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Summary

The updated edition of Julian Barnes’ best-loved writing on art, with seven new exquisite illustrated essays.

‘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 we are very far from reaching that state. We remain incorrigibly verbal creatures who love to explain things, to form opinions, to argue... It is a rare picture which 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.’

Julian Barnes began writing about art with a chapter on Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa in his 1989 novel A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. Since then he has written a series of remarkable essays, chiefly about French artists, which trace the story of how art made its way from Romanticism to Realism and into Modernism.

Keeping an Eye Open contains Barnes’ essays on Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Morisot, Fantin-Latour, Cézanne, Degas, Cassatt, Redon, Van Gogh, the legendary critic Huysmans, Bonnard, Vuillard, Vallotton, Braque, Magritte, Oldenburg, Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud. It also offers new perspectives on the fruitful relationship between writers and artists, and on the rivalry among Russian collectors of French art in the late 19th century.

©2015 Julian Barnes (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Keeping an Eye Open

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'allo 'allo

where did they find the narrator? I don't need quotes to be read in a cheesy French accent, just because the person who said it was French...

10 people found this helpful

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Hackneyed Accents

Sadly I was disappointed to discover that there was no mention of the life of Van Clomp and his masterpiece The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies. Despite the comedy French accents rolled out at every opportunity it was an interesting listen if somewhat narrow in scope.

3 people found this helpful

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fascinating introduction to art history

I loved it, great personal stories about the personality of the artists behind great paintings!

2 people found this helpful

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enjoyable

Andrew Wincott's voice is soothing and mellifluos and you do get the feeling you are listening to julian barnes talking about art .
I'm not keen on the french accent he uses when he quotes the critics and writers from the past . also the artists. There is a danger of making them all sound like inspector cluseau. A bit exaggerated. I suppose this is the actor performing.
Mainly though it is julian barnes ruminating, talking about art and artists and andrew Wincott's voice is good for that.

1 person found this helpful

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Worth listening to more than once

And of course, it's also advisable to be able to see the artworks under discussion while listening. I, for one, loved the "French" accent. I cannot see why art has to be discussed in a deadly serious and po-faced tone. Will definitely revisit this audiobook again.