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Flaubert believed that great paintings required no words of explanation. But, as Barnes notes, it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And when this does happen, we feel compelled to explain the very silence into which we have been plunged. In this illuminating collection of essays on art, Barnes turns his narrative gifts toward some of the most important paintings in the Western canon, eloquently voicing our reactions to these images--what they cause us to think and feel, and why. From Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa to Degas's The Dance Lesson to Braque's Cubism to the "good soft fun" of Oldenburg, Barnes effortlessly fits these pieces into the larger dramas of the artists' lives and works. Taken together, these essays give us a wonderful overview of art from Romanticism onward--and are a true pleasure to read.
About the Author
Julian Barnes is the author of twenty other books including, most recently, The Noise of Time. He has received the Man Booker Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in France, the Prix Medicis and the Prix Femina; and in Austria, the State Prize for European Literature. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in London. www.julianbarnes.com