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Thunderclap: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S…
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Thunderclap: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2024 (edição: 2024)

de Laura Cumming (Autor)

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1434194,904 (4.25)22
New York Times bestselling author and art critic Laura Cumming reveals the fascinating, little-known story of the Thunderclap--the massive explosion at a gunpowder store in Holland that killed Carel Fabritius, renowned painter of The Goldfinch and nearly killed Johannes Vermeer, painter of Girl with a Pearl Earring--two of the greatest artists of the 17th century.As a brilliant art critic and historian, Laura Cumming has explored the importance of art in life and can give us a perspective on the time and place in which the artist worked. Now, through the lens of one dramatic event in 17th century Holland, Cumming illuminates one of the most celebrated periods in art history. In 1654, an enormous explosion at a gunpowder store devasted the city of Delft, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands more. Among those killed was the extraordinary painter Carel Fabritius, renowned for his paintings The Goldfinch and his haunting masterpiece A View of Delft, which depicts the very streets through which the victims would be carried to their graves. Fabritius's contemporary and rival Vermeer, painter of the iconic portrait Girl with a Pearl Earring, narrowly escaped death. Framing the story around Fabritius's life, Cumming deftly weaves a sequence of observations about paintings and how they relate to everyday life. Like Dutch art itself, the story gradually links country, city, town, street, house, interior--all the way to the bird on its perch, the blue and white tile, the smallest seed in a loaf of bread. The impact of a painting and how it can enter our thoughts, influence our views, and understanding of the world is the heart of this book and Cumming has brought her unique eye to her most compelling subject yet. Featuring beautiful full-color images of Dutch paintings throughout, this is a stunningly rich book about one of the most vibrant periods in European art and life.… (mais)
Membro:alisonfrances
Título:Thunderclap: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2024
Autores:Laura Cumming (Autor)
Informação:Vintage (2024), Edition: Heruitgave, 272 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art and Life & Sudden Death de Laura Cumming

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Exibindo 4 de 4
This is another book I selected from the long list for the inaugural Women’s Prize for Nonfiction. I thought from the description it would focus on the 1654 explosion when a large store of gunpowder destroyed half the city of Delft – much like what happened in Beirut in 2020. Instead it was much deeper and richer than I expected.

The book itself is nominally about Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, who was killed in the Thunderclap of 1654 and left behind only a few paintings. Fabritius was a student of Rembrandt and a possible stepping stone to Vermeer. The few paintings he left behind, including The Goldfinch are masterful. In the last few pages of the book, we are let into a secret from microanalysis of The Goldfinch.

The author illuminates the Golden Age of Dutch Painting for us, letting us see the day to day lives and environs of many painters, most living in Delft.

Cumming was much influenced by her father, Scottish painter James Cumming and his love for art which he richly embedded in his daughter. And so this book is also partly memoir as she recounts her father and her cherished experiences as she saw what living ones art entails.

This book is highly readable – and for me, not knowing much of Dutch art, it was absolutely fascinating. The reproductions scattered through the book are lovely. I read a hardcopy edition of the book, published in the US by Scribner and I must say the paper is beautiful quality: heavy and slick. It feels so nice to the touch and is perfect for the fifty or so illustrations. A near perfect smallish book. ( )
  streamsong | May 2, 2024 |
Laura Cumming is an art historian and she tries to solve the mysteries surrounding the life of Dutch painter Carol Fabritius. Fabritius died tragically in 1654 in Delft when a store house of gunpowder exploded and destroyed about half of the small city. He was a student of Rembrandt but developed his own unique style although Cumming points out that very few of his paintings have survived. As well as describing the work of Fabritius, Cumming tells the reader about the art of her own father and the works and styles of many Dutch artists. The descriptions are wonderful and give the reader a sense of the life and preoccupations of Dutch society during the 1600's. Cumming pays tribute to her father with her writing on his life . I really enjoyed reading this book. There are a number of reproductions of the art that Cumming describes ( )
  torontoc | Apr 6, 2024 |
A memoir of art and life and sudden death

This is quite a difficult book to classify and I suppose it is a memoir but not as they are conventionally conceived. For me this was a study of Dutch paintings of the 1600s with offshoots into the life of Cumming and her painter father James Cumming and the impact he had on the way she 'sees' paintings.

The first thunderclap in the book is the explosion of gunpowder stored in a cellar next door to where the artist Carel Fabritius, who along with everyone else in the building, died. It isn't clear how the explosion was started - a spark from a lamp or a metal key turning in the keyhole - but the whumph was so loud it was heard 70 miles away. Fabritius was 32 years old. Sudden death. What then follows is a journey through Dutch paintings and how they have featured in Cumming's life: a painting she visited time and time again when living in London, paintings she saw on their only family visit abroad to Amsterdam and Delft, iconic paintings but all linking back to Carel Fabritius.

What I particularly loved about this book was Cumming's writing. She writes about paintings creating images with words and shows us that we can all look at and describe what we are seeing. For instance, she writes about Adriaen Coorte's Still Life with Shells

For me the most startling mobilisation involves a group of shells arranged along the ledge like a corps de ballet in the footlights. They are all on tenterhooks. A long spiny shell poised on tiptoe stretches an arm out towards a dainty little red one, as if longing to touch her, or to invite a pas de deux. It's spines tick-tack along the stone, like Prufrock's claws at the bottom of the sea. A pearly conch sounds out its rising music. The eye sees, and it hears.
p144

Of course her artist father was instrumental in how Cumming saw things - as probably was her artist mother. At school she was taught that the Golden Age Dutch paintings were all about things; things that were revered and therefore needed to be recorded for posterity - look at my wealth. Her father laughed at this,

Paintings are not substitutes, he said, they are something else altogether. A likeness is never the only reason an artist paints a picture.
p10

I was much less convinced by other aspects of the book. Yes there are sudden deaths and it is about aspects of life but they weigh lightly in the book and feel like add-ons. But the writing about art. It is sublime. ( )
  allthegoodbooks | Nov 26, 2023 |
I read this as I enjoy books about art and I enjoyed the author’s previous book, On Chapel Sands.
I found this book interesting, but not really engaging, as it is too digressive and meandering, not that I don’t like the asides and commentary, but they loosen the structure of this book too much for me.
The book interpolates:
• Detailed descriptions of paintings from the Dutch “Golden Age”, concentrating on the works of Carel Fabritius, of whose paintings I was only aware of The Goldfinch before reading this book.
• Descriptions of Cumming’s father, James Cumming, his life and paintings.
• General observations and ruminations on life, and art, and mortality.
Sometimes the author makes links between these mini-essays, but sometimes not, although throughout she returns to descriptions of Fabritius’ paintings, from the opening discussion of A View of Delft in the National Gallery, London (which I can’t remember noticing), to her final comments upon The Goldfinch in the Mauritshuis, The Hague.

The book is well written, informative and interesting, but I missed something. Perhaps I feel that the book is an act of catharsis for the author, rather than of discovery for the reader.

I read the Kindle edition of this book, which has the advantage over the hardback edition of being able to zoom in to the detail of the illustrated paintings, which appear rather small in the undersized hardback (21cm x 15cm, with a lot of white space around the illustrations). ( )
1 vote CarltonC | Aug 30, 2023 |
Exibindo 4 de 4
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New York Times bestselling author and art critic Laura Cumming reveals the fascinating, little-known story of the Thunderclap--the massive explosion at a gunpowder store in Holland that killed Carel Fabritius, renowned painter of The Goldfinch and nearly killed Johannes Vermeer, painter of Girl with a Pearl Earring--two of the greatest artists of the 17th century.As a brilliant art critic and historian, Laura Cumming has explored the importance of art in life and can give us a perspective on the time and place in which the artist worked. Now, through the lens of one dramatic event in 17th century Holland, Cumming illuminates one of the most celebrated periods in art history. In 1654, an enormous explosion at a gunpowder store devasted the city of Delft, killing hundreds of people and injuring thousands more. Among those killed was the extraordinary painter Carel Fabritius, renowned for his paintings The Goldfinch and his haunting masterpiece A View of Delft, which depicts the very streets through which the victims would be carried to their graves. Fabritius's contemporary and rival Vermeer, painter of the iconic portrait Girl with a Pearl Earring, narrowly escaped death. Framing the story around Fabritius's life, Cumming deftly weaves a sequence of observations about paintings and how they relate to everyday life. Like Dutch art itself, the story gradually links country, city, town, street, house, interior--all the way to the bird on its perch, the blue and white tile, the smallest seed in a loaf of bread. The impact of a painting and how it can enter our thoughts, influence our views, and understanding of the world is the heart of this book and Cumming has brought her unique eye to her most compelling subject yet. Featuring beautiful full-color images of Dutch paintings throughout, this is a stunningly rich book about one of the most vibrant periods in European art and life.

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