The Look of the Past

The Look of the Past

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Ludmilla Jordanova
Cambridge University Press, 8/1/2012
EAN 9780521882422, ISBN10: 0521882427

Hardcover, 320 pages, 25.4 x 19.4 x 1.9 cm
Language: English

How can we use visual and material culture to shed light on the past? Ludmilla Jordanova offers a fascinating and thoughtful introduction to the role of images, objects and buildings in the study of past times. Through a combination of thematic chapters and essays on specific artefacts – a building, a piece of sculpture, a photographic exhibition and a painted portrait – she shows how to analyse the agency and visual intelligence of artists, makers and craftsmen and make sense of changes in visual experience over time. Generously illustrated and drawing on numerous examples of images and objects from 1600 to the present, this is an essential guide to the skills that students need in order to describe, analyse and contextualise visual evidence. The Look of the Past will encourage readers to think afresh about how they, like people in the past, see and interpret the world around them.

A handbag?
1. Description and evidence
Essay – a 'sumptuous structure'
the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge
2. Craft, skills and visual intelligence
Essay – 'the jewel of the church'
Bernini's Ecstasy of St Teresa
3. Periodisation
Essay – photographing 'the family of man'
4. Audiences and display
Essay – deposits of friendship
Renoir's 1908 portrait of Ambroise Vollard
5. Comparative analysis
List of reference works.

Advance praise: 'Few scholars can match Jordanova's ability to further historical practice through precise analysis, originality and thought-provoking questions, and this pioneering publication is a 'how-to' book in the best possible sense. Beautifully illustrated and offering carefully selected bibliographical advice, The Look of the Past significantly enriches the historians' toolbox and throws out rusty remains. A winner!' Ulinka Rublack, author of Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe