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Keeping an Eye Open

Essays on Art (Vintage International)

Julian Barnes

Paperback

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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (10/6/2015)
Paperback, Korean (9/30/2019)

Description

Flaubert believed that great paintings required no words of explanation. But, as Barnes notes, it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And when this does happen, we feel compelled to explain the very silence into which we have been plunged. In this illuminating collection of essays on art, Barnes turns his narrative gifts toward some of the most important paintings in the Western canon, eloquently voicing our reactions to these images—what they cause us to think and feel, and why. From Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa to Degas’s The Dance Lesson to Braque’s Cubism to the “good soft fun” of Oldenburg, Barnes effortlessly fits these pieces into the larger dramas of the artists’ lives and works. Taken together, these essays give us a wonderful overview of art from Romanticism onward—and are a true pleasure to read.


Praise For Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art (Vintage International)

“Eloquent. . . . This is a novelist’s criticism, full of motion and drama.” —The Washington Post

“An engaging and empathetic volume.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Perceptive. . . . Generous and discerning.” —The Boston Globe
 
“Fascinating and brilliant. . . . This magnificent survey draws its strength from its intensely personal focus, each piece reverberating off the others.” —The Financial Times  

“Illuminating. . . . Avid and thoughtful. . . . [Barnes] chatters like the gifted novelist he is, using his eye for the telling detail, his narrative intuition and his understanding of the creative process to help us see familiar artists like Degas, Braque and Magritte afresh, and to appreciate the work of lesser-known masters as well.” —The New York Times

“[A] superb collection. . . . Barnes’s observations and expression prov[e] equally adept and satisfying.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“This is art writing of the first order. . . . Page after page, essay after essay, Barnes pulls off the sort of acrobatically erudite performance that ultimately draws as much admiration for him as for the art he describes.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch 

“Powerful accounts of interconnections between art and artist. . . . Sharply observed and richly illuminating. . . . Barnes has a wonderful eye for what makes a great picture, and a command of language that again and again allows readers to share what he sees.” —Times Literary Supplement

“A readable, riveting, informed work with sharp, marvellous anecdotes and observations. . . . In this beautifully illustrated book you’re in great company.” —The Irish Independent

“Extremely rewarding, informative, attentive, thoughtful, entertaining.” —The Evening Standard

“Barnes weaves biography, history, philosophy in this fascinating, richly illuminating and beautifully written book.” —Art Quarterly

“It’s both a pleasure and an education to look over Barnes’s shoulder as he interrogates, wonders at, and relishes works of art. He’s a critic who prioritizes the objects themselves, and his work is always satisfying.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Scholarly and astute yet accessible and exciting. . . . Barnes focuses his analytical prowess on significant artists and their oeuvres, opening fresh vistas to readers—and viewers.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Handsomely illustrated, superbly written, felicitously thought-provoking. . . . Barnes is a consummate stylist, not only because of his artistic command of language but also by virtue of his searching intelligence, incisive candor, rogue wit, and righteous fairness.” —Booklist
“[Barnes] digs into fascinating details of isometric proportions. . . . Highly recommended to all art readers.” —Library Journal

Vintage, 9781101873373, 288pp.

Publication Date: June 13, 2017



About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of twenty other books including, most recently, The Noise of Time. He has received the Man Booker Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in France, the Prix Médicis and the Prix Femina; and in Austria, the State Prize for European Literature. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in London.

www.julianbarnes.com