Here’s a wonderful book that I almost overlooked —possibly because of its obvious but subtle premise. Intelligently, the publisher and curator/editor Louise Govier do not stoop to the gaseous hyperbole of claiming that the selections in One Hundred Great Paintings (Yale University Press) are the greatest. While not exactly a modest claim presenting 100 paintings from the extensive collection lodged at London’s National Gallery is palatable and succeeds in not burdening the reader/viewer with the weight of having to consider the validity of a superlative claim— know what I mean?
In a slightly more than 200 pages Govier has assembled paintings beginning with the 13th century (a fragment of an Italian altarpiece) right up to the dawn of the 20th century (Paul Cézanne’s Bathers) From Duccio, Giotto, Dürer, Holbein, van Eyck, Botticelli, Leonardo to Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Rembrandt, El Greco, Velázquez, Zurbarán, Goya, Caravaggio, Claude, Poussin, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Constable, Turner, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Rousseau, and Van Gogh, each painting is wonderfully reproduced on a single page accompanied by a lucid and informative description.
A leisurely stroll through the pages of this monograph is a visual feast— without the distractions of parking, crowds and exiting through the gift shop.