|Original publishing 2000...this edition is 2005|
On Saturday we went to garage sales (normal for us) and I think I may have found THE best bargain I ever came up with. This is a two-volume paper back set of books that has never been opened. Gorgeous high gloss quality paper in them. (about 300 pages each) in a book cover set. I picked up the two volume set for 50 cents. I kid you not.
I looked it up on Amazon this morning. I can't find this exact "set" but I found lots of separate books. This one included. The two authors are Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen. My set is Vol 1 and 2.
Some of the paperbacks new were as high as $95 to $165! But I did find one 700 page volume used for about $20 which might be THE bargain of the year guys (in case the review below is interesting.) Since my books are about 300 pages each...this might be Vol 1 and 2 together.
Did the Greek gods play tennis? What is the ambassador from the land of Alchemy telling us? What secrets are being told on the shores of the Island of Venus? And what is the monk doing on the Ship of Fools? These and other questions are asked about famous works of art in this book from the successful "Examining Paintings"-series. Suddenly the pictures come alive and relate previously untold stories. In their own language they recall earlier fashions and opinions, trends and intrigues, and tell of love, sin and lifestyles from the past. Powerful men and their mistresses, painters and models all come together in this illustrated history of culture. They cease to be two-dimensional figures of art and become flesh and blood before our eyes. This is thanks to the forensic sixth sense with which the two authors expose the secrets of the paintings under scrutiny. They spotlight each individual section of the painting, analyse them, and then put them back together again like a huge jigsaw puzzle, revealing the history of art as a lively panorama of forgotten worlds. For once, works of art are not to be enjoyed simply as art for art's sake, but as a living testimony of bygone times.
And they do it with delightful language...easy to read and sometimes tongue in cheek. I have NEVER read anything quite like it. It is mesmerizing! Here is a book not about painting technique or the painter's life but about the SUBJECT matter and how the artists rendering of it tells the story of the times and the life of the people at that time period. ABSOLUTELY fascinating. There is "some" discussion of the painter's style and rendering of the subject matter but mostly it is about "what does it mean" and what are symbols in the painting. Things you NEVER would have noticed in a million years!
I read the first 50 pages out on the screen porch last evening and I am absolutely in LOVE with this set of books! There goes my summer evening this year!