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Painting with Demons

The Art of Gerolamo Savoldo

The achievements of Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo were, even during a period of unprecedented artistry, out of the ordinary. Born in Brescia around 1480, he radically reimagined Christian subjects. His surviving oeuvre of roughly fifty paintings—from the intensely poetic Tobias and the Angel to sober self-portraits—represents some of the most profound work of the period. In Painting with Demons, a beautifully illustrated book and the first in English devoted to the painter, Michael Fried brings his celebrated skills of looking and thinking to bear on Savoldo’s art, providing a stunning contribution to our understanding both of the early modern European imagination and of the achievement of this underappreciated artist.

256 pages | 65 color plates, 8 halftones | 7 1/4 x 9 3/4

Art: European Art

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"Illustrations in this book bear out the high quality of Savoldo's painting. For that reason alone, we have cause to be grateful to Fried and his publisher. . . . Fried's forthrightness and inquisitiveness are to our benefit. This stimulating book is sure to ignite debate."


"A stunning book about a stunning artist. To follow Fried through this book is to learn to see the paintings of Savoldo in a new way: to grasp the meanings of hands and their gestures, to find the strange faces that lurk in drapery and rocks, and, in the end, to see the paintings themselves as charged with both a distinctive sensibility and a unique form of Christianity."

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

“A groundbreaking book on an extraordinary artist. . . . An ambitious and encompassing view of Savoldo, critically astute and resolutely historical.”

Stephen J. Campbell, Johns Hopkins University

"The great achievement of this book is that it discloses the secret laboratory of a painter and makes it accessible to us. Full of surprises and of unexpected insights, it can be read as an outstanding scholarly detective novel, capable of drawing the viewer into the making of paintings. The unorthodox painter Savoldo has found his unorthodox interpreter in Fried."

Victor I. Stoichita, University of Fribourg

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