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On Reflection cover
  • ISBN: 9780300077131
  • ISBN10: 0300077130

On Reflection

by Miller, Jonathan A

  • List Price: $22.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publish date: 10/01/1998
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Description
European painting has long aspired to hold a mirror to nature -- and in so doing has taken up the challenge of representing the effects of light on reflective surfaces. In this beautiful book, Jonathan Miller investigates the pictorial representation of sheen, shine, glimmer, and gleam through a wonderfully varied selection of paintings and photographs drawn from the National Gallery, London, and other international collections.

Miller describes our perceptual opacity to recognize real-life mirrors as well as those in pictures, a complex psychological process of which we are usually unaware. He also traces the ambivalent imagery of mirrors from neutral aids to representing the self, as in Rembrandt's Self Portrait or Velazquez' Rokeby Venus, through metaphors of either virtues or vices in allegorical paintings -- such as Le Tournier's Allegory of Justice and Vanity and Otto Dix's Woman Before a Mirror. The extent to which a surface reflects a recognizable image varies enormously, and Miller investigates the full range, from the diffuse sheen of polished leather or burnished copper to the representational realism of silvered glass. He shows that the depiction of such variously reflective surfaces has challenged the virtuosity of artists as diverse as Rembrant and Rockwell for more than two thousand years.

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European painting has long aspired to hold a mirror to nature--and in so
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