Freemasonry and the Visual Arts from the Eighteenth Century Forward: Historical and Global Perspectives
Reva Wolf, Alisa Luxenberg
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Nov 28, 2019 - Art - 304 pages
Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2020
With the dramatic rise of Freemasonry in the eighteenth century, art played a fundamental role in its practice, rhetoric, and global dissemination, while Freemasonry, in turn, directly influenced developments in art. This mutually enhancing relationship has only recently begun to receive its due. The vilification of Masons, and their own secretive practices, have hampered critical study and interpretation. As perceptions change, and as masonic archives and institutions begin opening to the public, the time is ripe for a fresh consideration of the interconnections between Freemasonry and the visual arts. This volume offers diverse approaches, and explores the challenges inherent to the subject, through a series of eye-opening case studies that reveal new dimensions of well-known artists such as Francisco de Goya and John Singleton Copley, and important collectors and entrepreneurs, including Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and Baron Taylor. Individual essays take readers to various countries within Europe and to America, Iran, India, and Haiti. The kinds of art analyzed are remarkably wide-ranging-porcelain, architecture, posters, prints, photography, painting, sculpture, metalwork, and more-and offer a clear picture of the international scope of the relationships between Freemasonry and art and their significance for the history of modern social life, politics, and spiritual practices. In examining this topic broadly yet deeply, Freemasonry and the Visual Arts sets a standard for serious study of the subject and suggests new avenues of investigation in this fascinating emerging field.
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