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Renaissance and Baroque Art

Selected Essays

Leo Steinberg

Renaissance and Baroque Art

Leo Steinberg

Edited by Sheila Schwartz
With an Introduction by Stephen J. Campbell
416 pages | 104 color plates, 140 halftones | 8-1/2 x 11 | © 2020
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780226668727 Published August 2020
E-book $10.00 to $65.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226668864 Published August 2020

Leo Steinberg was one of the most original art historians of the twentieth century, known for taking interpretive risks that challenged the profession by overturning reigning orthodoxies. In essays and lectures ranging from old masters to contemporary art, he combined scholarly erudition with an eloquent prose that illuminated his subject and a credo that privileged the visual evidence of the image over the literature written about it. His writings, sometimes provocative and controversial, remain vital and influential reading. Steinberg’s perceptions evolved from long, hard looking at his objects of study. Almost everything he wrote included passages of formal analysis, but always put into the service of interpretation.

This volume begins and ends with thematic essays on two fundamental precepts of Steinberg’s art history: how dependence on textual authority mutes the visual truths of images and why artists routinely copy or adapt earlier artworks. In between are fourteen chapters on masterpieces of renaissance and baroque art, with bold and enlightening interpretations of works by Mantegna, Filippo Lippi, Pontormo, El Greco, Caravaggio, Steen and, finally, Velázquez. Four chapters are devoted to some of Velázquez’s best-known paintings, ending with the famously enigmatic Las Meninas.

Renaissance and Baroque Art is the third volume in a series that presents Steinberg’s writings, selected and edited by his longtime associate Sheila Schwartz.

Preface and Acknowledgments, Sheila Schwartz

Introduction, Stephen J. Campbell

1. Words That Prevent Perception
2. Mantegna: Did He Paint by the Book?
3. “How Shall This Be?” Reflections on Filippo Lippi’s Annunciation in London
4. Mantegna’s Dead Christ: Passion and Pattern
5. Pontormo’s Capponi Chapel
6. Pontormo’s Alessandro de’ Medici; or, I Only Have Eyes for You
7. Salviati’s Beheading of St. John the Baptist
8. An El Greco Entombment Eyed Awry
9. Observations in the Cerasi Chapel
10. Guercino’s Saint Petronilla
11. Steen’s Female Gaze and Other Ironies
12. Deciphering Velázquez’s Old Woman
13. The Water Carrier of Velázquez
14. Velázquez’s Pablo de Valladolid
15. Velázquez’s Las Meninas
16. The Glorious Company


Leo Steinberg: Chronology

Leo Steinberg: Publications (1947–2010)

Photography Credits

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