In one painting, a Dutch military officer leans toward a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. In a third, fruit spills from a porcelain bowl onto a Turkish carpet. The officer's dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru - Europeans would purchase, by the thousands, the porcelain so often shown in Dutch paintings of this time. Vermeer's haunting images hint at the stories behind these exquisitely rendered moments. As Timothy Brook shows us in Vermeer's Hat, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually open doors onto a rapidly expanding world.
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"This book contributes a transnational feminist intersectional analysis of artwork as a powerful force in world politics and argues that contemporary artwork is a site of knowledge production that provides vital insights for scholars of world politics"--
Johannes Vermeer, one of the greatest Dutch painters and for some the single greatest painter of all, produced a remarkably small corpus of work. In Vermeer's Family Secrets, Benjamin Binstock revolutionizes how we think about Vermeer's work and life. Vermeer, The Sphinx of Delft, is famously a mystery in art: despite the common claim that little is known of his biography, there is actually an abundance of fascinating information about Vermeer’s life that Binstock brings to bear on Vermeer’s art for the first time; he also offers new interpretations of several key documents pertaining to Vermeer that have been misunderstood. Lavishly illustrated with more than 180 black and white images and more than sixty color plates, the book also includes a remarkable color two-page spread that presents the entirety of Vermeer's oeuvre arranged in chronological order in 1/20 scale, demonstrating his gradual formal and conceptual development. No book on Vermeer has ever done this kind of visual comparison of his complete output. Like Poe's purloined letter, Vermeer's secrets are sometimes out in the open where everyone can see them. Benjamin Binstock shows us where to look. Piecing together evidence, the tools of art history, and his own intuitive skills, he gives us for the first time a history of Vermeer's work in light of Vermeer's life. On almost every page of Vermeer's Family Secrets, there is a perception or an adjustment that rethinks what we know about Vermeer, his oeuvre, Dutch painting, and Western Art. Perhaps the most arresting revelation of Vermeer's Family Secrets is the final one: in response to inconsistencies in technique, materials, and artistic level, Binstock posits that several of the paintings accepted as canonical works by Vermeer, are in fact not by Vermeer at all but by his eldest daughter, Maria. How he argues this is one of the book's many pleasures.
By the early 17th century the Scientific Revolution was well under way. Philosophers and scientists were throwing off the yoke of ancient authority to peer at nature and the cosmos through microscopes and telescopes. In October 1632, in the small town of Delft in the Dutch Republic, two geniuses were born who would bring about a seismic shift in the idea of what it meant to see the world. One was Johannes Vermeer, whose experiments with lenses and a camera obscura taught him how we see under different conditions of light and helped him create the most luminous works of art ever beheld. The other was Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, whose work with microscopes revealed a previously unimagined realm of minuscule creatures. By intertwining the biographies of these two men, Laura Snyder tells the story of a historical moment in both art and science that revolutionized how we see the world today.
“The latest volume to appear in the Penguin History of Europe. Like its companion volumes, [Christendom Destroyed] is no breezy survey but a masterly synthesis of depth and breadth."—The Wall Street Journal “The political and religious conflicts of early modern Europe receive high-quality treatment from Greengrass.... an excellent addition to the new Penguin History of Europe.”—Financial Times From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intellectual upheaval of the sixteenth century. Martin Luther’s challenge to church authority forced Christians to examine their beliefs in ways that shook the foundations of their religion. The subsequent divisions, fed by dynastic rivalries and military changes, fundamentally altered the relations between ruler and ruled. Geographical and scientific discoveries challenged the unity of Christendom as a belief community. Europe, with all its divisions, emerged instead as a geographical projection. Chronicling these dramatic changes, Thomas More, Shakespeare, Montaigne, and Cervantes created works that continue to resonate with us. Spanning the years 1517 to 1648, Christendom Destroyed is Mark Greengrass’s magnum opus: a rich tapestry that fosters a deeper understanding of Europe’s identity today. From the Hardcover edition.
Since its first publication, Paul A. Cohen's Discovering History in China has occupied a singular place in American China scholarship. Translated into three East Asian languages, the volume has become essential to the study of China from the early nineteenth century to today. Cohen critiques the work of leading postwar scholars and is especially adamant about not reading China through the lens of Western history. To this end, he uncovers the strong ethnocentric bias pervading the three major conceptual frameworks of American scholarship of the 1950s and 1960s: the impact-response, modernization, and imperialism approaches. In place of these, Cohen favors a "China-centered" approach in which historians understand Chinese history on its own terms, paying close attention to Chinese historical trajectories and Chinese perceptions of their problems, rather than a set of expectations derived from Western history. In an important new introduction, Cohen reflects on his fifty-year career as a historian of China and discusses major recent trends in the field. Although some of these developments challenge a narrowly conceived China-centered approach, insofar as they enable more balanced comparisons between China and the West and recast the Chinese and their history in more human, less exotic terms, they powerfully affirm the central thrust of Cohen's work.
The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption offers a timely overview of how our understanding of consumption in history has changed in the last generation.
An Empire of Regions is a refreshing interpretation of British American history that demonstrates how the thirteen British mainland colonies grew to function as self-governing entities in distinct regional clusters. In lucid prose, Eric Nellis invites readers to explore the circumstances leading to the colonies' collective defense of their individual interests, and to reevaluate the founding principles of the United States. There is considerable discussion of social conditions and of the British background to the colonies' development. Extensive treatment of slavery, the slave trade, and native populations is provided, while detailed maps illustrate colony boundaries, settlement growth, and the impact of the Proclamation Line. This absorbing and compelling narrative will captivate both newcomers to and enthusiasts of American history.
How a Chinese pirate defeated European colonialists and won Taiwan during the seventeenth century During the seventeenth century, Holland created the world's most dynamic colonial empire, outcompeting the British and capturing Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Yet, in the Sino-Dutch War—Europe's first war with China—the Dutch met their match in a colorful Chinese warlord named Koxinga. Part samurai, part pirate, he led his generals to victory over the Dutch and captured one of their largest and richest colonies—Taiwan. How did he do it? Examining the strengths and weaknesses of European and Chinese military techniques during the period, Lost Colony provides a balanced new perspective on long-held assumptions about Western power, Chinese might, and the nature of war. It has traditionally been asserted that Europeans of the era possessed more advanced science, technology, and political structures than their Eastern counterparts, but historians have recently contested this view, arguing that many parts of Asia developed on pace with Europe until 1800. While Lost Colony shows that the Dutch did indeed possess a technological edge thanks to the Renaissance fort and the broadside sailing ship, that edge was neutralized by the formidable Chinese military leadership. Thanks to a rich heritage of ancient war wisdom, Koxinga and his generals outfoxed the Dutch at every turn. Exploring a period when the military balance between Europe and China was closer than at any other point in modern history, Lost Colony reassesses an important chapter in world history and offers valuable and surprising lessons for contemporary times.
An internationally recognized authority on Chinese history and a leading innovator in its telling, Cho-yun Hsu constructs an original portrait of Chinese culture. Unlike most historians, Hsu resists centering his narrative on China's political evolution, focusing instead on the country's cultural sphere and its encounters with successive waves of globalization. Beginning long before China's written history and extending through the twentieth century, Hsu follows the content and expansion of Chinese culture, describing the daily lives of commoners, their spiritual beliefs and practices, the changing character of their social and popular thought, and their advances in material culture and technology. In addition to listing the achievements of emperors, generals, ministers, and sages, Hsu builds detailed accounts of these events and their everyday implications. Dynastic change, the rise and fall of national ambitions, and the growth and decline of institutional systems take on new significance through Hsu's careful research, which captures the multiple strands that gave rise to China's pluralistic society. Paying particular attention to influential relationships occurring outside of Chinese cultural boundaries, he demonstrates the impact of foreign influences on Chinese culture and identity and identifies similarities between China's cultural developments and those of other nations.
Looks at the life of Dutch painter Hans Van Meegeren, who emerges as an ingenious, dyed-in-the-wool crook who plied the forger's trade far longer than he ever admitted in a detailed story of deceit in the art world.
George Bowering has always maintained that his poems are germinated in secret ways - secrets he has, until now, assiduously kept to himself. In suddenly giving most of those secrets away, Vermeer's Light constitutes an extraordinary gesture of generosity from a poet to his readership. Its alphabet series A, You're Adorable, by Ellen Field, a pseudonym Bowering often used; Imaginary Poems for AMB, addressed to his late wife Angela; He Is Not, a micro-translation of Shelley's Adonais; Q&A, which dares to take on the most fundamental questions of the human condition with level-headed honesty and wit - the list of revelations and the pyrotechnics of Bowering's craft presented here are spellbinding.
The everyday lives of Riva's memorable Galician characters may be desperately harsh and filled with pain and solitude, but their situations are always redeemed by humour and tenderness.
-- The intelligent and accessible text and the reproductions of all Vermeer's surviving paintings in color make this the ideal introduction to Vermeer's work Johannes Vermeer is one of the most subtle artists who ever lived, and yet his pictures have achieved the recognition they deserve only in the 20th century. Second only to Rembrandt among 17th century Dutch painters, he enjoyed nothing like the same fame in his own lifetime. The rediscovery of Vermeer is a story in itself, which John Nash unravels in a critical journey, showing how, by dint of comparisons, cross-references and intelligent guesswork, Vermeer's paintings can be made to yield some of their secrets. Eminently readable with all Vermeer's surviving paintings reproduced in full color, this is an accessible and intelligent account of this important and popular artist.
From the author of the award-winning Vermeer's Hat, a historical detective story decoding a long-forgotten link between seventeenth century Europe and China. Timothy Brook's award-winning Vermeer's Hat unfolded the early history of globalization, using Vermeer's paintings to show how objects like beaver hats and porcelain bowls began to circulate around the world. Now he plumbs the mystery of a single artifact that offers new insights into global connections centuries old. In 2009, an extraordinary map of China was discovered in Oxford's Bodleian Library-where it had first been deposited 350 years before, then stowed and forgotten for nearly a century. Neither historians of China nor cartography experts had ever seen anything like it. It was so odd that experts would have declared it a fake-yet records confirmed it had been delivered to Oxford in 1659. The “Selden Map,” as it is known, was a puzzle that needing solving. Brook, a historian of China, set out to explore the riddle. His investigation will lead readers around this elegant, enigmatic work of art, and from the heart of China, via the Southern Ocean, to the court of King James II. In the story of Selden's map, he reveals for us the surprising links between an English scholar and merchants half a world away, and offers novel insights into the power and meaning that a single map can hold. Brook delivers the same anecdote-rich narrative, intriguing characters, and unexpected historical connections that made Vermeer's Hat an instant classic.