The Judgment of Paris

Ross King, Author, Tristan Layton, Read by
Ross King, Author, Tristan Layton, Read by , read by Tristan Layton. Audio Renaissance $49.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-59397-877-8
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-385-66102-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-3966-1
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-8027-1466-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-59397-875-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-3906-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-7927-3907-4
Hardcover - 448 pages - 978-0-7011-7683-9
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Listening to Layton is like sitting at a Left Bank cafe with a British friend who knows both the history and gossip of the 1860s' Paris art scene and can put it all in political context. Layton has a friendly, low-pitched voice, good tempo and pace. He's never overly dramatic, but does lift an amusing vocal eyebrow quoting some of the more pompous figures of the period. King describes the mid-century revolution in French art by focusing on the lives and canvases of the extremes of the period. Ernest Meissonier is wildly successful and wealthy, patiently mirroring every face and frock and hoofbeat in precise historical detail, while Edouard Manet is rejected and scorned by the public, peers, critics and buyers for the manner in which he illuminated his impressions of scenes and characters. As Manet gradually moves from brown hues to vibrant colors and from classical to modern settings, King shows his influence on those younger contemporaries—Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas et al.—who came to be known as the Impressionists. Artists, art historians and connoisseurs will be transfixed by this description of the seismic shift in art from the mirror to the lamp. The rest of us may slide over the names of unfamiliar artists, critics, mistresses, models and political figures to focus on the heart of this fascinating story. Simultaneous release with the Walker & Co. hardcover (Reviews, Dec. 19). (Jan.)

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