The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing by T. J. ClarkThe Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing by T. J. Clark

The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing

byT. J. Clark

Paperback | April 15, 2008

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Why do we find ourselves returning to certain pictures time and again? What is it we are looking for? How does our understanding of an image change over time? In his latest book T. J. Clark addresses these questions-and many more-in ways that steer art writing into new territory.

In early 2000 two extraordinary paintings by Poussin hung in the Getty Museum in a single room, Landscape with a Man Killed by a Snake (National Gallery, London) and the Getty's own Landscape with a Calm. Clark found himself returning to the gallery to look at these paintings morning after morning, and almost involuntarily he began to record his shifting responses in a notebook. The result is a riveting analysis of the two landscapes and their different views of life and death, but more, a chronicle of an investigation into the very nature of visual complexity. Clark's meditations-sometimes directly personal, sometimes speaking to the wider politics of our present image-world-track the experience of viewing art through all its real-life twists and turns.

T. J. Clark is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of several books including the highly influential volume, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers.
Title:The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art WritingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 150 × 210 × 0.68 inPublished:April 15, 2008Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300137583

ISBN - 13:9780300137583

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Editorial Reviews

"Provocative, insightful and . . . useful."—Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer "What holds the reader is a vivid immersion in the author's process of discovery. His blend of thinking and noticing grips us as details are revealed in the room's ever-shifting light. . . . Numerous color plates, first of the paintings in full, then of enlarged details, train our new eyes."—Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education "The Sight of Death is a delight for the level of the writing, the quality of the observation, and the attention it lavishes on looking—an activity most of us take for granted."—The Bloomsbury Review "The Sight of Death is a tour de force of looking. . . . Clark helps us see why it is so rewarding, indeed even necessary, to go back again and again to look at the same painting. He puts into words, better than anyone else I have read, why paintings can never be completely fixed in memory, but rather appear different each time we go back and see them again. . . . A deeply personal and passionate book about art, art history, and politics."—Donna Gustafson, Commonweal