Looking at the Overlooked: Four Essays on Still Life Painting (Reaktion Books – Essays in Art and Culture)

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In this, the only up-to-date critical work on still life painting in any language, Norman Bryson analyses the origins, history and logic of 'still life', one of the most enduring forms of Western painting. The first essay is devoted to Roman wall-painting while in the second the author surveys a major segment in the history of still life, from seventeenth-century Spanish painting to Cubism. The third essay tackles the controversial field of seventeenth-century Dutch still life. Bryson concludes in the final essay that the persisting tendency to downgrade the genre of still life is profoundly rooted in the historical oppression of women.

In Looking at the Overlooked, Norman Bryson is at his most brilliant to date. These superbly written essays will stimulate us to look at the entire tradition of still life with new and critical eyes.

Product Details

  • Series: Reaktion Books – Essays in Art and Culture
  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 094846206X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0948462061
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Customer Reviews

Looking at the Overlooked, The first critical book I have read on Still Life painting

17 people found this helpful.
 on September 16, 2005
By Tai Lipan
There is not much literature available on the subject of still life painting that goes beyond the obvious surface information. This is the first review of the history of still life painting which reexamines the human implications of different still life ideas throughout history. The four essays are in depth explorations of the challenging questions asked by seemingly ordinary subject matter and the formal ways in which artists engage these concepts. I wish I would have known about this book years ago.


14 people found this helpful.
 on April 10, 2007
By found you there
If you’re wavering on your decision to purchase this work, just go for it. I took a seminar from Professor Bryson one semester, and let me tell you, this man simply exists on a whole different intellectual level. He constantly confronts and re-perceives art and artistic theory, pushing your mind to process visual information in radically different ways.

A sensitive, intimate book on the virtues of still lifes

16 people found this helpful.
 on September 5, 1999
This small and highly accessible book reflects on the significance of the slighted area of still life painting. It is a gentle and reflective reminder of the significance of domesticity and the interior in painting.

range and richness

6 people found this helpful.
 on August 9, 2005
By Fabian Cereijido
In many american universities there is a sharp division between the classic art historians and the linguistics-inclined post modernists. Bryson’s range encompasses both.

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