Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art (Vintage International) (Paperback)

Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art (Vintage International) By Julian Barnes Cover Image
List Price: $20.00
Our Price: $19.00
(Save: $1.00 5%)


An extraordinary collection of essays on the great masters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art—from the Booker Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Sense of an Ending.

“An engaging and empathetic volume.” —The New York Times Book Review

As Julian Barnes notes: “Flaubert believed that it was impossible to explain one art form in terms of another, and that great paintings required no words of explanation. Braque thought the ideal state would be reached when we said nothing at all in front of a painting … But it is a rare picture that stuns, or argues, us into silence. And if one does, it is only a short time before we want to explain and understand the very silence into which we have been plunged.”

This is the exact dynamic that informs his new book. In his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters, Barnes had a chapter on Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, and since then he has written about many great masters of art, including Delacroix, Manet, Fantin-Latour, Cézanne, Degas, Redon, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Lucian Freud and Howard Hodgkin. The seventeen essays gathered here help trace the arc from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism; they are adroit, insightful and, above all, a true pleasure to read.

About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of twenty other books including, most recently, The Noise of Time. He has received the Man Booker Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in France, the Prix Médicis and the Prix Femina; and in Austria, the State Prize for European Literature. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in London.

Praise For…

“Enchanting ... eloquent.... This is a novelist’s criticism, full of motion and drama.” —The Washington Post

“An engaging and empathetic volume.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Perceptive. . . . Generous and discerning.” —The Boston Globe
“Fascinating and brilliant. . . . This magnificent survey draws its strength from its intensely personal focus, each piece reverberating off the others.” —The Financial Times  

“Illuminating. . . . Avid and thoughtful. . . . [Barnes] chatters like the gifted novelist he is, using his eye for the telling detail, his narrative intuition and his understanding of the creative process to help us see familiar artists like Degas, Braque and Magritte afresh, and to appreciate the work of lesser-known masters as well.” —The New York Times

“[A] superb collection. . . . Barnes’s observations and expression prov[e] equally adept and satisfying.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“This is art writing of the first order. . . . Page after page, essay after essay, Barnes pulls off the sort of acrobatically erudite performance that ultimately draws as much admiration for him as for the art he describes.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Powerful accounts of interconnections between art and artist. . . . Sharply observed and richly illuminating. . . . Barnes has a wonderful eye for what makes a great picture, and a command of language that again and again allows readers to share what he sees.” —Times Literary Supplement

“A readable, riveting, informed work with sharp, marvellous anecdotes and observations. . . . In this beautifully illustrated book you’re in great company.” —The Irish Independent

“Extremely rewarding, informative, attentive, thoughtful, entertaining.” —The Evening Standard

“Barnes weaves biography, history, philosophy in this fascinating, richly illuminating and beautifully written book.” —Art Quarterly

“It’s both a pleasure and an education to look over Barnes’s shoulder as he interrogates, wonders at, and relishes works of art. He’s a critic who prioritizes the objects themselves, and his work is always satisfying.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Scholarly and astute yet accessible and exciting. . . . Barnes focuses his analytical prowess on significant artists and their oeuvres, opening fresh vistas to readers—and viewers.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Handsomely illustrated, superbly written, felicitously thought-provoking. . . . Barnes is a consummate stylist, not only because of his artistic command of language but also by virtue of his searching intelligence, incisive candor, rogue wit, and righteous fairness.” —Booklist

“[Barnes] digs into fascinating details of isometric proportions. . . . Highly recommended to all art readers.” —Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9781101873373
ISBN-10: 110187337X
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 288
Language: English
Series: Vintage International