The Power of Art by Simon Schama

Into the Wild

Read The Power of Art Online Free - "Great art has dreadful manners," Simon Schama observes wryly at the start of his epic and explosive exploration of the power, and whole point, of art. "The hushed reverence of the gallery can fool you into believing masterpieces are polite things; visions that soothe, charm and beguile, but actually they are thugs. Merciless and wily, the greatest paintings grab you in a headlock, rough up your composure, and then proceed in short order to re-arrange your sense of reality. . . ."

With the same disarming force, The Power of Art propels us on an eye-opening, breathtaking odyssey, zooming in on eight extraordinary masterpieces, from Caravaggio's David and Goliath to Picasso's Guernica. Jolting us far from the comfort zone of the hushed art gallery, Schama closes in on intense make-or-break turning points in the lives of eight great artists who, under extreme stress, created something unprecedented, altering the course of art forever.

The embattled heroes—Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso and Rothko—each in his own resolute way, faced crisis with steadfast defiance, pitting passion and conviction against scorn and short-sightedness. The masterpieces they created challenged convention, shattered complacency, shifted awareness and changed the way we look at the world.

With vivid storytelling and powerfully evocative descriptive passages, Schama explores the dynamic personalities of the artists and the spirit of the times they lived through, capturing the flamboyant theatre of bourgeois life in Amsterdam, the passion and paranoia of Revolutionary Paris, and the carnage and pathos of Civil War Spain.

Most compelling of all, The Power of Art traces the extraordinary evolution of eight "eye-popping" world-class works of art. Created in a bolt of illumination, such works "tell us something about how the world is, how it is to be inside our skins, that no more prosaic source of wisdom can deliver. And when they do that, they answer, irrefutably and majestically, the nagging question of every reluctant art-conscript . . . 'OK, OK, but what's art really for?'"



Title : The Power of Art
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0061176109
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 pages


Reviews


Trevor rated it ★★★★★

December 13, 2008

A couple of confessions – the most obvious is that I haven’t actually read this book. I’ve seen the documentary, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway. This is a documentary to be seen and not read about. The filming, editing and direction are almost as breathtaking as the artworks discussed....


Kelly rated it ★★★★☆

April 30, 2010

Look, you either hate Schama or you love him. It just has to be that way- his personality, definite opinions and style are all over his work, and he makes absolutely no apologies for it. I happen to fall into the love it category. Is it "good" history? No. But it's incredibly compelling history-...


Renata rated it ★★★★★

November 09, 2017

My coffee table book that is a go to read whenever I need a dose of art pleasure and a brain break from the mundane. I have been enjoying this book for years, always stimulating and a visual delight as well. Yes, his series is a great entertainment and one can’t help but engage in a dialogue w hi...


Michael rated it ★★★★★

August 13, 2012

If you're like me you took an art history survey in college and then maybe a Euro-pass tour including the Louvre, British Museum, etc., and walked out thinking you knew something about art. That's a bit like owning a copy of "Beatles 1" and thinking you know the Beatles. In this companion book to...


Carol rated it ★★★★★

May 22, 2011

What great book (and film)! Schama has chosen to focus on many of my favorite artists-- Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso & Rothko. I have previously studied many of the artists in depth except Bernini and Rothko. The film is great and the book excellent -- larg...


Gadi rated it ★★★★★

August 05, 2010

I couldn’t put it down. One of the most compelling introductions to any subject I’ve ever read. Now, in museums, in classes, in my room surfin’ the net, I find myself remembering the sordid, passionate lives of Caravaggio and Van Gogh and Rothko and David. And Schama portrays each one in such viv...


Barry rated it ★★★☆☆

August 19, 2008

This is a convenient vehicle for Schama, who, as much as he loves art, really likes to argue. Schama is self-aggrandizing, melodramatic, irritating and truly compelling. He injects his out-size personality into the book and it's better for it. One can certainly quibble with his choices of which pie...


Abhishek rated it ★★★★☆

August 30, 2007

Schama has a tendency to harangue...but his sincerity and off-the-cuff humor more than makes up for this. Moreover, when you compare this with the intense passion that went into the making of each painting and artist in this book, you more than get carried in the stride. Plus the book has Grrrreat...


Liz rated it ★★★★☆

October 17, 2009

I took my time with this book (and the BBC-produced DVD series), and it was worth it. The author's strong opinions, whether the reader agrees or disagrees, keeps the reader very much involved. The focus on one or two memorable pieces and the carefully selected historic and biographic details prev...


Uco rated it ★★★★☆

November 09, 2012

Historian Schama certainly has a powerful method of telling a story. He tells the tales of eight different artists Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso and Rothko. The book was written to accompany the television series published by the BBC but it is not necessary to h...





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