The Art of Reading: An Illustrated History of Books in Paint
Jamie Camplin, Maria Ranauro
Getty Publications & Thames & Hudson, 2018
“Why do artists love books?” This volume takes this tantalizingly simple question as a starting point to reveal centuries of symbiosis between the visual and literary arts. First looking at the development of printed books and the simultaneous emergence of the modern figure of the artist, The Art of Reading appraises works by the many great masters who took inspiration from the printed word.
Authors Jamie Camplin and Maria Ranauro weave together an engaging cultural history that probes the ways in which books and paintings represent a key to understanding ourselves and the past. Paintings contain a world of information about religion, class, gender, and power, but they also reveal details of everyday life often lost in history texts. Such artworks show us not only how books have been valued over time but also how the practice of reading has evolved in Western society.
Featuring over one hundred works by artists from across Europe and the United States and all painting genres, The Art of Reading explores the two-thousand-year story of the great painters and the preeminent information-providing, knowledge-endowing, solace-giving, belief-supporting, leisure-enriching, pleasure-delivering medium of all time: the book.