Great Painters and Great Paintings
Reader’s Digest daily treasury of Great Painters and Great Paintings

More Han 250 of the world’s finest paintings reproduced in color.

The life stories of 50 great painters.

A special supplement of biographies of 64 other famous masters of art.

These are the riches in Great Painters and Great Paintings - seven centuries of the epic story of art, and a magnificent gallery to view while you read.

The variety of the personalities of great painters is revealed throughout the book in moments like these:

Toulouse-Lautrec, the crippled, dwarf like painter of Parisian night life, being mistaken for a freak from a circus...

Hogarth “persuading” a gentleman to come to his studio to pay for a painting - by threatening to add a tail to the portrait...

Gauguin (contrary to legends about his desertion of his family) writing love letters to his wife from the South Seas, half a world away, begging her to join him...

Goya, changing his allegiance, chameleon-like, and being told by a new king: “You deserve hanging. But you are an artist and I will forget everything...”

Rouault burning more Han three hundred of his canvases in a multimillion-dollar blaze for fear that he, an old man, would not live to add the touches that would make them perfect.

To tell these stories of artists’ lives, Reader’s Digest selected articles by some of the most famous writers on art, including Will Durand, Donald Culross Peattie, Thomas Craven, George Kent, Sheldon Cheney, Malcolm Vaughan and John Canada’s. George Bradshaw and Robert Thomsen are the co-authors of the supplementary Guide to Great Painters and Great Paintings.

George Kent’s picture-in-words of Titian sets before us that master of the Renaissance:

Titian was a good husband and father, a sure friend, a man of dignity. He could be seen, a lordly figure, strolling the streets of Venice followed by disciples and admirers. When Henry III of France came to the city, he had only one desire - to see Titian at work in HD studio.

Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait is scarcely mor vivid than this description of him by Sheldon Cheney:

Egg-headed, small-eyes, red-haired, round-shouldered, excitable, given to moods of melancholy, he seemed like poor human material.

In all, 114 painters and nearly 600 of their works are described. And rounding out the cast of this great drama are 200 other fascinating individuals: hearty friends, self-entered patrons, models transfixed in beauty, wives of every nature, children made immortal - as well as lovers, enemies ad fellow painters. Among them are the magnificent Medicis, who spent a fortune to commission the golden treasures of Florentine art; Henry the VIII, who sent Holbein abroad to paint and bring back to him portraits of prospective brides; Lady Hamilton, with loveliness so distracting that Romney turned away wealthy clients so that he might paint her.

The schools of painting, from that of fourteenth-century Siena in Italy to the daring Cubists o Paris - all are presented in anecdotes that tell of their goals, their methods and their impact on the story of art. Technical terms - like perspective and fresco - appear, and are defined, in incidents showing the triumphs of discovery that great masters achieved and passed on to those who came after them. A single passage, for example, reveals the origin of modern art - describing how the master Cezanne would paint an apple in his agonizing search for “the cylinder, the sphere, the cone” in nature.

Raphael the godlike; rugged and brutish Michelangelo; the regal Rubens; romantic and bohemian Modigliani; and gentle Papa Conroy. . . These are men from whose brushes great paintings came. Within this book, in all their color and variety are the masters and their priceless masterpieces.

Hardcover 1965 edition

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Great Painters and Great Paintings

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