David Ekserdjian rss

The Rose (IV), by Cy Twombly

The Duke of Wellington also invades Christmas art books

22 November 2014

Art books fall naturally into various categories, of which the most common is probably the monograph. Judith Zilczer’s A Way of Living: The Art of Willem de Kooning (Phaidon, £59.95,… Read more

The Marble Hall at Petworth House

Marble-mania: when England became a spiritual heir to the ancients

8 November 2014
Owning the Past: Why the English Collected Antique Sculpture, 1640–1840 Ruth Guilding

Yale, pp.412, £55, ISBN: 9780300208191

Phrases such as ‘Some aspects of…’ are death at the box-office, so it is not exactly unknown for the titles of scholarly works to promise far more than they actually… Read more

In the dialogue in front of Raphael’s ‘Madonna della Sedia’, Martin Gayford takes the lead

This former head of the Metropolitan finds Rembrandt boring

27 September 2014
Rendez-vous with Art Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford

Thames & Hudson, pp.248, £19.95, ISBN: 9780500239247

Surely only a double-act of the stature of Philippe de Montebello, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1977 to 2008 but also a colossus of the art… Read more

The miracle of the Crib at Greccio’, scene 13 of the St Francis cycle in the Upper Church, Basilica of San Francesco, Assisi.

Google Images can't spoil the fun — here are the most gorgeous art books of the season

7 December 2013

Good news for the festive season — the inexorable rise of the virtual image on our computer screens, tablets, and mobile phones would appear to have done nothing to diminish… Read more

‘Man Writing a Letter’ by Gabriel Metsu

A selection of recent art books

1 December 2012

With one or two exciting exceptions, almost all art books fall into a very limited number of easily identified categories, such as the monograph and the exhibition catalogue. In some… Read more


The most Shakespearean of painters

4 August 2012
Titian: His Life Sheila Hale

Harper Press, pp.864, 30, ISBN: 9780007175826

Titian’s paintings have always been both loved and revered, and he is without question the most influential artist who has ever lived. In the 17th century, Rubens, Van Dyck, Velázquez… Read more


Live on in paintings

7 July 2012
Raphael: A Passionate Life|The Life and Art of Luca Signorelli Antonio Forcellino|Tom Henry

Polity Press|Yale, pp.260|352, 20|50, ISBN: 9780745644110|9780300179262

Like all self-respecting geniuses, Raphael (1483-1520) died young at the age of 37. For over a decade, he had been based in Rome, and had enjoyed fame, wealth and success… Read more

The king of chiaroscuro

14 December 2009
Caravaggio: The Complete Works Sebastian Schütze

Taschen, pp.306, 100

These days, it is easy to take it for granted that Caravaggio (1571-1610) is the most popular of the old masters, yet it was not ever thus. In my Baedeker’s… Read more


A choice of art books

11 December 2007

First, and by no means simply by virtue of its weight, is Judy Egerton’s George Stubbs, Painter: Catalogue Raisonné (Yale, £95), which effortlessly combines awesome scholarly authority with what in… Read more

Christmas art books

30 November 2006

The seemingly unstoppable rise of the exhibition catalogue happily does not mean that nothing else gets published, and my selection of glossy delights to drive away the Boxing Day blues… Read more

Coping with the Van Gogh syndrome

28 January 2006
Sir Thomas Lawrence Michael Levey

Yale, pp.256, 45

In the context of the visual arts, the notion of misunderstood genius is a comparatively recent one, and seems to be a by-product of Romanticism. In spite of such exceptions… Read more

Christmas art books

10 December 2005
Fra Angelico Laurence Kanter and Pia Palladino

Yale University Press, pp.288, 40

The only halfway festive offering in this year’s crop of art books is Laurence Kanter and Pia Palladino’s Fra Angelico. Even in these secularised times, Angelico is still a favourite… Read more

Recent arts books

18 December 2004

This year’s crop of art books for Christmas is the usual mixed bunch, and if they have anything in common, it is their general lack of festive associations. The one… Read more

Renaissance man in all his richness

4 December 2004
Leonardo da Vinci: The Flights of the Mind Charles Nicholl

Allen Lane, pp.502, 25

Leonardo Martin Kemp

OUP, pp.286, 14.99

The major challenge faced by biographers of artists is the almost impossible one of dealing with equal authority with their lives and works. It is tempting to wonder whether this… Read more

A conservative convict

13 November 2004
Carlo Crivelli Ronald Lightbown

Yale, pp.558, 60

At the moment, a whole room of the Sainsbury wing in the Nation- al Gallery is devoted to Carlo Crivelli (c. 1430-95), but even the author of this monumental, learned,… Read more

Keeping one’s head above water in Venice

18 January 2003

Sibilline Press, pp.320, 25

I have an unusually vivid recollection of the first time I met John Hall. I went to his flat in Chelsea to be interviewed – as I thought – to… Read more

A selection of art books

7 December 2002
Richard Avedon Portraits Richard Avedon

Abrams, pp.64, 24.95

I cannot think of many less festive offerings than Richard Avedon Portraits (Abrams, £24.95), but it has to be admitted that his merciless exposure of such grotesques as a blood-and-guts-spattered… Read more