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How to Read an Impressionist Painting

James H. Rubin

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An original exploration of the movement that changed art for ever and turned Monet, Renoir, Degas, Seurat and Cassatt into household names


How to Read an Impressionist Painting is a new, original exploration of the 19th-century art movement that changed art for ever, and made household names of such painters as Monet, Renoir, Degas, Seurat, Cassatt and others.

James Rubin organizes this book by subject matter, rather than by artist or chronologically, looking at urban views and city life, interiors and still life, family and friends, and other common themes. In discussing Impressionism in this manner, he provides readers with the tools to think critically and analytically about the movement, and offers a new understanding of the collective momentum that drove the impressionists to work with such originality and commitment to modern themes.

Through close readings and comparisons of specific paintings, and with a wealth of illustrations, Rubin establishes links between the broad visual culture of the time period and the various Impressionist artists, and within the artists’ own careers. The entire history of Impressionism is covered, in an entirely new way.

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'Beautiful … fascinating … perfect as preparation for a visit to a gallery and an inspiration to see more art'
Good Book Guide

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Flexibound

Size: 24.0 x 16.8 cm

Extent: 408 pp

Publication date: 11 November 2013

ISBN: 9780500970577

Contents List

1. Predecessors and Innovators • 2. Colleagues and Patrons • 3. Family and Friends • 4. Urban Views and City Life • 5. Fashion and Entertainment • 6. Technology and Industry • 7. Politics and Society • 8. Interiors and Still Life • 9. Renewal and Revival • 10. Gender and Sexuality • 11. Promenades and Travel • 12. Sport and Outdoor Leisure 13. Light and Air • 14.Techniques and Other Media • 15. Late Work and Legacy

About the Author

James Henry Rubin is an art historian specializing in the history, theory and criticism of nineteenth-century European art, especially that of France. He is currently Professor of Art History at The State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he was department chair for fifteen years.