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Great Museums of Europe [Hardcover]

By Antonio Paolucci (Introduction by)
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These eight emblematic museums all show their roots in the 18th century European idea of an institution representing the complete development of human culture in a microcosm.
Each of the eight chapters here recounts the history of an individual museum by traveling through its entire history on a path to the collections' masterpieces, presented as an easy-to-follow-path of spectacular photographs and captions. Diverse as their present-day collections may be, the purest form of the museum can be seen at the core of each institution, starting with the Vatican Museums; on to the Russian Imperial Collections in the citadel of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg; in the Hapsburg Collections, assembled in the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna. The Bourbon Collections now in Museo del Prado in Madrid, The Napoleonic dream of "the Universal Museum," leads to the present-day structure of the Louvre in Paris, as well as its counterpart, the British Museum in London, founded to accommodate the marble sculptures from the Parthenon that Lord Elgin brought back from Athens. And finally, the ambition to create a citadel of culture, a new Acropolis of universal knowledge, is fully present in the Prussian museum system built on the Museumsinsel in Berlin and, on a smaller scale, in the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam. Great Museums of Europe recaptures a grand impulse of Western civilization: that our great achievements in art are a story that can and must be preserved in a comprehensive way so that it is told forever.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Skira
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 12" Height: 9"
Weight:   3.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 6, 2003
Publisher   Skira
ISBN  8884912709  
ISBN13  9788884912701  

Availability  0 units.

More About Antonio Paolucci

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Angiola Maria Romanini is a renowned art historian specializing in Italian medieval art. She is a professor at the University of Rome.
Antonio Paolucci is currently the Tuscan Superintendent of Cultural Heritage, after having served as the Minister of Cultural Heritage for Italy and as a director of the Uffizi Galleries.

Antonio Paolucci was born in 1486 and died in 1551.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > General
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History > Regional > European
3Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > General
4Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Museums & Collections > General
5Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > General
6Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Architecture > International > European
7Books > Subjects > Reference > General
8Books > Subjects > Travel > Europe > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Great Museums of Europe?

Great Look at Europe's Best Art Museums  Feb 20, 2004
Most people will never see all of the best art museums in Europe. The average person doesn't even know which ones are the best. A typical tourist might have only 2 or 3 chances in a lifetime to see such museums. Without advance planning, wonderful opportunities will be missed. With this book, such advance planning can be successful.

Here's an example. For many years, I wanted to see the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Due to the economic and social unrest at the time, we opted to take a cruise ship so we could sleep on board while in the city. At the time, cruise ship passengers could only leave on "escorted" tours. The one to the Hermitage was only a one hour tour! So, we learned to sneak off the boat by pretending to be with other tours . . . and walk down to the Hermitage where we would then spend the whole day. Had we been less intrepid, the trip would have been a waste. Now, you wouldn't have that problem.

Here's another example, the Vatican Museums are so enormous and have so many wonderful items that you cannot hope to see what interests you in less than many days . . . and then only if you know what you are looking for. Once in the Vatican, it is very busy and crowded . . . and it's easy to get disoriented. The Louvre has some of the same problem. Both museums lead you to the "all star" items in a four hour visit, but you may be interested in other works instead.

Even if you wanted to see the best museums in Europe, your own personal taste would probably lead you to prefer some museums over others. Great Museums of Europe deals with that problem by showing many of the finest art works in each of the eight museums (Vatican Museums in Vatican City; The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia; Louvre in Paris; British Museum in London; Prado in Madrid: the Island of Museums in Berlin; the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam; and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna). You also get detailed maps of where the art works are located within the museums.

I was happy to find out that each museum's history is well developed, including the sources for the art collections, who did the collecting, and why and how the museum has been developed to serve modern viewers. Along the way, you will get a sense of how collections of the rich and famous became cultural patrimonies for whole nations. You will also learn about how the art works are displayed to help develop public interest and education.

I also enjoyed learning about the history of the buildings that the art works are located in and how the buildings have been changed over the years.

Over all, it was interesting to see the large influence that Napoleon had on art museums by wanting to create a modern universal museum in Paris . . . both by taking works from other countries (most of which were returned after the Napoleonic wars) and inspiring envy of the Louvre in the hearts of the leaders of other nations.

I was pleased to learn the names and some background about some of the important curators who developed the modern museums.

Even if you don't think you like art museums, this book will be well worth your while. You're bound to find art works and museums that fit your interests. That's a great gift to receive from reading a single book!

As I finished the book, I wondered how I could plan my next trip to Europe to see the rest of the museums in the book that I have not yet seen.


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