Pub. Date:
Penn State University Press
A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso

A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso

by Paul Barolsky
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In A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso, Paul Barolsky explores the ways in which fiction shapes history and history informs fiction. It is a playful book about artistic obsession, about art history as both tragedy and farce, and about the heroic and the mock-heroic. The book demonstrates that the modern idea of the artist has deep roots in the image of the epic poet, from Homer to Ovid to Dante. Barolsky’s major claim is that the history of the artist is inseparable from historical fiction about the artist and that fiction is essential to the reality of the artist’s imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271036755
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 02/05/2010
Pages: 168
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Paul Barolsky is Commonwealth Professor of the History of Art at the University of Virginia. He is the author of numerous books, including the Penn State Press titles The Faun in the Garden: Michelangelo and the Poetic Origins of Italian Renaissance Art (1994), Giotto's Father and the Family of Vasari’s "Lives" (1992), and Why Mona Lisa Smiles and Other Tales by Vasari (1991).

Table of Contents




The Art of God from the Beginning of the World till the End of Time

Homer, Hephaistos, and the Poetic Origins of Art History

Ovid’s Protean Epic and Artistic Personae

Dante and the Modern Cult of the Artist

Vasari and the Quixotic Painter

Leonardo, Vasari, and the Historical Imagination

Vasari and the Autobiography of Michelangelo

Balzac and the Fable of Failure in Modern Art

Myths and Mysteries of Modern Art

Towards a Mock-Heroic History of Art

The Metamorphoses of Picasso


Bibliographical Note

Selected Bibliography


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