LONDON.- A New Way of Seeing
asks "what makes great art great?" and questions whether greatness can be pinned down to a single indispensable detail a flourish of strangeness without which masterpieces from Trajan's Column to Munch's The Scream, the Bayeux Tapestry to Andy Warhols Brillo Boxes, The Book of Kells to Gustav Klimts The Kiss and Louise Bourgeoiss Maman would not continue to sing in the popular imagination.
Kelly Grovier, one of the most exciting new voices in cultural criticism, answers these questions 57 times by combing the most revered paintings and sculptures in all of art history for overlooked details that, once spotted and explored, alter forever the way that we see and, more importantly, connect with these milestones of creativity. From a spectral sixth finger that ghosts Mona Lisa's hand and the unfinished pearl in Vermeers most famous painting, to a newly discovered planet that troubles the sky in American Gothic, Grovier's engaging detective work rescues from the surface of famous works a trove of surprises.
From a carved mammoth tusk (c. 40,000 BCE) to Duchamps Fountain (1917), from Boschs Garden of Earthly Delights (1505-10) to Marina Abramovićs The Artist is Present (2010), a remarkable lexicon of astonishing imagery has imprinted itself onto cultural consciousness over the past 40,000 years. It is to these works that Kelly Grovier devotes himself in this radical new art history.
Lavishly illustrated with many of the most celebrated artworks ever created, as well as important works that inspired or were inspired by them, Kelly Groviers A New Way of Seeing re-illuminates enduring masterpieces and invites every reader to marvel at each work afresh.
Kelly Grovier is a poet and cultural critic. He is a columnist and feature writer for BBC Culture and his writings on art have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The RA Magazine and Wired. Educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at the University of Oxford, he is co-founder of the scholarly journal European Romantic Review, as well as the author of 100 Works of Art That Will Define Our Age (2013) and Art Since 1989 (2015), both published by Thames & Hudson.
It is one of those hypnotic flourishes that, once spotted, transfixes the eye: the spiral of golden hair suspended on the goddesss right shoulder in Sandro Botticellis Renaissance masterpiece The Birth of Venus.
'Munchs portrait of a shrieking figure has become an archetype of existential angst. More than a century after it was painted, its elastic countenance still hypnotizes, like a bare bulb swaying above cultural consciousness.