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Reclining Nude Hardcover – September 1, 2002

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Imagine 129 full-page color plates of some of the most languid women ever painted in the West, one after another, and you'll have some idea of the cumulative effect of this book. It lacks a subtitle presumably because the title describes the book's contents so well on its own: the book tracks the female reclining nude from the early 16th-century geniuses Cranach and Tiziano (Titian) to the brutalism of Spencer and Freud (and the perversion of Balthus). Ferrara is a graphic designer teaching at Milan's European Institute of Design, and her selections have much less to do with art history than with visceral impact, art historian Frances Borzello's large-print, seven-paragraph introduction notwithstanding. The plates are crisply printed and beautifully presented, with all identifying text (aside from the artist's last name) banished to the back of the book. There are some clunkers (such as the four Wesselmanns that end the book), but being able to quickly compare Velasquez, Manet, Ingres, Millet, and Bonnard masterpieces of the form is worth the price of admission, even if the package is intellectually flimsy.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Lidia Guibert Ferrara is a graphic designer teaching at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan.

Frances Borzello is a leading art historian in the field of female portraits and a writer on the social history of art.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811836657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811836654
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,255,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By VW on August 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not only does the author of this book choose to omit some of the classic works from almost every period, but seems to favor the degenerative works that reflect not the beauty of the nude but the disfigurement of the human form. From roughly halfway through this chronology to its head-scratching conclusion, the paintings chosen by the author resemble a gradual takeover by the "LSD period" of art... There are one or two delightful exceptions, but in general, the latter half of the book is a study in bizarre. Why would the author choose to omit Klimt but showcase not one, or two, but FOUR dreadful paint-by-number Wesselmanns? Picasso gets five pages to Michelangelo's none, Bacon makes a disturbing appearance, and Freud gets four crotch shots in while Leonardo da Vinci gets zip. While I realize artistic tastes do vary, readers should know that this is not a representative slice of the reclining nude through the ages, but the artistic equivalent of a double feature of National Velvet followed by Halloween II.
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By Alaskaguy on July 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After the three page introduction, this is solely a picture book, but a very good one. The 129 full page illustrations are very well printed and they cover the range of styles for artists depicting reclining nude. It includes many famous pieces and many that this reader hadn't seen before. While we can always wish that the book was twice as long and included more of our favorites, there's no arguing that this is perhaps the best (if not only) book focused on a very narrow subject. A very good book for any library that includes other books on figure painting through history.
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By D Fitzgerald on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very simple book, a collection of paintings of reclining female nudes from around 1500 when the genre first appeared to the present. There is very little text. The selection of images is what makes it work. This is a wonderful book for an artist interested in the human and female form and its exploration from an historical point of view.
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