How to Read a Painting

Decoding, Understanding and Enjoying the Old Masters


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ISBN: 9780500512005 Category:

Patrick de Rynck


Clues to the meaning of the masterpieces of art history lie in a rich system of symbols, themes and motifs that often elude the modern eye. Without the intimate knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology, folklore and Christian theology so vivid in the minds of the artists and familiar to their public, we often miss the visual hints that gave contemporary meaning to a painting.

How to Read a Painting draws our attention to the imagery and the wonderful, apparently inconsequential details in paintings by Giotto, Botticelli, El Greco, Michelangelo, Rubens, Vermeer, Hogarth, Gainsborough and many more. Brief yet illuminating explanations accompany over 900 colour illustrations, providing the means to interpret and enjoy these and many other works.

Additional information

Weight 1070 g
Dimensions 17.9 x 25.4 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 17 November 2004
Number of pages 384
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 17.9 x 25.4 cm
Weight 1070 g


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Patrick de Rynck is a classicist and translator. He is the author of several books, including How to Read a Painting and Understanding Paintings, both published by Thames & Hudson.