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Art
Passion for Drawing:   Poussin to Cezanne, Works from the Prat Collection
By Pierre Rosenberg
Illustrated. 327 pp.
Art Services International. US$69.95
ISBN: 9780883971444

The art book, Passion for Drawing: Poussin to Cezanne, Works from the Prat Collection, is based on the world-renowned collection of Louis-Antoine and Veronique Prat of Paris. Three hundred years of the evolution of French art is contained in their collection. Passion for Drawing is based on the landmark exhibition of the drawings in their collection that was organized and circulated by Art Services International.

The focus of visual art is often painting. Painting's more abstract and elusive cousin, drawing, is at times more immediate, at times harder to grasp and focus on. The artwork represented in this book should eliminate any doubt that drawing has the same -- and maybe even greater -- potential for powerful sweeps of emotion and moving detail as its flashier, more colorful relative. For example, the pain, sorrow, and suffering of Jesus are impossible to miss in Euguerrand Quarton's Jesus in "The Pieta of Villeneuve-les-Avignon." The joy, fear, and almost frenzy of delight show amply in Charles Le Brun's "Nude Man Flying." No color is needed to relieve the stark and moving lines of Francois Boucher's "A Satyr Lifting a Drapery."

These are just three of the many extraordinary pieces presented in Passion for Drawing: Poussin to Cezanne. A Henry Focillon quote in the book states it aptly: "The taste for beautiful drawings is one of the supreme graces of the mind. It procures not only immediate delights, but it engages our thoughts in pleasures befitting them, wherein they find full contentment." Indeed, readers will find full contentment, perhaps curled up in a chair, sipping tea, and leafing through this visual treasure.

In addition to the wonderful collection of images, a history of France and of French artwork in eminently readable prose is included. The work includes discussions of the artists and often comments on their techniques, making this book a valuable addition to the shelves of art students as well as art appreciators.

Passion for Drawing also includes a bibliography, an index, and biographies of 66 artists.

Art Services International, whose work made the exhibits and the book possible, is committed to enhance the appreciation of art throughout the world. As a non-profit educational institution, the organization has been behind some of the finest art exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world.

The author, Pierre Rosenberg, is honorary president-director of the Louvre in Paris. His skill in artistic presentation and knowledge and appreciation of art are well in evidence in this book.

Sylvia Breau, for Notable Book Reviews
Notable Book Reviews received one or more copies of this book in exchange for this review.
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