The French Painters of the Seventeenth Century

Christopher Wright, Author Bulfinch Press $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8212-1611-8
Familiar landmarks in 17th century French painting include Nicolas Poussin's moral allegories, Georges de La Tour's stark, mysterious candlelit interiors, Claude Lorrain's multilayered landscapes with their famous ""golden glow'' and the Le Nain brothers' coarse peasant genre scenes. Wright wants to show that there is much more to the period that that; his dry survey, based on college lecture notes, is most useful for its alphabetical catalogue, which turns up many neglected masters. Sebastian Stoskopff's ultra-realistic still lifes (e.g., Glasses in a Basket appeal strongly to modern tastes. Also notable are Jean Tassel's brooding portraits, Gaspard Dughet's remarkably cold, stylized landscapes and Philippe de Champaigne's Still Life with a Skull, betraying his Flemish origins. The bombast and empty mannerism that marked much of the art of this epoch are also on display. Painters like Charles Le Brun, who decorated the ceilings of Versailles, are justly forgotten. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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