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Following the showing of Seurat’s ground-breaking La Grande-Jatte at the last impressionist exhibition, an unknown Dutchman by the name of Vincent van Gogh arrived in Paris, eager to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the city’s ferment to anyone willing to strike out on new paths. The year was 1886, and Cézanne, Bernard, Pissarro, Redon, Seurat and Signac, all driven by their impetuous yearning for an independent style, were exploring new visions by forsaking naturalism for daring colours and a more abstract, symbolist outlook.Here begins John Rewald’s exploration, which sets off on a number of paths as it follows a generation of painters, the postimpressionists, who turned their backs on the heritage of their immediate past. Standing out from the rest were Van Gogh and Gauguin, to whom the author gives a leading role in his kaleidoscopic overview, as letters, first-hand accounts and reviews of the time offer a vivid, intense look at their existential and artistic arcs, their friendship and their clashes, their demons and their ideals, presenting the reader with all the splendour and fury of a fatal but enthralling moment.A fitting sequel to his acclaimed The History of Impressionism, John Rewald’s historical account concludes in 1893, with the return of Gauguin from his first trip to Tahiti. Paris is the same tumultuous city that had welcomed Van Gogh seven years earlier, and Gauguin once again dives into its vibrant atmosphere, drawing on all his courage to face the new challenges of the future, at the start of an era which does not hesitate to announce the dawn of 20th-century art.
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Gli anni di Van Gogh e Gauguin

Una storia del Postimpressionismo

John Rewald

pages: 624 pages

Following the showing of Seurat’s ground-breaking La Grande-Jatte at the last impressionist exhibition, an unknown Dutchman by the name of Vincent van Gogh arrived in Paris, eager to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the city’s ferment to anyone willing to strike out on new paths. The year was 1886, and Cézanne, Bernard, Pissarro,
While deep in sleep, we inhabit spaces where sounds, images and people around us appear vivid and tangible. But once we open our eyes, the spell lifts and these folly- and wonder-tainted visions turn out to be no more than a dream. Something similar also occurs during virtual reality simulations, those multisensorial experiences in which the course of events can be simply interrupted by removing the headset from one’s eyes, just like suddenly waking up.The worlds of dream and of virtual reality have far more in common than one would think: both revolve around a subjective point of view, and above all both engage an aesthetic relation with images, a dimension that begins to be investigated in the 1800s – a time that more than others focused on revealing the workings of our dreams – and that in the advent of digital technology has found its fullest and most complete realization. At the centre of this framework is cinema, the art that in the 20th century expressed and gave form to human fantasies and nightmares, channelling the immersive experience out of the rigid bidimensional quality of the screen, “piercing” its surface like Buster Keaton in one of his most famous films.This book sheds light on what the early sensational landscapes and cycloramas have in common with the new media art of Zoe Beloff and Char Davies, on how Mickey Mouse goes hand in hand with Cocteau and Kurosawa, and on how modern VR devices can be considered an evolution of sleep masks: the author presents us with an archaeological approach to the history of media and to the concept of immersivity inviting us to recognise a new type of artistic horizon, projected beyond mere visual data.
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La notte dei simulacri

Sogno, cinema, realtà virtuale

Giancarlo Grossi

pages: 197 pages

While deep in sleep, we inhabit spaces where sounds, images and people around us appear vivid and tangible. But once we open our eyes, the spell lifts and these folly- and wonder-tainted visions turn out to be no more than a dream. Something similar also occurs during virtual reality simulations, those multisensorial experiences in which the course
An artist undertaking a portrait cannot but consider the pose to be given to the subject. Standing, sitting or reclining? What feelings will the expression convey? Will the arms be folded or busy performing some apotropaic rite? While a portrait unquestionably strikes us first and foremost for the quality of the painting and the sitter’s identity, every gesture, expression and posture of the body actually constitutes a key to a casket in which we can discover traces of the lifestyle of a particular historical period and legacies of cultures distant in time and space. And who could be better able than Desmond Morris to take up the challenge of recounting the history of body language in such a way as to delight the reader? Combining his two personae, the ethologist and Surrealist painter, he guides us on an extraordinary exploration of the postures that have attracted the attention of art lovers for centuries, from Roman statuary all the way to Pop Art. We thus discover why Napoleon was always portrayed hand-in-waistcoat and sovereigns often with one foot towards the viewer. And while it is true that gestures like shaking the fist are universal, sticking out the tongue out can be interpreted as a manifestation of demonic nature or simple childish impertinence depending on the period involved. With brilliant insight, Morris tells us how artists have given shape in their works to the changes involving social habits and conventions over the centuries. In doing so, he encounters surprising similarities and eternal recurrences, rediscovering long-forgotten gestures and shedding new light on masterpieces regarded as more familiar.
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In posa

L'arte e il linguaggio del corpo

Desmond Morris

pages: 320 pages

An artist undertaking a portrait cannot but consider the pose to be given to the subject. Standing, sitting or reclining? What feelings will the expression convey? Will the arms be folded or busy performing some apotropaic rite? While a portrait unquestionably strikes us first and foremost for the quality of the painting and the sitter’s identity
Whether alone or in company, aware or unaware of being observed, rebellious or ironic, innocent or sensual, figures seen from behind speak a language that enchants us and constitute a constant presence in the history of art. The first to turn her back on us was the Flora of Stabia in Roman times, a symbolic bridge between the profiles of ancient Egypt and the Italian painting of the 14th century, the period in which subjects seen from behind first appeared. Recurrent presences during the Renaissance but mostly in group scenes, they came to the fore in the 17th century thanks to Flemish painting. And while geishas in Japan have concealed their faces from time immemorial but left their necks exposed as a point of access to carnal intimacy, it was in the 19th century and in the West that the back of the head became a focal point and indeed a pictorial and literary leitmotif on a par with the Rückenfigur, the icon of romantic contemplation. In the 20th century, the world seen from behind offered eccentric and shattering visions and presented a new perspective on art and its viewers. Eleonora Marangoni’s figures seen from behind are chosen from the spheres of literature and photography, cinema and painting, video art and comic books over the centuries, grouped together by association or presented in iconic isolation. Elucidating their symbolic character and poetic significance, she demonstrates that the power of these images is born out of what they do not say, out of the inexhaustible outpouring of the imagination to which they give rise.
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Viceversa

Il mondo visto di spalle

Eleonora Marangoni

pages: 160 pages

Whether alone or in company, aware or unaware of being observed, rebellious or ironic, innocent or sensual, figures seen from behind speak a language that enchants us and constitute a constant presence in the history of art. The first to turn her back on us was the Flora of Stabia in Roman times, a symbolic bridge between the profiles of ancient E
It is 1947, Han van Meegeren went on trial for high treason, accused of having sold a piece of Dutch cultural heritage to Nazi bigwig Hermann Göring during the war. He risked execution, even though the “Vermeer” in question was one he painted himself. Nobody believed him. To prove it, he was asked to make a copy right there and then. Van Meegeren’s contemptuous response was not long in coming: “In all my career, I have never painted a copy! But I will paint you a new Vermeer. I’ll paint you a masterpiece!” The psychological motivations that prompt such a brilliant hand to commit this kind of crime are incredibly varied: simple money-making speculation, anger at the artistic establishment, or to bamboozle so-called expert eyes... While copying the works of the great masters has long been a widespread custom, some have continued to practice it not just out of simple pleasure but to provoke, earning the self-satisfaction of men who measure themselves against the giants of art history. Noah Charney takes us on an adventurous expedition through history, psychology and science, revealing the dramas and intrigues that surround the most famous art forgeries: from Marcantonio Raimondi’s “non-original copies” of Dürer to the golden goblet made by master goldsmith Reinhold Vasters, which ended up at the Metropolitan as a work by Benvenuto Cellini, to Wolfgang Beltracchi, a true genius of the scam, who created an incalculable number of counterfeit masterpieces, and even starred in his own successful documentary. The public, after all, is always fascinated by these shady characters, especially when criminals often pass themselves off as heroes. With their shadowy charm, consumed by the hubris of rewriting history, forgers create perfect deceptions to prove their own brilliance. Which, in many cases, truly exists.
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L'arte del falso

Noah Charney

pages: 293 pages

It is 1947, Han van Meegeren went on trial for high treason, accused of having sold a piece of Dutch cultural heritage to Nazi bigwig Hermann Göring during the war. He risked execution, even though the “Vermeer” in question was one he painted himself. Nobody believed him. To prove it, he was asked to make a copy right there and then. Van Meege
One day, between three and two and a half million years ago, an Australopithecus was wandering in the Makapan valley in South Africa when something suddenly caught his attention. It was a pebble of jasper, whose appearance, shaped by the work of natural agents, made it look like a human skull. Three cavities on a rounded surface and lo, a face appeared: in a world that until then had been limited to pure existence, this was the first “image” ever to be born. Our ability to see figures in stones or clouds presupposes an innate faculty in man: to misinterpret reality wisely in order to give it meaning. Since the Paleolithic period, this delirium of interpretation, to cite Dalí, has never ceased to have repercussions on artistic production, making those who practice it a “seer”. But if it is true that from the sputum on the walls of a hospital Piero di Cosimo could make out battle scenes, the twentieth century also produced a counter-movement: allowing a figure to degenerate into a stain, the doors of anti-clairvoyance swung open. Max Ernst’s obsession with cracks in the shapeless, living material of wood for his famous frottages, and Pierre Bonnard’s predilection for domestic scenes in which the usual contours dissolve into illegibility thus reveal themselves to be two sides of the same coin. These two trends are linked to Jean Dubuffet’s work, which with its imprints, the result of the random impression of crumbs, salt and dust on a slab, and his textures – in which even a beard ends up becoming an incongruous visual experience – have given substance to the propensity of contemporary art to disrupt our gaze on reality. Making Dubuffet his fil rouge, in his acute yet unpredictable way Adolfo Tura pursues the thousand paths of art, philosophy and literature (to name but a few) in which clairvoyance and anti-clairvoyance emerge as apparently antithetical tools that are capable of whispering answers to the same twentieth-century anxieties.
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Breve storia delle macchie sui muri

Veggenza e anti-veggenza in Jean Dubuffet e altro Novecento

Adolfo Tura

pages: 111 pages + 4 (inserto)

One day, between three and two and a half million years ago, an Australopithecus was wandering in the Makapan valley in South Africa when something suddenly caught his attention. It was a pebble of jasper, whose appearance, shaped by the work of natural agents, made it look like a human skull. Three cavities on a rounded surface and lo, a face appe
When the first edition appeared in 1946, The History of Impressionism was immediately celebrated for the extraordinary simplicity of its layout, its use of primary sources and, by drilling down to the smallest detail, its ability to reconstruct the events that culminated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874. Covering a total timespan of some thirty years, from 1855 to 1886, the volume chronicles a strenuous battle made up of triumphs and defeats, integrity and perseverance, in the slow and contorted process of knocking down the wall of dissenting critics and bourgeois prejudices. The revolt’s leaders were Monet, Bazille, Manet, Degas, Pissarro, Sisley, Gauguin, Morisot, Redon, Seurat and Signac, who, devoted to painting en plein air and impatient with traditional forms of representation, created canvases that were held up to public contempt, and then turned a journalist’s derisory epithet – “painters of impression” – into their banner. In this astute blend of scientific rigour and public accessibility, John Rewald gracefully offers critical insight without ever ceding to the pitfalls of technical jargon. The result is a narrative that exerts a strong grip on the reader. This book is the most accurate account of a key period in art history, evoking the climate, aromas, friendships and nuances of the various personalities by reconstructing the artists’ dialogues and daily lives. The wealth of quotations Rewald amassed from surviving witnesses is of vital importance, gathered in the knowledge that this would be the last chance to fix them in time. The author continued to enrich his seminal text of research into Impressionism over the years until 1973. It is that version that we republish here, with a new colour image layout that pays homage to these artists whose work was, above all, a revolution in light and colour.
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La storia dell'Impressionismo

John Rewald

pages: 606 pages

When the first edition appeared in 1946, The History of Impressionism was immediately celebrated for the extraordinary simplicity of its layout, its use of primary sources and, by drilling down to the smallest detail, its ability to reconstruct the events that culminated in the first Impressionist exhibition of 1874. Covering a total timespan of so
Imagine a space designed to host all of the works of art lost to us. Such a place would be by far the most immense museum on earth, where masterpieces of every era would be displayed side by side, indeed more than the number of works in all the collections now on earth put together. Greek and Roman statues would stand beside Byzantine icons and paintings burned in Savonarola’s bonfires alongside thousands of works confiscated and destroyed by the Nazis and monuments reduced to dust by ISIS militants. First of all, however, it would compile a complete catalogue of the motives for which art disappears from circulation – theft or bombardment, natural catastrophe or shipwreck, vandalism or even the artist’s own hand rejecting his work or programming its decay, as certain Land Art works designed to be consumed by time and the elements. A museum of this sort would serve as a warning, a tangible image of the transient nature of all human creations. Emblematic of this curious aspect of art history are the ill-fated adventures of paintings such as Courbet’s The Stone Breakers, rescued along with other treasures from a tower of the castle in Dresden only moments before the castle was bombed to the ground by Allied forces, or the mysterious fate of works stolen from the Stuart Gardner collection and never seen again. On the other hand, there are happier stories such as that of a de Kooning stolen from a museum and found thirty years later hanging in a suburban bedroom or that of the spectacular gold mosaics covering Santa Sophia in Istanbul today which had previously lain hidden under white plaster for four hundred years. Finally, where luck or investigation has been unable to find lost works, today we have science. Thus, thanks to X-rays and other sophisticated technologies, lost masterpieces by Goya, Picasso and Malevich have been discovered under successive layers of paint. Noah Charney suggests that these episodes open a window of hope, reminding us that everything is not lost, not forever. The vast repertoire of belated discoveries, miraculous rescues and unexpected recognition of works whose identity had long been obscure serves to confirm that saying “lost” is like saying “waiting to be brought back to light”.
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Il museo dell'arte perduta

Noah Charney

pages: 296 pages

Imagine a space designed to host all of the works of art lost to us. Such a place would be by far the most immense museum on earth, where masterpieces of every era would be displayed side by side, indeed more than the number of works in all the collections now on earth put together. Greek and Roman statues would stand beside Byzantine icons and pai
The cat – that most elegant, stubborn and artful of creatures – has been a subject favoured by artists of every culture and period since time immemorial. The spectacular stone carving created in Libya 7,000 years ago is possibly the earliest depiction of a cat fight, marking the beginning of a long uninterrupted visual tradition. A profusion of images that is not always matched by unequivocal sentiments for the cat which, while being among the most blessed of domestic animals, has often been a victim of hate and persecution over the centuries. From sacred animal in ancient Egypt to deterrent for rodents in the Babylonian civilization, an ally of man against the fatal bite of the viper, valued for its hunting prowess and immortalized as a good hunting companion, the cat gradually relinquished such practical activities to become the lazy friend of man, who opened the doors of his home to it. The cohabitation did not, however, last long and the relationship went through further ups and downs. At the end of the Middle Ages the prevalent image was as maleficent companion of the devil, a view that coincides with the sinister role allocated to it in paintings. It rarely, if ever, appears as protagonist in the work of the great masters but rather as a mere accessory, curled up at the feet of a female figure. It would have to wait for the arrival of Victorian sentimentalism before it could make a come-back, when this radical change in status saw it portrayed in intimate family scenes. This was the best time to be a cat, a golden age both for the affectionate relationship with its human companion and for the central role it played in works of art, where it is finally master of the scene. The greatest zoologist of our time, aware of every feline nuance, writes about history of art through the lens of cat-loving artists. For Pablo Picasso it was a symbol of ruthless violence, depicted as a fierce predator; for Balthus it was the supreme emblem of female sexuality; it was a very popular subject among cartoonists and caricaturists and used by Banksy as a vehicle for political protest.  The cat is an inexhaustible source for visual exploration and flights of fancy.
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I gatti nell'arte

Desmond Morris

pages: 224 pages

The cat – that most elegant, stubborn and artful of creatures – has been a subject favoured by artists of every culture and period since time immemorial. The spectacular stone carving created in Libya 7,000 years ago is possibly the earliest depiction of a cat fight, marking the beginning of a long uninterrupted visual tradition. A profusion of
The legend of the Etruscans has stood the test of time over centuries. Since the 15th century, when Leon Battista Alberti was one of the first to reassess the Tuscan order, to more recent years that saw the first major exhibitions, interest in this enigmatic civilization has never faltered. It has, however, been fed by such very different instances – depending on whether the point of view was that of academics or of artists and writers – that one can talk of two distinct Etrurias: a “scientific” one, which from the 19th century and with the important excavations of the early 20th century became ever more precisely and clearly defined, and an “evoked”, imagined Etruria, as fantastical as it was irretrievable.This is the Etruria of painters and sculptors: of Enrico Prampolini, who lent his avant-garde skills to a magazine on the subject; of Arturo Martini, Massimo Campigli and Marino Marini, who, each with their own accents, claimed direct descent; of artists apparently remote from this world, such as the French Edgar Degas and the English Henry Moore; and of figures that occupied what were considered marginal territory (e.g. ceramics) such as Gio Ponti and Roberto Sebastian Matta.Martina Corgnati takes the reader on a long well-structured journey from the end of the 19th century to the threshold of the 21st century, through hybridization and rewriting of the past, adopting more or less explicit suggestion and precise references. There are also forays into the literary debate, particularly lively in Italy, where a foundation myth more authentically italic in respect of Greek or Roman ones has always been fertile terrain. Through the prism of the “Etruscan phenomenon” one can see the art of the 20th century in a new light, exploring the various paths in the shadow of this ancient people.
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L'ombra lunga degli etruschi

Echi e suggestioni nell'arte del Novecento

Martina Corgnati

pages: 240 pages

The legend of the Etruscans has stood the test of time over centuries. Since the 15th century, when Leon Battista Alberti was one of the first to reassess the Tuscan order, to more recent years that saw the first major exhibitions, interest in this enigmatic civilization has never faltered. It has, however, been fed by such very different instances
In the guise of the flâneur and a situationist, Calum Storrie embarks on an imaginary voyage of discovery of different cities and eras that see him explore a series of environments – public places, architecture, but also historical exhibitions and artworks – all of which are possible embodiments of the concept of the “delirious museum”. The quintessential elusive place, the Delirious Museum reinterprets or redefines the traditional model by means of a détournement that takes shape in the rejection of a linear narrative in favour of a disarticulated form, composed – like art itself – of an anachronistic montage of traces and fragments. These are the echoes of a city that has invaded the museum (but also the contrary), thrusting it into life and bringing fluidity and change to its meanings. The theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 marked the first sign of contagion. Taken out into the streets, Leonardo’s masterpiece became nomadic and entered modernity. The Surrealists took possession of it for their own ends: Duchamp added a moustache and beard, while Dalí transformed it into a self-portrait. With the return of the painting, the germ of the Delirious Museum had now entered the Louvre, spreading from its corridors throughout the streets of that Paris already explored by Baudelaire, and later by Benjamin, Aragon and Breton. A dreamlike and porous city, endowed with slots that offer glimpses of parallel realities, born out of chance and a certain degree of chaos. On the trail of potential derivations, the author encounters installations by El Lissitzky and Kiesler and the objets trouvés of Cornell and Warhol, losing himself in the Soane collection, in the museum architecture of Libeskind and the museum-maze of Carlo Scarpa. Ultimately, it is with Postmodernism that the Delirious Museum reaches the peak of its various interpretations: from the designs by Gehry and Koolhas, to spectacular city-spectacles such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The receptacle of anecdotes and arcane facts, this book-wunderkammer re-examines the evanescent boundaries between museums and the cities that contain them. It does so by means of a rhizomatic narration that, by imitating what it describes, proceeds from the present to the past before returning to the present-day and, lastly, establishing a symbiotic relationship between space and its memory.
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Delirious Museum

Un viaggio dal Louvre a Las Vegas

Calum Storrie

pages: 256 pages

In the guise of the flâneur and a situationist, Calum Storrie embarks on an imaginary voyage of discovery of different cities and eras that see him explore a series of environments – public places, architecture, but also historical exhibitions and artworks – all of which are possible embodiments of the concept of the “delirious museum”. Th
The story of the tableaux vivant is as old as Pygmalion immortalized by Ovid. A story that unfolds over the centuries, encompassing practices as far removed from each other as medieval sacre rappresentazioni – which became increasingly profane from one celebration to the next – and the most recent video installations by Bill Viola that recreate Pontormo’s Mannerist visions. They are static figurations in which models or actors, arranged in expressive poses, reproduce the image of famous paintings or sculptures. What is more, all tableaux vivants are based on art, not life. And perhaps because of this status as art born out of art, what’s more contaminated by popular genres and subgenres, the art of “living pictures” has often been deemed to be one of the secondary visual arts.  However, it has managed to survive by keeping up with changing times and cultural mores, boosted by the trait that has always marginalized it: the fact that it cannot be traced back to any specific set of rules, fluctuating tirelessly between academic regulations and pure entertainment. In this perennial renewal, the tableau vivant also becomes merged with photographic and film experiments (from Rejlander and von Gloeden to Artaud and Pasolini), dance and theatre (from Isadora Duncan to Grotowski) and has even been incarnated in performances by Luigi Ontani, Gilbert & George and Cindy Sherman. The profusion of names who continue to devote themselves to it shows how the genre, which is now a permanently consolidated part of the repertoire of contemporary languages, is more alive than ever today. Flaminio Gualdoni takes us on a sparkling, cultured and bubbly excursion packed with lascivious anecdotes and unforgettable figures,  such as Lady Hamilton, a comely young woman with a tumultuous past who, as the bride of her Pygmalion, became an expert in impersonating figures from classical iconography: her attitudes, slow silent pantomimes praised by Goethe, eternalized by Tischbein and admired by aristocrats, artists and writers, encode the genre within a horizon situated between the respectability of art, the bon ton of bourgeois taste and sexual marketing.
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Corpo delle immagini, immagini del corpo

Tableaux vivants da san Francesco a Bill Viola

Flaminio Gualdoni

pages: 192 pages

The story of the tableaux vivant is as old as Pygmalion immortalized by Ovid. A story that unfolds over the centuries, encompassing practices as far removed from each other as medieval sacre rappresentazioni – which became increasingly profane from one celebration to the next – and the most recent video installations by Bill Viola that recreate

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