The Upside-Down World
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From the publisher
A charming and highly personal introduction to the artists of the Dutch Golden Age
Twenty years ago, Benjamin Moser followed a love affair to an ancient Dutch town. In order to make sense of this new place, he threw himself into the Dutch museums. Soon, he found himself unearthing the strange, inspiring and sometimes terrifying stories of the artists who shaped one of the most luminous moments in the history of human creativity, the Dutch Golden Age.
As he explored the hidden world of the Dutch Masters (and one Mistress), Moser met a crowd of fascinating personalities: the stormy Rembrandt, the intimate Ter Borch, the mysterious Vermeer. Through their art, he got to know their country, too: from Pieter Saenredam's translucent churches to Paulus Potter's muddy barnyards, and from Pieter de Hooch's cozy hearths to Jacob van Ruisdael's tragic trees. Over the years, Moser found himself on increasingly intimate terms with these centuries-dead artists, and found that they, too, were struggling with the same questions he was. Why do we make art? What is art, anyway - and what is an artist? What does it mean to succeed as an artist, and what does it mean to fail?
The Upside-Down World is an invitation to ask these questions, and to turn them on their heads: to look, and then to look again. It is a brilliant, colourful and learned book for anyone, whether lifelong scholar or curious tourist, who has ever felt the lure of the Dutch galleries. It shows us art, and artists, as we have never seen them before.