About The Book
Discussing the visual arts successfully in words is often held to be an impossible task. In fact it is merely difficult. And since the days of the ancient Greeks, many writers of all kinds have taken up the challenge–not only art critics, but novelists, poets, gossips, artists, and essayists.
In The Grove Book of Art Writing, Martin Gayford and Karen Wright have collected the best and most lively attempts to pin it down, in a single-volume cornucopia of writing on art. From Vasari and Freud on why Mona Lisa smiles, to Adolf Hitler on the degeneracy of modernism, to Picasso on how to measure the depiction of the female body, art historians, art critics, artists, as well as the aforementioned, weigh in on what makes art so wonderful, frustrating, what makes it art. From the deadly serious to the deeply witty, from the sublime to the ridiculous, The Grove Book of Art Writing is an eloquent compendium of insight into the diverse ways the visual arts can be seen and thought about.
“Gayford and Wright have scoured the centuries to provide a delightful romp through the world of art writing. . . . So, ultimately, what is art? Read the Grove Book of Art Writing to find out.” –Library Journal
“Wonderfully direct excerpts from the correspondence, missives, interviews and essays of artists . . . [A] series of . . . revelatory pronouncements by a plethora of artists and critics.” –Publishers Weekly
“A masterpiece of innumerable illuminations.” –Esquire (UK)
“A wonderful, readable collection . . . a valuable primer [with] a huge array of insights to titillate your critical juices.” –Art Review
“A plum-pudding of an anthology . . . hilarious as well as penetratingly truthful.” –Spectator
“An excellent introduction to the subject . . . accessible and substantial [with] many unexpected pleasures.” –The Times Literary Supplement