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Let This Be a Lesson: Lecture 1

Benjamin West, Agrippina Landing at Brundisium with the Ashes of Germanicus, 1768. Oil on canvas. Yale University Art Gallery, Gift of Louis M. Rabinowitz

Introduction to History Painting

Friday, September 13, 2013, 1:30 pm

For six centuries, history painting—pictures based on stories from myth, scripture, and ancient and modern history—was the most prestigious work a painter could do. Renaissance artists and writers laid down the definitions, goals, and rules. We outline these and look at many examples of how they changed as pictorial narrative evolved until its eclipse in the 19th century.

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Lecture Video

John Walsh presents Let This Be a Lesson: Lecture 1.

Recommended Readings

The following books are useful as background for the lectures. We suggest that you obtain and read one of the general histories, and, if possible, the period studies.

To access subscription-only articles, or for assistance with any of the below materials, please visit the Nolen Center Library at the Yale University Art Gallery.

General Histories of Art

Honour, Hugh, and John Fleming. The Visual Arts: A History, 7th ed. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2013. (Used copies of earlier editions are abundant and are available from Amazon.com and Abebooks.com.)

Janson, H. W., and Anthony Janson. History of Art, 6th ed. New York: Prentice Hall and Harry N. Abrams, 2001.

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.

Bell, Julian. Mirror of the World: A New History of Art. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2007.

Period Studies

Levy, Michael. High Renaissance. New York: Harmondsworth, 1975.

Shearman, John. Mannerism. New York: Harmondsworth, 1967.

Martin, John Rupert. Baroque. New York: Harmondsworth, 1977.

Honour, Hugh. Neoclassicism. New York: Harmondsworth, 1968.

Nochlin, Linda. Realism. New York: Harmondsworth, 1972.

Honour, Hugh. Romanticism. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.