Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Art of Love

The Art of Love is an interesting look at how artistic endeavor and relations affect and define creative work. Author Kate Bryan uses short biographic backgrounds to give a glimpse into how (or if) the artists' art and lives intersected one another.

Due out 2nd July 2019 from Quarto on their White Lion imprint, it's 184 pages and will be available in ebook and hardcover formats.  It's unclear from the publishing info, but the eARC I received for review includes an interactive table of contents with direct links to each of the 34 couples included as well as a hyperlinked index. (Very handy).

There's an erudite well written introduction by the author which represents about 6% of the page content. She includes some of the philosophy behind her treatment of the subject, along with some very interesting observations about the interactions and dynamics of personal and professional interactions in artistic partnerships. How did they relate to one another, how they traversed the different levels of fame in their art, etc. Reading the foreword enhanced my understanding and enjoyment of the biographies. Each of the section headings is nicely illustrated by Asli Yazan. There are no interior photos with any of the included artists' works, but Yazan's line drawings represent some of the artists' works. I'm not sure how I feel about that, it might be almost imitative, on the other hand, there were several places I thought to myself  "Ah, that's who originally did this piece of artwork".

I was not familiar with all of the included artists, and there were some couples with whose work I was only familiar with one and not the other.  The couples in the book are all drawn from the last 140 years; starting with Camille Claudel&Auguste Rodin to the present day. The couples are a mixed bunch, from married heterosexual couples, gay men, gay women, and one passionate but unconsummated platonic relationship. There are artists represented from many different cultures and ethnicities.

This would make a good selection for art interested readers, fans of the included artists, and a good library book or gift.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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