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The Gallery Companion

Understanding Western Art

Marcus Lodwick

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A beautifully illustrated guide to over 150 characters commonly represented in the art of the last 600 years


'Every picture tells a story’ – but for many of us the subjects and themes of the great paintings of Western art are something of a mystery. The Gallery Companion unravels the legends behind many of the most popular and frequently painted figures and explains their symbolism, which is all too often overlooked or misunderstood.

What is the Judgment of Paris? Why does St Catherine have a wheel by her side, and St Jerome a lion? Who was crucified upside down?

Written in a lively and engaging style, The Gallery Companion includes a Classical section, detailing the characters from the myths and histories of ancient Greece and Rome, and a Biblical and Religious section, describing the figures from the Old and New Testaments as well as later saints.

The text supplies the background to the character, lists the most famous paintings that depict him or her, and details the events shown. Other facts, such as why that particular subject was in vogue, are also included, as well as variations and discrepancies between treatments of the same subject matter.

Drawing upon the art of the last 800 years, with descriptions of over 150 characters commonly represented in murals and on canvas, The Gallery Companion is a beautifully illustrated guide to many of the most important subjects in painting. It will be indispensable to all those seeking to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of Western art.

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'An invaluable guide to getting more than beauty from the galleries’ walls'
Antiques Magazine

'For anyone just beginning to be interested in painting, from the school-child to the retired, it will be extremely helpful'
Country Life

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Flexibound with flaps

Size: 19.0 x 12.7 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 160

Publication date: 8 April 2002

ISBN: 9780500283585

About the Author

Marcus Lodwick has a doctorate in ancient Greek architecture from the University of Oxford. He is currently engaged on further Classical research, and frequently leads archaeological tours to the ancient sites of the Greek and Roman world.