Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781789143997 Published April 2021 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $22.50 ISBN: 9781789144000 Published March 2021

Rubens’s Spirit

From Ingenuity to Genius

Alexander Marr

Rubens’s Spirit

Alexander Marr

Distributed for Reaktion Books

256 pages | 71 color plates, 17 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Cloth $22.50 ISBN: 9781789143997 Published April 2021 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $22.50 ISBN: 9781789144000 Published March 2021
Peter Paul Rubens was the most inventive and prolific northern European artist of his age. This book discusses his life and work in relation to three interrelated themes: spirit, ingenuity, and genius. It argues that Rubens and his reception were pivotal in the transformation of early modern ingenuity into Romantic genius. Ranging across the artist’s entire career, it explores Rubens’s engagement with these themes in his art and life. Alexander Marr looks at Rubens’s forays into altarpiece painting in Italy as well as his collaborations with fellow artists in his hometown of Antwerp, and his complex relationship with the spirit of pleasure. It concludes with his late landscapes in connection to genius loci, the spirit of the place.
Review Quotes
Christine Göttler, Professor Emerita of Art History, University of Bern
"Rubenss Spirit is a beautifully written, subtle analysis of the prodigious creativity that informed and permeated the work of this most versatile artist, from the large altarpieces and mythologies to the portraits, genre scenes, and, finally, the late landscapes. Marr’s exploration of the multiple expressions of Rubens’s spirited art sheds new light on the notion of ingenuity, a key term of the period that would finally, in its modified form as genius, dominate aesthetic theory up to the modern day."
David Freedberg, Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art, Columbia University
"‘Genius,’ ‘ingenuity,’ ‘spirit’—these are broad terms to apply to any artist, but with great wit and erudition Marr shows how their specific seventeenth-century use enlarges our view of Rubens and his art. . . . Few introductory texts to Rubens have presented so much original research, and none move with such ease from subjects like seventeenth-century dietetics and optical theory to the implications of Rubens’s representations of male and female figures for issues of gender. A moving and beautifully written account of the astonishingly diverse aspects of Rubens’s art and life."
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