The Power of Art


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The first paperback edition of Simon Schama's acclaimed and bestselling Power of Art.

About the Author

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. His award-winning books, translated into fifteen languages, include Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings, The American Future, The Face of Britain and The Story of the Jews- Finding the Words (1000 BCE - 1492). His art columns for the New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism and his journalism has appeared regularly in the Guardian and the Financial Times where he is Contributing Editor. He has written and presented forty films for BBC2 on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics and John Donne.


Few writers have as good a command of language and culture as does Schama (art history & history, Columbia Univ.), who remains at the top of his game with this welcome return to art history. Like his earlier A History of Britain and Rough Crossings, this work accompanies a documentary BBC series. Schama zeroes in on the creation and psychohistoric context of a single, pivotal artwork by eight giants of Western art: Caravaggio, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Rembrandt, Jacques-Louis David, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko. Schama is an erudite storyteller, devoting equal time and attention to his well-chosen subjects. What's more, he has a winning writing style and is respectful of his readers' interests and intelligence while keeping the tales of these artists going in what in each case becomes high drama (e.g., he re-creates the story of Picasso's Guernica through a fascinating web of politics, violence, and smuggling). While lacking the sweeping scope of some of his earlier books-notably, the masterful Landscape and Memory-this is a bravura work that will appeal to art tyros and aficionados alike. Highly recommended.-Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Packed with noisy enthusiasm, punchy arguments and verbal agility... An excessively gifted communicator, [Schama] knows how to sweep facts and argument into a powerful, fluent narrative * The Independent *
Power of Art feels as if it has been written in one breathless burst of enthusiasm, in a prose style that crackles like electricity * Sydney Morning Herald *
A stunning work, resounding with profound insights which rivet the attention... A beautifully conceived and presented book from the professor of art history at Columbia University, New York. There must be few others in the world who could equal it * Western Daily Press *
Powerfully vivid story-telling... Schama is a powerful communicator, and it is a joy to witness him explore the extraordinary evolution of eight world-class works of art * Good Book Guide *
Politics, religion, war, sex and love are the inspirations behind the paintings chosen, and each takes on a new life under Schama's gaze * First magazine *

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