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Vermeer's Hat
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Brook (Chinese studies, Oxford Univ.; Confusions of Pleasure) takes a distinctive look at the global economy and world trade in the 17th century in this captivating work. He uses works of art, in particular by the Dutch painter Vermeer, as windows into that specific time in Delft (Vermeer's hometown and home to a chamber of the Dutch East India Company ) and as conduits into other aspects of the emerging world. Through specific paintings such as Officer and Laughing Girl and Woman Holding a Balance, Brook takes the reader on adventures across countries, continents, and trade routes in the era's quest for beaver pelts, Chinese porcelain (i.e., china), tobacco, and silver, and shows men and women caught up in the "whirlpool of global movement." This book will certainly make you look differently at Vermeer's paintings, as you imagine the greater context of the time period and ponder the acquisition of seemingly minor objects. An insightful read for historians and art historians alike and a fine guide into the rewards of studying material culture. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.-Susanne Markgren, SUNY at Purchase Lib. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Vermeer's Hat offers us a rich new understanding both of Vermeer's paintings and of the era they portray. 'Effortless and compelling, Brooks is a wonderful storyteller. I doubt I will read a better book this year.' Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Timothy Brook holds the Shaw Chair in Chinese Studies at Oxford University. He is the author of many books, including the awkward-winning Confusions of Pleasure.

Reviews

Brook (Chinese studies, Oxford Univ.; Confusions of Pleasure) takes a distinctive look at the global economy and world trade in the 17th century in this captivating work. He uses works of art, in particular by the Dutch painter Vermeer, as windows into that specific time in Delft (Vermeer's hometown and home to a chamber of the Dutch East India Company ) and as conduits into other aspects of the emerging world. Through specific paintings such as Officer and Laughing Girl and Woman Holding a Balance, Brook takes the reader on adventures across countries, continents, and trade routes in the era's quest for beaver pelts, Chinese porcelain (i.e., china), tobacco, and silver, and shows men and women caught up in the "whirlpool of global movement." This book will certainly make you look differently at Vermeer's paintings, as you imagine the greater context of the time period and ponder the acquisition of seemingly minor objects. An insightful read for historians and art historians alike and a fine guide into the rewards of studying material culture. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.-Susanne Markgren, SUNY at Purchase Lib. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Spell-binding ... as a guide to the world behind the pictures Vermeer's Hat is mind-expanding -- John Carey * Sunday Times * A brilliant attempt to make us understand the reach and breadth of the first global age -- Kathryn Hughes * Guardian * Brook takes you into the paintings in a way that can be spookily intimate -- William Leith * Evening Standard * Brook is a gifted storyteller... spellbinding... a treasure trove of astonishing pleasures * The Lady * How brilliantly Brook connects all with all * Guardian * Revelatory * Sunday Business Post * Illuminating footnotes to Vermeer's miracles on canvas * Independent * An erudite, surprising book that finds traces of swashbuckling where you'd least expect -- Thomas Marks * Daily Telegraph * Truly mesmerising. In this accessible but authoritative study, he... shows better than anyone I've read so far, the truly subversive power of detail -- Lesley McDowell * Independent on Sunday *

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