Impressionist art appears to be effortless and spontaneous, but it actually involves an intricate approach to painting. In this book a curator, an conservator, and two scientists use modern methods of examination to investigate exactly how these paintings were done and what materials were used. 76 illustrations; 208 color plates.
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This is the third book in the "Art in the Making" series and a catalog for a recent show at London's National Gallery. Drawing on results of the scientific techniques used to probe beyond the observers' usual perceptions, the book also makes use of 19th-century light and color theory to explore the Impressionists' craft, from the arrangement of paint on the palette and the invention of tin paint tubes and flat ferrule brushes to the finishings of canvas linings and framing requirements. While the illustrations enhance the thesis--showing, among others, microscopic photography of brush strokes and materials employed--the text is uneven in its interpretation of Impressionist artists, especially Cezanne. (See John Rewald's Cezanne: A Biography , Abrams, 1986, to get a better background on the artist.) The book, however, is significant for its clarity and emphasis in debunking plein-air outdoor painting and providing a history of art suppliers, dealers, and exhibitions. The text corresponds to the bibliography and contains a glossary for those unfamiliar with the terms. A recommended purchase.
- Ellen Bates, New York
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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