Art Ronald Lightbown Carlo Crivelli

ISBN 13: 9780300102864

Carlo Crivelli

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9780300102864: Carlo Crivelli

Venetian artist Carlo Crivelli (c. 1430 1495) is a painter whose individuality of style and mastery of powerful line have fascinated many, but whose life and art have remained enigmatic. This absorbing book, drawing on extensive research in Venice and the Marches, the region of central Italy that Crivelli dominated artistically from 1468 until his death, examines his paintings in depth and traces the fundamental influences of the Vivarini, of Squarcione and Mantegna, and later of Flemish art.

Ronald Lightbown, eminent historian of Italian Renaissance art, interweaves stylistic and iconographical analysis of Crivelli’s work with historical and cultural background. The author uncovers the reasons that led patrons to choose the saints that figured in Crivelli’s altarpieces, discusses the initiations of new cults and the devising of an iconography for them, and demonstrates Crivelli’s independence from clerical dictation in the symbolism of his still-life pictures.

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About the Author:

Ronald Lightbown was Keeper of the Library and, later, Keeper of the Department of Metalwork at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, until 1989. He is the author of the standard works on Botticelli, Mantegna and Piero della Francesca.

From Publishers Weekly:

This monumental study of the 15th-century Italian painter Carlo Crivelli by art historian Lightbrown is clearly intended for those who are already well informed about early Renaissance art. For people who don’t, for example, use the phrase "di sotto in sù perspective" in everyday conversation, the book may appear to be an unnavigable thicket of learned references. This is a shame, for behind the forbidding walls of Lightbrown’s eggheaded prose lies the story of a mysterious, compelling artist who has clearly captured the writer’s imagination. In one of his rare flashes of liveliness, Lightbrown gushes with endearing enthusiasm over the perfectly realized cucumbers in Crivelli’s altar paintings. The author is generally at his best when acting as a leisurely tour guide for specific paintings, decoding every symbol and pointing out Crivelli’s many curious mannerisms. (Among other things, the painter had a thing for upright rocks and clearly defined sinews.) Even at these times, though, Lightbrown’s dry-as-dust approach can wear out the most motivated of readers. His unwillingness to give greater voice to his own passion for the subject is only part of the problem. More importantly, Lightbrown offers an overwhelming quantity of facts but very little in the way of an organizing narrative. His work is a model of scholarly diligence, and the sheer number of reproductions alone makes it an invaluable reference tool. A big idea or two to give it shape, and a few more moments of enthusiasm for perfect cucumbers, would have made it readable as well.
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