art history

The Horse: 30,000 Years of the Horse in Art by Tamsin Pickeral

The Horse: 30,000 Years of the Horse in Art by Tamsin Pickeral

The recent movie War Horse, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, succeeded in showing the strong emotional connections between horses and people. Indeed, this bond was much a part of human history and everyday life up to the middle of the 20th century.  Tamsin Pickeral’s book, The Horse: 30,000 Years of the Horse in Art, is as much about history of this relationship as it is about art.

From Neolithic horse hunters’ vivid and probably shamanic cave paintings in France to portraits of proud aristocrats and royalty with their prized possessions to scenes such as the mournful “Ownerless Horse on the Battlefield at Mozhaisk in 1812,” by Adam Albrecht, the horses depicted are as much a projection of human feeling as they are simple studies in landscape or nature.

Celtic Art: Symbols & Imagery

By Miranda Green

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An archaeologist and Celtic art expert decodes the rich world of Celtic symbols and artistry.

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Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques and Contemporary Applications

By Suzanne Brooker

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"The art of portraiture approached its apex during the sixteenth century in Europe with the discovery of oil painting when the old masters developed and refined techniques that remain unsurpassed to this day. The ascendance of nonrepresentational art in the middle of the twentieth century displaced these venerable skills, especially in academic art circles. Fortunately for aspiring artists today who wish to learn the methods that allowed the Old Masters to achieve the luminous color and subtle tonalities so characteristic of their work, this knowledge has been preserved in hundreds of small traditional painting ateliers that persevered in the old ways in this country and throughout the world. Coming out of this dedicated movement, Portrait Painting Atelier is an essential resource for an art community still recovering from a time when solid instruction in art technique was unavailable in our schools.

"Of particular value here is a demonstration of the Old Masters' technique of layering paint over a toned-ground surface, a process that builds from the transparent dark areas to the more densely painted lights. This method unifies the entire painting, creating a beautiful glow that illuminates skin tones and softly blends all the color tones. Readers will also find valuable instruction in paint mediums from classic oil-based to alkyd-based, the interactive principles of composition and photograph-based composition and photograph-based composition, and the anatomy of the human face and the key relationships among its features."

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Painting American: The Rise of American Artists: Paris, 1867--New York, 1948

By Annie Cohen-Solal

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"Shortly after the Civil War, a resurgent America strode brashly onto the hallowed ground of the Paris salon to present its most distinguished painters in the Exposition Universelle of 1867. Their offereings included majestic Western waterfalls, magnificent portraits, sprawling landscapes--the cream of a nation ready to assert itself culturally as it had begun to do so economically. The Americans sat back to bask in anticipated applause. But their confidence would be shattered when the luminaries of the French Academy condemned the spectacle as being unworthy of the great nation that had produced it. The rebuke provoked widespread soul searching in America: Why was the land of Melville and Poe unable to produce paintings of comparable power? How was it to claim a place among nations producing art of real consequence?

"In this magnificent historical panorama, Annie Cohen-Solal shows how American pragmatism furnished the solution: Learn from the best. The French were then the undisputed masters of painting, and so to France the Americans went in hordes, apprenticing themselves in the studios of reknowned masters-- ... Cabanel, and others--or founding colonies such as the legendary one at Pont-Aven. From the seeds of their individual efforts would grow an extraordinary crop, one that included not only the great--Whistler, Cassatt, Sargent--but a legion of artists of all ranks who collectively pushed forward a bold new American enterprise. In two generations, Paris would be eclipsed, and the greatest French artists would begin coming to New York to be at the new center of everything."

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