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The Upside-Down World

Meetings with the Dutch Masters

Benjamin Moser

$69.99

Hardback

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English
Allen Lane
07 November 2023
A charming and highly personal introduction to the artists of the Dutch Golden Age

Twenty years ago, Benjamin Moser followed a love affair to an ancient Dutch town. In order to make sense of this new place, he threw himself into the Dutch museums. Soon, he found himself unearthing the strange, inspiring and sometimes terrifying stories of the artists who shaped one of the most luminous moments in the history of human creativity, the Dutch Golden Age.

As he explored the hidden world of the Dutch Masters (and one Mistress), Moser met a crowd of fascinating personalities- the stormy Rembrandt, the intimate Ter Borch, the mysterious Vermeer. Through their art, he got to know their country, too- from Pieter Saenredam's translucent churches to Paulus Potter's muddy barnyards, and from Pieter de Hooch's cozy hearths to Jacob van Ruisdael's tragic trees. Over the years, Moser found himself on increasingly intimate terms with these centuries-dead artists, and found that they, too, were struggling with the same questions he was. Why do we make art? What is art, anyway - and what is an artist? What does it mean to succeed as an artist, and what does it mean to fail?

The Upside-Down World is an invitation to ask these questions, and to turn them on their heads- to look, and then to look again. It is a brilliant, colourful and learned book for anyone, whether lifelong scholar or curious tourist, who has ever felt the lure of the Dutch galleries. It shows us art, and artists, as we have never seen them before.

By:  
Imprint:   Allen Lane
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 243mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   1.117kg
ISBN:   9780241586457
ISBN 10:   0241586453
Pages:   352
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World- A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award. His work bringing Clarice Lispector to international prominence was recognized with Brazil's State Prize for Cultural Diplomacy. His most recent book, Sontag- Her Life, won the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Utrecht, in the central Netherlands.

Reviews for The Upside-Down World: Meetings with the Dutch Masters

The most agreeable of companions in his encompassing yet highly personal tour of the Golden Age of Dutch painting, Benjamin Moser delivers fresh insights that will delight the expert and the casual museum-goer alike, in prose as precise and intimate as a Vermeer - and as luminous -- Jim Holt Benjamin Moser's fascinating study of Dutch art and artists is more than the sum of its extraordinary parts. Part memoir, part critical and historical analysis, the book also offers a superb commentary - one of the best I've ever read - on what it means to be displaced in a never entirely whole world, and what it means to see between the cracks. I learned so much reading this fine book, and so will you -- Hilton Als I always dreamed of living in the rooms of my favorite paintings. Finally! A book that animates these rooms, their light, the people in them - that evokes their character and emotions and places them in the context of their culture. Profound and intensely alive, Benjamin Moser's writing describes them both as living beings and as works of art, and connects his own life as a writer to these deep insights into the meaning of art -- Laurie Anderson The most agreeable of companions in his encompassing yet highly personal tour of the Golden Age of Dutch painting, Benjamin Moser delivers fresh insights that will delight the expert and the casual museum-goer alike, in prose as precise and intimate as a Vermeer - and as luminous -- Jim Holt Benjamin Moser's fascinating study of Dutch art and artists is more than the sum of its extraordinary parts. Part memoir, part critical and historical analysis, the book also offers a superb commentary - one of the best I've ever read - on what it means to be displaced in a never entirely whole world, and what it means to see between the cracks. I learned so much reading this fine book, and so will you -- Hilton Als I always dreamed of living in the rooms of my favorite paintings. Finally! A book that animates these rooms, their light, the people in them - that evokes their character and emotions and places them in the context of their culture. Profound and intensely alive, Benjamin Moser's writing describes them both as living beings and as works of art, and connects his own life as a writer to these deep insights into the meaning of art -- Laurie Anderson


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