 4 730 Save R32 (6%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The list of subjects that Giorgio Agamben has tackled in his career is dizzying--from the dangers of our current political moment to the traces of the distant past that inflect the culture around us today. With Pulcinella, Agamben is back with yet another surprising--and surprisingly relevant--subject: the commedia dell'arte character. At the heart of Pulcinella is Agamben's exploration of an album of 104 drawings, created by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804) near the end of his life, that cover the life, adventures, death, and resurrection of the title character. Who is Pulcinella under his black mask? Is he a man, a demon, or a god? Mixing stories of the enigmatic Pulcinella with his own character in a sort of imaginary philosophical biography, Agamben attempts to locate the line connection between philosophy and comedy. Perhaps, contrary to what we've been told, comedy is not only more ancient and profound than tragedy, but also closer to philosophy--close enough, in fact, that, as happens in this book, at times the line between the two can blur.

Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters - The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century (Hardcover): Anna Marie Roos Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters - The Art of Science in the Seventeenth Century (Hardcover)
Anna Marie Roos
R646 R539 Discovery Miles 5 390 Save R107 (17%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Martin Lister, royal physician and fellow of the Royal Society, was an extraordinarily prolific natural historian with an expertise in shells and molluscs. Disappointed with the work of established artists, Lister decided to teach his daughters, Susanna and Anna, how to illustrate the specimens he studied. The sisters became so skilled at this that Lister entrusted them with his great work, 'Historiae Conchyliorum', assembled between 1685 and 1692. This first comprehensive study of conchology consisted of over 1,000 copperplates of shells and molluscs collected from around the world. 'Martin Lister and his Remarkable Daughters' reconstructs the creation of this masterwork, from the identification of the original shells to the drawings themselves, and from the engraved copperplates to the draft prints and final books. Susanna and Anna portrayed the shells not only as curious and beautiful objects, but also as specimens of natural history rendered with sensitivity and keen scientific empiricism. Beautiful in their own right, these illustrations and engravings reveal the early techniques behind scientific illustration together with the often unnoticed role of women in the scientific revolution.

J.W. Godward 1861-1922 - The Eclipse of Classicism (Hardcover): Vern G. Swanson J.W. Godward 1861-1922 - The Eclipse of Classicism (Hardcover)
Vern G. Swanson
R1,557 R1,173 Discovery Miles 11 730 Save R384 (25%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

John William Godward was among the brightest stars of the late Graeco-Roman painters during classicism's twilight years. Some believe he equalled Alma-Tadema in his depiction of marble and flowers and Frederic Leighton in his depiction of drapery. However, his own reclusive nature, society's loss of interest in classical subject painting, aggressive modernist art and the efforts of his disapproving family conspired to plunge him into obscurity. Godward's art was more than escapist; it was purposely beautiful in an age plunging headlong into atrocity. For Godward, art was not only an aesthetic exercise but also a form of therapy. Through these pictures he lived his self-contained life until melancholia, fed by ill health and increasing artistic criticism, overwhelmed his fantasy haven. A hapless victim of his own personality, unable to make his way in a hostile world, Godward ended it all. Swanson's original edition of John William Godward introduced the life of a very private man who pushed the classical ideal further into the twentieth century than most would think possible. This revised edition contains the author's latest research - significant expansions to the text, as well as approximately 100 new pictures, many of which have only recently been attributed to Godward.

Paul Revere: Sons of Liberty Bowl (Paperback): Gerald W. R Ward Paul Revere: Sons of Liberty Bowl (Paperback)
Gerald W. R Ward
R153 R109 Discovery Miles 1 090 Save R44 (29%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (Hardcover): Stephen F. Eisenman William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (Hardcover)
Stephen F. Eisenman; Contributions by Mark Crosby, Elizabeth Ferrell, Jacob Henry Leveton, W.J.T. Mitchell, …
R825 R635 Discovery Miles 6 350 Save R190 (23%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

A stunningly illustrated look at how Blake's radical vision influenced artists of the Beat generation and 1960s counterculture In his own lifetime, William Blake (1757-1827) was a relatively unknown nonconventional artist with a strong political bent. William Blake and the Age of Aquarius is a beautifully illustrated look at how, some two hundred years after his birth, the antiestablishment values embodied in Blake's art and poetry became a model for artists of the American counterculture. This book provides new insights into the politics and protests of Blake's own lifetime, and the generation of artists who revived and reimagined his work in the mid-1940s through 1970, or what might be called the "long sixties." Contributors explore Blake's outsider status in Georgian England and how his individualistic vision spoke to members of the Beat Generation, hippies, radical poets and writers, and other voices of the counterculture. Among the artists, musicians, and writers who looked to Blake were such diverse figures as Diane Arbus, Jay DeFeo, the Doors, Sam Francis, Allen Ginsberg, Jess, Agnes Martin, Ad Reinhardt, Charles Seliger, Maurice Sendak, Robert Smithson, Clyfford Still, and many others. This book also explores visual cultures around such galvanizing moments of the 1960s as Woodstock and the Summer of Love. William Blake and the Age of Aquarius shows how Blake's myths, visions, and radicalism found new life among American artists who valued individualism and creativity, explored expanded consciousness, and celebrated youth, peace, and the power of love in a turbulent age. Exhibition schedule: Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University September 23, 2017-March 11, 2018

William Hogarth - A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings (Hardcover): Elizabeth Einberg William Hogarth - A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings (Hardcover)
Elizabeth Einberg
R2,250 R2,028 Discovery Miles 20 280 Save R222 (10%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

William Hogarth (1697-1764) was among the first British-born artists to rise to international recognition and acclaim and to this day he is considered one of the country's most celebrated and innovative masters. His output encompassed engravings, paintings, prints, and editorial cartoons that presaged western sequential art. This comprehensive catalogue of his paintings brings together over twenty years of scholarly research and expertise on the artist, and serves to highlight the remarkable diversity of his accomplishments in this medium. Portraits, history paintings, theater pictures, and genre pieces are lavishly reproduced alongside detailed entries on each painting, including much previously unpublished material relating to his oeuvre. This deeply informed publication affirms Hogarth's legacy and testifies to the artist's enduring reputation.

Landscape, Innovation, and Nostalgia - The Manton Collection of British Art (Hardcover, New): Jay A. Clarke Landscape, Innovation, and Nostalgia - The Manton Collection of British Art (Hardcover, New)
Jay A. Clarke; Contributions by Tim Barringer, Ann Bermingham, David Blayney Brown, Antony Griffiths, …
R1,104 R1,012 Discovery Miles 10 120 Save R92 (8%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Business leader and arts patron Sir Edwin A. G. Manton (1909-2005) and his wife Florence, Lady Manton, assembled an outstanding collection of 18th- and 19th-century British art. A gift to the Clark Art Institute from the Manton Foundation in 2007, their collection features more than three hundred oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints, including works by John Constable, J. M. W. Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, and William Blake.

In a series of wide-ranging essays, prominent scholars consider the major works and themes in the collection, relating them to larger issues within the field of British studies. Individual essays are devoted to Constable's oil sketches, cloud studies, and magisterial painting "The Wheat Field"; the growth of the watercolor tradition; print portfolios and narrative series; Thomas Rowlandson's satiric drawings; and Gainsborough's use of experimental materials as revealed through recent scientific analysis. The volume concludes with an illustrated checklist of the works in the collection.

Rubens - Painter of Sketches (Paperback): Friso Lammertse, Alejandro Vergara Rubens - Painter of Sketches (Paperback)
Friso Lammertse, Alejandro Vergara
R829 R640 Discovery Miles 6 400 Save R189 (23%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is the most important painter of sketches in the history of European art. His Italian and Flemish predecessors had for the most part prepared their paintings by using drawings. Rubens transformed this process by systematically making sketches in colour, with oil paint, and nearly always on panel supports. Rubens's oil sketches were essentially a new form of painting. They brought together the design and colour stages of preliminary work. Because their purpose was to advance another work of art, oil sketches demanded less effort and time than the final products, and this translated into a less polished finish and smaller size. Rubens's sketches invite us to indulge in his art. They are powerful, vivid renditions of a variety of themes, from ancient history and mythology to religion, still life and portraits. They combine seriousness of purpose and a zest for life, transmitted through a masterly lightness of touch. Their small size and appearance of incompleteness draw us in and entice us to look closely. Their sheer quality is a great source of pleasure and learning. This catalogue presents detailed studies and superb illustrations of eighty-two of Rubens's most eloquent oil sketches, and two essays explaining the historical context from which they emerged, their salient features and how they were viewed by contemporaries.

Traces of Vermeer (Paperback): Jane Jelley Traces of Vermeer (Paperback)
Jane Jelley
R347 R245 Discovery Miles 2 450 Save R102 (29%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Johannes Vermeer's luminous paintings are loved and admired around the world, yet we do not understand how they were made. We see sunlit spaces; the glimmer of satin, silver, and linen; we see the softness of a hand on a lute string or letter. We recognise the distilled impression of a moment of time; and we feel it to be real. We might hope for some answers from the experts, but they are confounded too. Even with the modern technology available, they do not know why there is no evidence of any preliminary drawing; why there are shifts in focus; and why his pictures are unusually blurred. Some wonder if he might possibly have used a camera obscura to capture what he saw before him. The few traces Vermeer has left behind tell us little: there are no letters or diaries; and no reports of him at work. Jane Jelley has taken a new path in this detective story. A painter herself, she has worked with the materials of his time: the cochineal insect and lapis lazuli; the sheep bones, soot, earth, and rust. She shows us how painters made their pictures layer by layer; she investigates old secrets; and hears travellers' tales. She explores how Vermeer could have used a lens in the creation of his masterpieces. The clues were there all along. After all this time, now we can unlock the studio door, and catch a glimpse of Vermeer inside, painting light.

Versailles (Hardcover): Colin Jones Versailles (Hardcover)
Colin Jones
R443 R350 Discovery Miles 3 500 Save R93 (21%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days
Canaletto 1697-1768 (Hardcover): Bozena Anna Kowalczyk Canaletto 1697-1768 (Hardcover)
Bozena Anna Kowalczyk
R698 R534 Discovery Miles 5 340 Save R164 (23%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The perspective representation of urban landscapes and views, which became a painting genre in 17th-century Holland as exemplified by the works of Gerrit Berckheyde (1638-1698) and Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712), found in Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, a more creative and complete artistic interpretation. In 18th-century Venice, Canaletto combined brilliant stage preparation with a deep understanding of perspective. He had a rare pictorial talent for the use of scientific discoveries in the field of optics, together with a unique visual perception of colours and distances. Whether drawing the image in front of his eyes with the aid of the optical camera, an ancient instrument also employed by Van Dyck, Leonardo and Joshua Reynolds, or sketching freehand in a notebook, Canaletto was a modern artist. He was a man of enlightenment, blessed with a spontaneous, natural and poetic creativity, which was always based on constant and meticulous work. Entering his creative world and understanding its mechanisms is the aim of this volume, which is published on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the artist's death.

Baroque and Later Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum (Hardcover): Catherine Whistler Baroque and Later Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum (Hardcover)
Catherine Whistler
R3,503 R2,583 Discovery Miles 25 830 Save R920 (26%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days
Rembrandt van Rijn Masterpieces of Art (Hardcover, New edition): Susan Grange Rembrandt van Rijn Masterpieces of Art (Hardcover, New edition)
Susan Grange
R329 R261 Discovery Miles 2 610 Save R68 (21%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was the leading painter and graphic artist of the `Golden Age of Dutch Art'. He excelled in imbuing his art with the `deepest and most lifelike emotion', with rich detail and stunning lighting. This richly enjoyable book gives the reader an illuminating overview of the life, work and influences of the artist, before going on to showcase the most stunning and varied examples of his oeuvre, broken down into themes - Portraits, Landscape & Narrative, Self-portraits, and Etchings & Drawings. Discover his versatility in the range of works selected, from the electric The Storm on the Sea of Galilee to the treasured The Night Watch, with its triumph in chiaroscuro and energy. A visual feast, it will underline the artist's status as a true master.

Lives of Gainsborough (Paperback): William Jackson Lives of Gainsborough (Paperback)
William Jackson; Introduction by Anthony Mould; Philip Thicknesse
R207 R164 Discovery Miles 1 640 Save R43 (21%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days
Rembrandt's Paintings Revisited - A Complete Survey - A Reprint of A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI (Paperback, 1st ed.... Rembrandt's Paintings Revisited - A Complete Survey - A Reprint of A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings VI (Paperback, 1st ed. 2017)
Ernst van de Wetering
R2,198 R1,430 Discovery Miles 14 300 Save R768 (35%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The question of which 17th-century paintings in Rembrandt's style were actually painted by Rembrandt himself had already become an issue during his lifetime. It is an issue that is still hotly disputed among art historians today. The problem arose because Rembrandt had numerous pupils who learned the art of painting by imitating their master or by assisting him with his work as a portrait painter. He also left pieces unfinished, to be completed by others. The question is how to determine which works were from Rembrandt's own hand. Can we, for example, define the criteria of quality that would allow us to distinguish the master's work from that of his followers? Do we yet have methods of investigation that would deliver objective evidence of authenticity? To what extent do research techniques used in the physical sciences help? Or are we, after all, still dependent on the subjective, expert eye of the connoisseur? The present book provides answers to these questions. Prof. Ernst van de Wetering, the author of our forthcoming book which deals with these questions, has been closely involved in all aspects of this research since 1968, the year the renowned Rembrandt Research Project (RRP) was founded. In particular, he played an important role in developing new criteria for authentication. Van de Wetering was also witness to the way the often overly zealous tendency to doubt the authenticity of Rembrandt's paintings got out of hand. In this book he re-attributes to the master a substantial number of unjustly rejected Rembrandts. He also was closely involved in the (re)discovery of a considerable number of lost or completely unknown works by Rembrandt. The verdicts of earlier specialists - including the majority of members of the original RRP (up to 1989) - were based on connoisseurship: the self-confidence in one's ability to recognise a specific artist's style and `hand'. Over the years, Van de Wetering has carried out seminal research into 17th-century studio practice and ideas about art current in Rembrandt's time. In this book he demonstrates the fallibility of traditional connoisseurship, especially in the case of Rembrandt, who was par excellence a searching artist. The methodological implications of this critical view are discussed in an introductory chapter which relates the history of the developments in this turbulent field of research. Van de Wetering's account of his own involvement in it makes this book a lively and sometimes unexpectedly personal account. The catalogue section presents a chronologically ordered survey of Rembrandt's entire painted oeuvre of 336 paintings, richly illustrated and annotated. For all the paintings re-attributed in this book, extensive commentaries have been included that provide a multi-facetted new insight into Rembrandt's world and the world of art-historical research. Rembrandt's Paintings Revisited is a reprint of the concluding sixth volume of A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings (Volumes I-V; 1982, 1986, 1989, 2005, 2010). It can also be read as a revisionary critique of the first three Volumes published by the old RRP team up till 1989 and of Gerson's influential survey of Rembrandt's painted oeuvre of 1968/69. At the same time, the book is designed as an independent overview that can be used on the basis that anyone seeking more detailed information will be referred to the five previous (digital versions of the) Volumes and the detailed catalogues published in the meantime by the various museums with collections of Rembrandt paintings. This work of art history and art research should belong in the library of every serious art historical institute, university or museum.

Boilly - Scenes of Parisian Life (Hardcover): Francesca Whitlum-Cooper Boilly - Scenes of Parisian Life (Hardcover)
Francesca Whitlum-Cooper
R398 Discovery Miles 3 980 Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

In a long career that spanned the French Revolution, the rise and fall of Napoleon, and the Bourbon Restoration, Louis-Leopold Boilly (1761-1845) created innovative and daring paintings in the midst of the most turbulent times. Bringing together two dozen of Boilly's works-the majority of which have never before been published-this handsome volume includes portraiture, scenes of seduction, and groundbreaking representations of raucous Parisian street life. A master technician with acute powers of observation and a wry sense of humor, Boilly invented the term trompe l'oeil and popularized the genre through his stunningly realistic compositions. In this first English-language publication on Boilly in more than 20 years, Francesca Whitlum-Cooper vividly brings the artist and the period he lived in to life, shedding new light on Boilly's work and expanding our understanding of how art functioned within France's rapidly changing political environment.

Jan Steen's Histories (Paperback): Ariane van Suchtelen, Wouter Kloek, Mariet Westermann Jan Steen's Histories (Paperback)
Ariane van Suchtelen, Wouter Kloek, Mariet Westermann
R605 R472 Discovery Miles 4 720 Save R133 (22%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Jan Steen, one of the most popular painters of the Dutch Golden Age, is known for his humorous depictions of dissolute households, tavern interiors, quacksalvers and love-sick young women. He was unrivalled in poking fun at every conceivable human weakness and vice. A lesser known fact is that he also painted history scenes: pieces based on episodes from the Bible, apocryphal writings and mythology - stories full of excitement, drama and passion. As with his genre pieces, Steen devoted a great deal of attention in his history paintings to the interaction between the figures, and was keenly aware of the satirical possibilities in every story. In contrast with his later image, Jan Steen was a versatile and ambitious artist with a profound knowledge of art history and literature: knowledge that comes to the fore in his history pieces. This richly illustrated publication, written by experts on Jan Steen, focuses on a little-known part of the artist's oeuvre.

The Treasures of Rembrandt (Hardcover): Michiel Roscam Abbing The Treasures of Rembrandt (Hardcover)
Michiel Roscam Abbing
R732 R501 Discovery Miles 5 010 Save R231 (32%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn remains one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen. His mastery of the brush still continues to influence successive generations of artists more than 400 years after his birth. Capturing the essence of the artist, his life and times, The Treasures of Rembrandt looks at the themes that dominated his work - the self-portraits, which are his lasting legacy to the world, alongside his many inspirational Biblical masterpieces; his etchings and drawings, including the tronies (character drawings of old people aiming to show them as realistically as possible); engravings and landscapes. Beginning with a look at the Golden Age of Dutch painting in which Rembrandt was to play such a huge part, this beautifully illustrated book covers his birth and childhood in Leiden, his move to Amsterdam and marriage to Saskia Uylenburgh, and his rise in fortune as he became one of the most prominent portrait artists of his generation and created such gems as The Night Watch.

Vermeer - The Complete Paintings (Hardcover): Walter Liedtke Vermeer - The Complete Paintings (Hardcover)
Walter Liedtke
R1,083 R791 Discovery Miles 7 910 Save R292 (27%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) has been one of the most widely admired European painters since his so-called rediscovery in the second half of the nineteenth century. Until quite recently, the Romantic roots of writing on the `Sphinx of Delft' have encouraged the image of him as an isolated genius; the artist's private life and religion, his supposed use of a camera obscura, and the fact that his teacher has not been identified have all contributed to an air of mystery. As this new monograph demonstrates, Vermeer's life is actually well documented and his work may be more appropriately understood by placing the painter in the context of the Delft school as a whole and of Delft society. The fact that one local patron acquired about twenty pictures by the artist (only thirty-six are known today) must have been significant for Vermeer's subtleties of meaning and refinements of technique and style. In the end, however, the most historical approach to Vermeer still leaves us with a master whose rare sensibility and extraordinary powers of observation may be described but not explained.

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