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​When Words Speak Volumes about Art and History

By Karan Jain 5 years ago 992 Views No comments

For the lovers of 'Art and History', here's a glance into six of the famous illustrations of the world.

Each of these books can be termed as excellent in their own genre. To begin with, 'Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West', apprises you of the changes on religious and social fronts, along with a peep into various art forms and cultures in the Southwestern region. 'Edmond De Waal' elucidates his family history and memoirs like a beautifully woven tapestry, and 'Picasso and his model Sylvette' interestingly reveals Picasso's inspirations and muse of the 1950's. 'Mapping It Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies' offers a beautiful spread of expert design and relevant illustration, whereas,' A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today' and 'The Duchamp Dictionary' takes you into the colorful world of artists and painters.

So, you cannot escape the charming experience of the world of art, history and culture as you skim through each of these books.

Undermining: A Wild Ride Through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West
by Lucy Lippard
The New Press

Through exquisite figurative language technique of writing, Lucy Lippard's showcases her mastery in this amazing sleek book and takes you on an exciting train journey through the rough southwestern landscapes of her domain. Being an art curator, she weaves a beautiful cerebral fabric of ecological abuse and the various relationships between politics and myth, art and culture, as well as the natural and manmade, all over this topography. With amazing dexterity, she has elucidated odds and evens of architectural criticism, Muslim Hadith, portions of Hopi prophecies, and to top it all, some excerpts of Karl Marx, Terry Tempest Williams and Jorge Luis Borges too. So, all in all, this book is a complete storehouse of knowledge, in one volume.

Edmund de Waal
by Edmund de Waal and Emma Crichton-Miller

This fine-looking book is bound by cloth and gives a complete overview of the early influences of British ceramicist and writer, Edmund De Waal. Waal has achieved a lot of proclaim for his famous memoirs and family history, 'The Hare with Amber Eyes' . The book "Signs and Wonders" also provides abundant information of the major achievements of W. H. Auden. Moreover, his awesome poetry and Japanese tea ceremonies are elucidated in a rich drapery with transcendent installation in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It can be said that this book is a blend of some fine work of art and literature.

Picasso and the Model: Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette
Edited by Christoph Grunenberg and Astrid Becker Prestel Publishing

Picasso, known for his various muses, was completely inspired and besotted by a 19-year old model; Sylvette David. She stood out in the crowd because of her hair do; a pony tail. Picasso met her on the Côte d'Azur in 1954 and ever since ruminated upon her. Sylvette, was termed an "eternal adolescent" by a Surrealistic writer, Louis Aragon, as she posed for Picasso regularly, but never slept with him. She proved to be an intense inspiration for Picasso, as he went on to paint almost 50 paintings, drawings and sculptures that had a wide range of realist portraits and Cubist abstractions. This volume also comprises of essays, specific works and Picasso's creations of other models, more so an illustration of "the teenager phenomenon" of the 1950s, and more or less focusing and revealing his underlying artistic interest in his favorite model, Sylvette.

The Duchamp Dictionary
by Thomas Girst
Thames & Hudson; W.W. Norton & Company

The seduction of bright and vivid colors of Thomas Girst's guide to Marcel Duchamp is not something that can be escaped from. For all art lovers, who know the appeal of a colorful palette, rich in vivid primary and secondary colors must possess or go through this dictionary. Here, the visual illustrations are enhanced by famous graphic designers Luke Frost and Therese Vandling, who are in conjunction with this playful concept and give the entire approach an artistic, as well as an educative mould.

Mapping It Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies

Edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist; Introduction by Tom McCarthy, Thames and &Hudson.

'Unity in Diversity' is what you will get in these metaphysical charts. An amalgamation of varied group of thinkers, artists, and scientists are spread all over this map. In this book, we learn about the swift spread of luxury developments in New York, in addition to plots of colonization of New York and its contemporary corollary by Doug Aitken. You will come across some written directions like this one, "if you pass the wildlife and dinosaur park you've gone too far," given by Damien Hirst. Moreover, you will also get to see a glimpse of Anish Kapoor's sketchbook and his varied maps and drawings of the human body. It won't be wrong to say that this book is full of visual treats that will prove to be any reader or artist's delight.

A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today
By Margherita Dessanay and Marc Valli
Laurence King Publishing

If we look through Marc Valli's perspective which says, 'in this jet age and computerized environment that is up to the brim with sundry forms of optic spam and selfies that are blurred, the art of painting should be considered as a miraculous act, 'this book will definitely give us a very interesting angle of realism in art. There is a never ending list of dozens of artists, such as Jules de Balincourt, Liu Xiaodong and Cynthia Daignault, who have continuously painted figures and created miracles time and again. While images on the Internet have inspired some, others have found contemporary technology more appealing. All in all, each individual artist's style is respected and valued. Moreover, the artists that are mentioned are indebted to diverse artists from Gustav Klimt to Neo Rauch. No doubt, this diversity has brought about some unevenness, but that can be easily combated with a more astute selection of contemporary figurative paintings. Nevertheless, this book is worth a read.

Way forward

If you are an enthusiastic artist, curator, an art lover, archaeologist or a research scholar exploring history, then these amazing books will all contribute in enriching your knowledge of history and the evolution of art across various centuries, successfully seducing you under their spell.

Are you ready to indulge in the magic of these books on art and history?