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234 × 156 × 13 mm
192 pages
76 illustrations, 11 in colour
01 Feb 2018
Essays in Art and Culture

Looking at the Overlooked Norman Bryson

In this classic Reaktion title, Norman Bryson analyses the origins, history and logic of still-life, one of the most enduring forms of Western painting. From Roman wall-painting to Cubism, and from seventeenth-century Dutch still-life to Bryson’s conclusion that the persisting tendency to downgrade the genre of still-life is profoundly rooted in the historical oppression of women, Looking at the Overlooked is Norman Bryson is at his brilliant best.

‘Few art-historians can unpeel images in the way that he does.’ — Frances Spalding, The Independent

‘The still-life really comes to life in this book.’ — Good Book Guide

‘Remarkable essays’ — Lawrence Gowing, TLS

‘In four dazzling essays, [Bryson] breaks through the profound, enigmatic silences that have made still life resistant to interpretation for centuries . . . By including still life in the current discourse on gender and patriarchal modes of seeing, Bryson brings it up to date, arguing convincingly for its permanent relevance. For if he is correct, then still life will always offer painters a rich seam to mine.’ — Nancy Grimes, ARTnews

‘There can be little doubt that Bryson has succeeded brilliantly in his aim of developing our critical discourse: novel interpretations can be found on every page of this book. Like all the best art critics, Bryson succeeds in extending the range of our response to the paintings he writes about: after reading his words on Zurbarán or Chardin their still lifes become tinged with his eloquence.’ — Paul Taylor, Art History

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Norman Bryson is Professor of Art History at the University of California, San Diego. He has written extensively on painting and critical theory.

Still Life and 'Feminine' Space
List of Illustrations