Storytelling in Christian Art from Giotto to Donatello

Jules Lubbock

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Recounting the biblical stories through visual images was the most prestigious form of commission for a Renaissance artist. In this book Jules Lubbock examines some of the most famous of these pictorial narratives by prominent artists including Giovanni Pisano, Giotto, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Masaccio. The author explains how artists portrayed biblical events so as to be easily recognizable and, at the same time, to captivate the viewer long enough to encourage the search for deeper meanings.
Lubbock shows that the Church favored the production of images that lent themselves to being read and interpreted in this way, and he demonstrates how the pleasurable activity of deciphering these meanings can work in practice. The book is richly illustrated, with many photographs specially taken to show how the paintings and relief sculptures appear in the settings for which they were originally designed.

Jules Lubbock is professor of art history, University of Essex. He is the author of Tyranny of Taste: The Politics of Architecture and Design in Britain, 1550-1960, published by Yale University Press.

“Jules Lubbock’s book…could so easily have fallen into the dull and boring category of professors scoring points off other professors, best saved for the technical journals. It is in fact as scholarly as any don could demand but, in the lucidity of its writing, the skilled use not just of illustrative plates, but of genuinely helpful photography – much of it by the author himself – it is an absorbing interpretation of some seriously difficult but luminously rewarding great art. It can be appreciated by both the lay enthusiast and that quasi-mythical beast, the general reader. … [It is] a highly sophisticated celebration of painting and sculpture as narration, as storytelling. … Lubbock’s interpretations and analyses are essential reading… Lubbock is masterly in his exposition and evaluation…[and] the verve with which [he] writes…is never other than fascinating. … All in all, this is an outstanding contribution both to our understanding of the Renaissance and our appreciation of narrative art.” - Tom Rosenthal, The Independent on Sunday

“Seven key Renaissance painters and sculptors brilliantly reassessed.” - The Independent on Sunday

“Jules Lubbock’s fine volume will become indispensable for the serious traveller in Tuscany. Indeed,…it is well nigh impossible to find fault with this book. It is a joy to read, and as a history of art in Tuscany it is quite possibly a paragon. … Lubbock’s thesis is simple. He looks at what he sees, and describes it visually. This may seem obvious, but it is amazing how many art critics and art historians are wilfully blind. By freeing us to look at the works as they appear in situ, Lubbock invites us to understand what the artist wanted us to read. … Christian images…remain powerful, despite the hordes of tourists, if we permit the likes of Lubbock to lead us.” - Nicholas Cranfield, Church Times

"in a series of close readings that encompasses the work of Giotto, Brunelleschi, Donatello and Masaccio, Lubbock proves himself a subtle guide, fizzing with new insights."---RA Magazine

"This is a beautiful book. It is beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and about a beautiful subject, art in one of its greatest periods."---Catholic Times

"[This] must be the art book of the year . . . fascinating."—Wall Street Journal (holiday gift book roundup)

"Both scholarly and accessible."—Reference & Research Book News
ISBN: 9780300117271
Publication Date: September 6, 2006
256 pages, 246 x 171
100 b/w + 40 color illus.
The Tyranny of Taste

The Politics of Architecture and Design in Britain, 1550-1960

Jules Lubbock

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