The Elements of Life: Biography and Portrait-Painting in Stuart and Georgian England

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byRichard Wendorf

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In this ambitious study, Richard Wendorf establishes the grounds of comparison between two arts that have often been linked in a casual way but whose historical interrelations remain almost completely unexplored. By focusing on the great age of English portraiture - from the arrival of VanDyck to the publication of Boswell's Life of Johnson - the author shows that, despite their obvious differences, visual and verbal portraits often shared similar assumptions about the representation of historical character. Grounded in modern theory devoted to the comparison of literature andpainting and to the problem of representation, this book examines each form of portraiture in terms of the other. Among those writers considered are Izaak Walton, John Evelyn, John Aubrey, Roger North, Goldsmith, Johnson, Mrs Piozzi, Boswell; among the artists are Van Dyck, Lely, Samuel Cooper,Jonathan Richardson, Hogarth and Reynolds. The careers of `double agents' (painters, like Richardson and Reynolds, who experimented with biographical writing) are also discussed. The Elements of Life is a ground-breaking critical history of biography and portrait-painting in the seventeenth andeighteenth centuries.

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From the Publisher

In this ambitious study, Richard Wendorf establishes the grounds of comparison between two arts that have often been linked in a casual way but whose historical interrelations remain almost completely unexplored. By focusing on the great age of English portraiture - from the arrival of VanDyck to the publication of Boswell's Life of J...

Richard Wendorf is at Harvard University.

other books by Richard Wendorf

Format:PaperbackDimensions:330 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.87 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198119798

ISBN - 13:9780198119791

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'Richard Wendorf's Elements of Life to a large extent fills the gap with an intelligent and thoroughly researched study of the portrait as it relates to (is embedded in) biography in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.'Ronald Paulson, Johns Hopkins University, Modern Language Review, Vol. 87