By Charlotte Gerlings
From Fra Angelico to Francisco Zurbaran, from the masters of the Renaissance to the summary expressionists, this lavishly illustrated quantity showcases the main influential Western artists from 800 years of paintings heritage, including:
• Salvador Dali
• Mary Cassatt
• Edgar Degas
• Pablo Picasso
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Yellow forsythia announces spring at the back of a rusted trailer court. A bright mushroom breaks the ground, and a cautious eye reads its shape and colors to discern poisonous powers therein. We reach down into an animal’s burrow, fi lled with trepidation of all we imagine could be within. Packages and gifts excite expectations, delight, and surprise, for we must unwrap them. We cut through the layers of the lower intestine to discover agonizing cancers; we touch a piano key or hear the deep clink of a metal pot and are delighted by the jump of fresh sound from their interiors.
2 Surfaces—in the form of tops, covers, shells, sheaths, barks, rinds, and other coverings and exteriors—delineate individual objects and represent whole environments, horizons, and seasons. indd 18 • W e A r e S u r fac e s 06/02/13 8:12 PM immediate and tangible geography of the world and a prima facie index of all its different things. Surfaces are the boundaries of both natural and human environments. They are both the great fact and the mirror of nature, being, and what we humans make and who we are.
Rocks and minerals testify to the presence of crusts and layers, basalts and granites. Collections of shells and crystals (such as the George III collections in the British Museum) evince a nature responsive to light and rich in sizes, shapes, curves, whorls, colors, and patterns. Fossils, which speak of life past, represent a range of creatures, from those with small exoskeletons (insects, turtles, and mollusks) to those with large endoskeletons (mammals). 1 Seeds, too, whose mysteries lie wrapped within, sprout as testimonies to fertile soil and nature’s elaborate forms and generous, even joyous, flowering varieties.
100 Great Artists by Charlotte Gerlings