`E-pub ⇗ The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits ↞ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

Not much about the paintings themselves No discernible reason for pictures chosen, or order of discussion Disappointing. A book which accompanies a television series and a gallery exhibition and which uses paintings in the National Portrait Gallery and the stories behind them to tell the history of British painting often in the context of wider British social history.Although there are lots of the paintings reproduced, many referred to in the text are not and the book is very unstructured, both between and within sections and chapters. I love books about art, and I love books about history, and I love books about art history, so I figured I could hardly go wrong with a book with this title And indeed, it is charming, although probably better taken in small chunks I had to gallop through it, since I was reading a library copy, and it s a LOT to digest at one go I would say the subtitle is somewhat misleading It s not A history, it s a collection of short histories, on various subjects, illustrated by a selection of reproductions from the British National Portrait Gallery The illustrations are wonderful, and there are many of them the book as a whole is expensively and lavishly produced on heavy coated paper, which makes looking at the images a joy while also making the book very heavy to hold but so many paintings are referenced in the text that I continually found myself frustrated at not being able to see portraits so lovingly described That feels ungrateful, but it s true nonetheless I am a long time fan of Simon Schama s television hosting as well as his writing, and this book is far like the former than the latter I haven t seen the television series it companions yet I believe and hope it will be shown on PBS eventually , but I wouldn t be the tiniest bit surprised if this was a fleshed out version of the show transcript because Schama s speaking voice comes through loud and clear on every page I could almost see and hear him as I read That is a strength of the book, but it is also a bit of a weakness, because it makes the book feel very episodic, especially at first, when I was expecting of a connected narrative than the book delivers Still, I recommend it, especially to people interested in art history. Aan de hand van portretten gschilderd, getekend, etsen, foto s vertelt Schama over de geschiedenis van Engeland Geen bepaalde volgorde, meer thematisch Maar steeds erg interessant Het is niet allen de geschiedenis an sich, maar ook het verhaal van de kunstenaars en degenen,die geportretteerd worden Typische Schama stijl met veel humor De reproducties zijn mooi Het is ook een boek om alleen plaatjes te kijken. Delightfully eclectic romp through British portraiture bouncing back and forth through the centuries, engaging artists, photographers, etc., and their subjects part history, part art critique, part social commentary well illustrated, as one would expect Simon Schama can do three things with a portrait first, he can explain what its pictorial qualities are and position it in the tradition of portrait painting and art history in general What is new in the style or innovative in the technique How is it an expression of the art schools of its time Secondly, he can tell us about the historical function of the portrait and the historical context in which it was created Portraits had a different function in the Elizabethan age than in Victoria s time What role did this portrait play in history or how does it represent the issues at stake in the time of its creation Thirdly, there always is an anecdote about the painter, the sitter or the portrait itself Churchill looks fierce, not because he is determined to beat Hitler but because an audacious photographer brutally took his cigar away Most of the time he does the three things together which results in a most enjoyable read.In about five thematic chapters power, love, fame, self portrait, common people Schama discusses a wide range of portraits, hopping from one era to another explaining how portraits and the represented theme have evolved philosophically and visually over time Be prepared to face an avalanche of names and historical references that may at times hinder the fluency of the reading unless your erudition equals that of Schama Have a google device nearby.But see it through and you will be rewarded with or renewed insights into British history and in art history As a bonus you will have amply expanded your stock of interesting facts and amusing stories and hence your range in conversation The hardcover is a beautiful book with quality pictures of most of the portraits discussed. There s something powerful and elemental about portraiture about meeting another person s gaze across time and space Similarly, the process itself, the complex dance between the subject, the artist, their actual appearance, what they desire to appear, and the chance that the image captures something of their essence, is also fascinating and powerful And when portraiture becomes systematized, as it does in the National Portrait Gallery, that adds all the complications of public notability.There s a great deal of potential in this work It s a fascinating topic and Schama has the art historical background to pull it off But only a few sections really gel as a cohesive whole the first chapter on power, the last chapter on ordinary Britons, some of the asides on caricature and miniature paintings which were carried as a constant reminder of a beloved one Basically, for an American, what this book needed was structure and context on about 200 years of British history from 1750 to 1950 I consider myself reasonably well read and an amateur historian, but I only know enough to sketch an outline of this period, and Schama is so caught up in breathy gossip that I lost track of what he was gossiping about What could be insightful tends towards a ramble through the British Gallery.This book probably also suffered because of my tendency to marathon through whatever I m reading At a chapter a day, the tone might grate less Still, lots of beautiful plates and fun words, even if the choice of images in a chapter can be somewhat frustrating. Prolific author Simon Schama is at heart a storyteller In this his latest book he uses selected portraits from the National Portrait Gallery in London to tell stories both about the men and women portrayed, some well known, others not, and the artists themselves, again some famous and some entirely new to me Altogether it makes for entertaining reading and a different angle on British history and society One of my favorites the rainbow portrait of Queen Elizabeth wearing a gown with embroidered eyes and ears, symbolizing the all knowing nature of the monarch A bit bizarre to our modern sensibilities, but in light of recent events, maybe due for a comeback. Kind of an armchair travel book for history and art buffs The Face of Britain augments the background of the portraits from London s National Portrait Gallery in the way that only Simon Schama can quirkily detailed, and deeply interesting You can read this the way you might walk through a gallery, browse until you find a portrait that captivates, then stop to read the background Destined to be a book to sit by my armchair for quite awhile. `E-pub ⇴ The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits ☠ A Portrait Opens A Window Into A Person S Life Who They Were And Wanted To Be, Who The Artist Saw And How Everyone Else Looked OnFrom The Divine Paintings Of Elizabeth I To The Iconic Photograph Of Bulldog Churchill From Victorian Portraits Of Dead Children To Hockney S Of His Elderly Parents From Anonymous Workers To The Artists Themselves, Simon Schama Uses A Stunning And Surprising Array Of Images To Tell The Story Of The British From The Tudors To The Present Day He Will Change The Way We See Britain And Each Other