CONTEMPORARY ART MOVEMENTS

PUBLISHER
MFA Publications, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

BOOK FORMAT
Clth, 7.5 x 9.5 in. / 344 pgs / 180 color.

PUBLISHING STATUS
Pub Date
Active

DISTRIBUTION
D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2017 p. 35   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780878468423 TRADE
List Price: $45.00 CDN $57.50

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In stock

BOOKSELLER TRADE ANNOTATION

A handsomely designed book on the cultural history of Casanova's life and times in 18th century Europe
  • 12 illustrated essays lavishly recreate Casanova's visual world in18th century paintings, sculpture, works on paper, furnishings, porcelains, silver and period costumes.
  • The book itslef makes a seductive gift: it includes 2 gatefolds and beautiful end papers and the title page is a "peek-a-boo" cut out. The format 7.5 x 9.5 in. / 336 pgs / 185 color makes it both a READING and VISUAL book.
  • Aside from Hatje Cantz oversized The Journeys of Casanova 9783775738576 $60, there are no other illustrated books about Casanova.
  • Works for HISTORY buffs, LITERARY stores and ART sections -- perfect for encyclopedic museums.
  • Promotion: A major exhibition tour starting in TEXAS at KIMBELL Fall 2017, then travelling to LEGION of HONOR San Francisco in Spring 2018 and MFA Boston Summer 2018.
  • ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Frederick Ilchman and Thomas Michie are both curators at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. C. D. Dickerson is Curator the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Esther Bell is Curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA. Meredith Chilton is a curator at Gardiner Museum, Toronto Canada. Nina Dubin is a Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago. James H. Johnson teaches at Boston University. Malina Stefanovska is a professor at UCLA. Susan M. Wager, Instructor, University of New Hampshire. Michael Yonan, Professor University of Missouri.
  • WEST COAST INTEREST: Show travels to The Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco in Winter 2018

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE

Fort Worth, TX
Kimbell Art Museum, 08/27/17–12/31/17
San Francisco, CA
The Legion of Honor, 02/10/18–05/28/18
Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, 07/01/218–10/08/18

From the salon to the boudoir: the world of Casanova as seen through the art of his era

  

MFA PUBLICATIONS, MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe

Edited by Frederick Ilchman, Thomas Michie, C.D. Dickerson III, Esther Bell. Text by Meredith Chilton, Jeffrey Collins, Nina L. Dubin, Courtney Leigh Harris, James H. Johnson, Pamela A. Parmal, Malina Stefanovska, Susan M. Wager, Michael Yonan.

Featured image is reproduced from 'Casanova: The Seduction of Europe.'

From the salon to the boudoir: the world of Casanova as seen through the art of his era

In 18th-century Europe, while the old order reveled in the luxurious excesses of the Rococo style and the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of revolution, the shapeshifting libertine Giacomo Casanova seduced his way across the continent. Although notorious for the scores of amorous conquests he recorded in his remarkably frank memoirs, Casanova was just as practiced at charming his way into the most elite social circles, through an inimitable mix of literary ambition, improvisational genius and outright fraud. In his travels across Europe and through every level of society from the theatrical demimonde to royal courts, he was also seduced by the visual splendors he encountered.

This volume accompanies the first major art exhibition outside Europe to lavishly recreate Casanova’s visual world, from his birthplace of Venice, city of masquerades, to the cultural capitals of Paris and London and the outposts of Eastern Europe. Summoning up the people he met and the cityscapes, highways, salons, theaters, masked balls, boudoirs, gambling halls and dining rooms he frequented, it provides a survey of important works of 18th-century European art by masters such as Canaletto, Fragonard, Boucher, Houdon and Hogarth, along with exquisite decorative arts objects.

Twelve essays by prominent scholars illuminate multiple facets of Casanova’s world as reflected in the arts of his time, providing a fascinating grand tour of Europe conducted by a quintessential figure of the 18th century as well as a splendid visual display of the spirit of the age.


Featured image is reproduced from 'Casanova: The Seduction of Europe.'

Casanova: The Seduction of Europe

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FROM THE BOOK
Excerpt from the chapter “The Art of Display” by C.D. Dickerson III

Venice is one of the shiftiest cities in the world. Built on unstable marshland in a lagoon, it appears to ride the waves surrounding it, bobbing up and down as the ground beneath it moves. The effect is magically captured in the cityscapes of the great eighteenth-century painter Canaletto, where the scurrying people and swaying ships reinforce the city’s unsettled nature. Venice is also shifty by reputation, a place where men and women have traditionally enjoyed disguising their identities and engaging in activities of dubious morality. No figure in Venice’s history has contributed more to that reputation than its most famous native son, Giacomo Casanova, born in 1725. Any reader of his memoirs, History of My Life (Histoire de ma vie in the original French), can understand why. They recount in excruciating detail his many exploits as a serial womanizer, inveterate cheat, and committed hedonist. He was apparently resigned to his fate as the stereotypical reprobate and unscrupulous lover, admitting in the original preface, “I allow them to call me a pig.” If the comment bears more than a hint of frustration, it is because he had spent his life trying to forge a different identity for himself. When he set down his memoirs during the final years of his long life, in the remote Bohemian town of Dux (now Duchcov), where he died in 1798, he hoped his reader would focus on the more edifying sides of his existence: conversations with monarchs and popes, far-flung adventures in all corners of Europe, debates with the great thinkers of his age including Voltaire and Rousseau, feats of audacious cleverness such as the founding of the French national lottery, and ambitious literary achievements including a history of Poland, a philosophical novel entitled the Icosameron, and a translation of the Iliad.

This is the Casanova who inspired the idea of exploring the visual world of the eighteenth century through his encounters with it. To those who know Casanova only by reputation, it may not be an obvious approach to the subject. Our principal source for him, his memoir, is not very forthcoming on how he felt about art or even which artworks he saw. Yet it is possible, with careful reading, to uncover his attitudes toward art and reconstruct his experiences with art, both fine and decorative, and in turn to apply them to an understanding of the cultural world he moved through.

Casanova provides a singular lens for observing many of the highest achievements in European art of the eighteenth century. His History narrates a life that intersected with almost every element of contemporary society, from street performers to royalty. Moreover, it was a life that embodied many of the most freethinking tendencies of that society, which are also reflected in the period’s best paintings and sculptures. An effective example is The Bolt, by Casa-
nova’s almost exact contemporary, Jean-Honoré 
Fragonard. A scene of lust and sexual
 aggression, it encapsulates the world of the libertine, which makes it understandable that view
ers might associate the painting with one of the 
many escapades recounted in History of My Life. Although Casanova rarely acted violently toward women (at least in his telling), he was the consummate libertine in his willingness to abandon conventional morals in order to pursue the pleasures of sex.

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