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Closed eyes by Odilon Redon, female in dream like state, Painting the Dream in white font below.

Painting the Dream

A History of Dreams in Art, from the Renaissance to Surrealism

By (author) Daniel Bergez


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  • The first-ever history of the representation of dreams in Western painting, illustrated with works by more than 130 artists
Full Description

Organised by period, from the Middle Ages to the present, this engaging book shows how the idea of the dream, and its depictions, have shifted throughout history, from the biblical dream—a communication from God—to the deeply personal dream, the lighthearted fantasy, the nightmare. Sometimes these ideas have existed simultaneously: thus we have, only a few years apart, Raphael’s limpid High Renaissance composition of Jacob dreaming his Ladder; Albrecht Dürer’s watercolour of a mysterious deluge that he saw in his own slumbers; and Hieronymus Bosch’s nightmarish hellscapes. More recently, movements such as Symbolism and Surrealism have taken the dream as a primary source of inspiration, even conflating dreaming and the creative process itself. This rich vein of visionary art runs from Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon, through De Chirico and Dalí, down to the present—demonstrating, as Bergez reminds us, that Morpheus was a god of form as well as of dreams.

About the Author
Daniel Bergez is a scholar, curator, and critic whose work focuses on the relationship between painting and literature. His books in French include Literature and Painting; To Paint, To Write: The Dialogue of the Arts; The Salon and Its Artists; and Gao Xingjian: Painter of the Soul, which won the Prix Bernier of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Bergez is also a painter whose work is regularly exhibited in France, the U.S., China, and Japan.
Abbeville Press
1st Jul 2020
World excluding USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia
279 mm x 229 mm
256 Pages
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