John Shearman makes a plea for a more engaged reading of art works of the Italian Renaissance, one that will recognize the presuppositions of Renaissance artists about their viewers. His book constructs a history of Renaissance paintings and sculptures that are by design completed outside themselves in or by the spectator, that embrace the spectator into their narrative plot or aesthetic functioning, and that reposition the spectator imaginatively or in time and space.
"In guiding our concentrated attention to the action that unfolds in [a group of paintings by Raphael, Michelangelo, Pontormo, and others that represent the Entombment], the author has taught us to make the relevant connections and thus to see these deeply moving works with fresh eyes."--E. H. Gombrich, The New York Review of Books
"Shearman's six lectures contribute significantly to current debates about the interpretation of images, particularly in relation to their reception by the spectators."--Martin Kemp, The Times Literary Supplement
"As the author of a brilliant work on Mannerism, in which literature and music were employed to explain characteristic forms, Shearman is eminently qualified for his task. [He] weaves a brilliant account of poetry and painting immortalising the sitter."--Bruce Boucher, The Times (London)
". . . the author has taught us to make the relevant connections and thus to see these deeply moving works with fresh eyes."--E. H. Gombrich, The New York Review of Books
"[Shearman's] argument that the observer, in the artist's mind, was as carefully placed, posed and arranged as the content of the work is sustained by considerable intelligence and scholarship."--Robin Blake, Independent on Sunday
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File created: 12/12/2013