Beyond the Naked Eye: Details from the National Gallery (National Gallery London)

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9781857093810: Beyond the Naked Eye: Details from the National Gallery (National Gallery London)
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What admirer of a great Renaissance painting has not wished for the chance to approach it closely and examine each tiny detail? This unique book permits just such a close-up view of some of the most beautiful masterpieces in the National Gallery, London. Using photography taken through a microscope, this book shows details from paintings that would not normally be seen: a gem sparkling on a ringed finger, a minute insect, intricate brushwork, the texture of a painted surface.

Each of the macrophotographs in the book documents around a half-inch section of a Renaissance panel painting, revealing the smallest details in works by Lucas Cranach, Jan van Eyck, Fra Angelico, Raphael, and many others. The complete paintings are shown at the back of the book. Beautifully designed and illustrated, this jewel of a book is an irresistible treasure for every art lover.

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Review:

'A small book intended to entertain and enlighten adult, Beyond the Naked Eye, would fascinate younger readers too.' -- Frank Whitford, The Sunday Times, November 27, 2005

'This is fascinating material simply and directly presented, a
worthy publication from the National Gallery.'
-- The Art Book, August 2006

Synopsis:

Most of the paintings in the National Gallery have details that might not immediately catch your eye, and we are used to the pleasure of finding an unexpected detail in the corner of a picture we know well. But some of the paintings have details that are actually invisible to the naked eye - or so tiny that it is difficult to appreciate the minute, masterly brush strokes that made them. You might notice a gem sparkling on a ring, but you would not, and never could, see how Raphael convinced you that light was reflecting from the emerald. This unique publication uses macrophotographs - taken at high magnification through a microscope - to reveal paintings in extraordinary detail. For the first time, these often stunning pictures are reproduced here as works of art in their own right. Highlighting the technical accomplishment of Renaissance panel painting, the illustrations are grouped thematically, including sections devoted to the body, background and landscape details, surfaces (such as mirrors and gems), and technique.

The complete paintings (by Lucas Cranach, Jan van Eyck, Andrea Mantegna and Raphael, among others) are reproduced at the back of the book, together with a brief biography of each artist.

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