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Foulest, Vilest, Obscenest

Erin Thompson: Smashing Images, 27 January 2022

by David Freedberg.
Chicago, 332 pp., £32, June 2021, 978 0 226 44550 2
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... wealth on art. There were similar attacks all over Europe, from the British Isles to the Balkans.David Freedberg, who teaches art history at Columbia (and who was, long ago, my dissertation adviser), describes himself as ‘haunted’ by the question of what it is about art that arouses such fierce responses. Most academic art history considers the ...

Spot the Gull

Peter Campbell: The Academy of the Lincei, 20 March 2003

The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, His Friends and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History 
by David Freedberg.
Chicago, 513 pp., £35, December 2002, 0 226 26147 6
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... David Freedberg’s new book is illustrated with wonderful, detailed drawings and engravings of plants, fungi, fossils, birds, insects and animals – nearly all made in the 17th century. Freedberg is an art historian; the starting point of his book is a dream he had sometime before 1986 in which Anthony Blunt appeared holding a drawing of an orange ...

How smart was Poussin?

Malcolm Bull, 4 April 1991

Nicolas Poussin 
by Alain Mérot, translated by Fabia Claris.
Thames and Hudson, 336 pp., £65, November 1990, 0 300 04763 0
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Nicolas Poussin: Dialectics of Painting 
by Oskar Bätschmann, translated by Marko Daniel.
Reaktion, 176 pp., £27, September 1990, 0 948462 10 8
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Ideal Landscape: Annibale Carracci, Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain 
by Margaretha Rossholm Lagerlöf.
Yale, 256 pp., £35, November 1990, 0 300 04763 0
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... response. In so doing he may have hoped to enhance his critical reputation as well: for if, as David Freedberg recently argued in The Power of Images, the aesthetic appreciation of art depends on the repression of instinctual physical reactions, the construction of an incorporeal viewer is a demand for critical (rather than popular) recognition. And ...


Hal Foster: Dead to the World, 29 July 2021

Absentees: On Variously Missing Persons 
by Daniel Heller-Roazen.
Zone, 320 pp., £28, April 2021, 978 1 942130 47 5
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... is one source for the Hanged Man tarot card. All these examples attest to what the art historian David Freedberg calls ‘the power of images’, which more puritanical critics might see as fetishism writ large. ‘To be adored or punished, to be welcomed, dreaded, or expelled,’ Heller-Roazen concludes, ‘the image of the absentee is each time ...


Nicholas Penny, 18 March 1982

Michelangelo and the Language of Art 
by David Summers.
Princeton, 626 pp., £26.50, February 1981, 0 691 03957 7
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Bernini in France: An Episode in 17th-Century History 
by Cecil Gould.
Weidenfeld, 158 pp., £12.95, March 1982, 0 297 77944 3
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... that is hard to reconcile with the serious meanings which have been attached to them – by Sydney Freedberg, for instance, who had the very beautiful and intelligent idea that they represent ‘creatures of the pagan, classical, pre-Christian world, who are half-conscient of the meaning of the history they attend and the prophecy they oversee’. It is also ...

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