9780297646716 / 0297646710

Matt's Old Masters: Titian, Rubens, Velasquez, Hogarth


Publisher:Orion Publishing



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About the book:

Matthew Collings' Old Masters book is bold, quietly scholarly, copiously filled with full colour reproductions and characteristically opinionated. In his early books (This is Modern Art and It Hurts) Collings promoted, with his penetrating and wry critical intelligence, what to many seemed like the indulgences--not to say the inanities--of the brand of popular modern art characterised by Charles Saatchi's patronage and Cool Britannia's posturing. His last book, Art Crazy Nationwas, however, more cautious: Collings wasn't retreating but not all the work of the Young British Artists was good and he knew it.

In this book, his wonderful study of Titian, Rubens, Velazquez and Hogarth, Collings returns us to "proper" painters who did "proper" painting. Addressing an audience who are now at ease decoding the gestural puzzles of conceptual art, he seeks to re-engage with work usually written about in as dour and stuffy a manner as the old galleries in which they often hang. This art is all about the painting: the verve and the style and the practice of how colourful goo can make powerful, challenging pictures. Appreciating it takes a little patience and some art historical context and Collings does a fine job aiding the would-be aesthete's eye and brain.

Collings is never dull and this is a hugely entertaining and amusing read. It is a further pleasure still to see the author turning his attention to painters who looked like they were going to miss out on his earnestly ironic readings. --Mark Thwaite

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