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In one painting, a military officer in a Dutch sitting room flirts with a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. Vermeer’s paintings haunt us with their beauty and mystery—what stories lay behind these stunningly rendered moments? As Timothy Brook shows us, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually offer a remarkable view of a rapidly expanding world. The dashing officer’s hat is of beaver fur from Canada, while the pieces of silver, mined in Peru, might be used to purchase the Chinese porcelain seen in other Vermeer paintings. Moving outward from Vermeer’s studio, Brook traces the web of trade that was spreading across the globe in the seventeenth century. The wharves of Holland, wrote a French visitor, were “an inventory of the possible.” Vermeer’s Hat shows just how rich this inventory was, and how the urge to acquire such things was refashioning the world more powerfully than we have yet understood.

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Genre: History
Author: Timothy Brook
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Release: 2013-10-22
File: 288 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780143191001

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In one painting, a Dutch military officer leans toward a laughing girl. In another, a woman at a window weighs pieces of silver. In a third, fruit spills from a porcelain bowl onto a Turkish carpet. The officer's dashing hat is made of beaver fur, which European explorers got from Native Americans in exchange for weapons. Beaver pelts, in turn, financed the voyages of sailors seeking new routes to China. There - with silver mined in Peru - Europeans would purchase, by the thousands, the porcelain so often shown in Dutch paintings of this time. Vermeer's haunting images hint at the stories behind these exquisitely rendered moments. As Timothy Brook shows us in Vermeer's Hat, these pictures, which seem so intimate, actually open doors onto a rapidly expanding world.

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Genre: Civilization, Modern
Author: Timothy Brook
Publisher: Profile Books(GB)
Release: 2009
File: 272 Pages
ISBN-13: 1846681200

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From the author of the award-winning Vermeer's Hat, a historical detective story decoding a long-forgotten link between seventeenth century Europe and China. Timothy Brook's award-winning Vermeer's Hat unfolded the early history of globalization, using Vermeer's paintings to show how objects like beaver hats and porcelain bowls began to circulate around the world. Now he plumbs the mystery of a single artifact that offers new insights into global connections centuries old. In 2009, an extraordinary map of China was discovered in Oxford's Bodleian Library-where it had first been deposited 350 years before, then stowed and forgotten for nearly a century. Neither historians of China nor cartography experts had ever seen anything like it. It was so odd that experts would have declared it a fake-yet records confirmed it had been delivered to Oxford in 1659. The “Selden Map,” as it is known, was a puzzle that needing solving. Brook, a historian of China, set out to explore the riddle. His investigation will lead readers around this elegant, enigmatic work of art, and from the heart of China, via the Southern Ocean, to the court of King James II. In the story of Selden's map, he reveals for us the surprising links between an English scholar and merchants half a world away, and offers novel insights into the power and meaning that a single map can hold. Brook delivers the same anecdote-rich narrative, intriguing characters, and unexpected historical connections that made Vermeer's Hat an instant classic.

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Genre: History
Author: Timothy Brook
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Release: 2013-11-12
File: 256 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781620401446

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Stretching from the tributaries of the Danube to the Urals and from the Russian forests to the Black and Caspian seas, the vast European steppe has for centuries played very different roles in the Russian imagination. To the Grand Princes of Kiev and Muscovy, it was the "wild field," a region inhabited by nomadic Turko-Mongolic peoples who repeatedly threatened the fragile Slavic settlements to the north. For the emperors and empresses of imperial Russia, it was a land of boundless economic promise and a marker of national cultural prowess. By the mid-nineteenth century the steppe, once so alien and threatening, had emerged as an essential, if complicated, symbol of Russia itself. Traversing a thousand years of the region's history, Willard Sunderland recounts the complex process of Russian expansion and colonization, stressing the way outsider settlement at once created the steppe as a region of empire and was itself constantly changing. The story is populated by a colorful array of administrators, Cossack adventurers, Orthodox missionaries, geographers, foreign entrepreneurs, peasants, and (by the late nineteenth century) tourists and conservationists. Sunderland's approach to history is comparative throughout, and his comparisons of the steppe with the North American case are especially telling. Taming the Wild Field eloquently expresses concern with the fate of the world's great grasslands, and the book ends at the beginning of the twentieth century with the initiation of a conservation movement in Russia by those appalled at the high environmental cost of expansion.

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Genre: History
Author: Willard Sunderland
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release: 2016-03-10
File: 264 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781501703249

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Johannes Vermeer, one of the greatest Dutch painters and for some the single greatest painter of all, produced a remarkably small corpus of work. In Vermeer's Family Secrets, Benjamin Binstock revolutionizes how we think about Vermeer's work and life. Vermeer, The Sphinx of Delft, is famously a mystery in art: despite the common claim that little is known of his biography, there is actually an abundance of fascinating information about Vermeer’s life that Binstock brings to bear on Vermeer’s art for the first time; he also offers new interpretations of several key documents pertaining to Vermeer that have been misunderstood. Lavishly illustrated with more than 180 black and white images and more than sixty color plates, the book also includes a remarkable color two-page spread that presents the entirety of Vermeer's oeuvre arranged in chronological order in 1/20 scale, demonstrating his gradual formal and conceptual development. No book on Vermeer has ever done this kind of visual comparison of his complete output. Like Poe's purloined letter, Vermeer's secrets are sometimes out in the open where everyone can see them. Benjamin Binstock shows us where to look. Piecing together evidence, the tools of art history, and his own intuitive skills, he gives us for the first time a history of Vermeer's work in light of Vermeer's life. On almost every page of Vermeer's Family Secrets, there is a perception or an adjustment that rethinks what we know about Vermeer, his oeuvre, Dutch painting, and Western Art. Perhaps the most arresting revelation of Vermeer's Family Secrets is the final one: in response to inconsistencies in technique, materials, and artistic level, Binstock posits that several of the paintings accepted as canonical works by Vermeer, are in fact not by Vermeer at all but by his eldest daughter, Maria. How he argues this is one of the book's many pleasures.

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Genre: Art
Author: Benjamin Binstock
Publisher: Routledge
Release: 2013-03-07
File: 428 Pages
ISBN-13: 9781136087066

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Global Interactions in the Early Modern Age is an interdisciplinary introduction to cross-cultural encounters in the early modern age (1400–1800) and their influences on the development of world societies. In the aftermath of Mongol expansion across Eurasia, the unprecedented rise of imperial states in the early modern period set in motion interactions between people from around the world. These included new commercial networks, large-scale migration streams, global biological exchanges, and transfers of knowledge across oceans and continents. These in turn wove together the major regions of the world. In an age of extensive cultural, political, military, and economic contact, a host of individuals, companies, tribes, states, and empires were in competition. Yet they also cooperated with one another, leading ultimately to the integration of global space.

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Genre: History
Author: Charles H. Parker
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release: 2010-06-23
File: Pages
ISBN-13: 9781139491419

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The remarkable story of how an artist and a scientist in seventeenth-century Holland transformed the way we see the world. On a summer day in 1674, in the small Dutch city of Delft, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek—a cloth salesman, local bureaucrat, and self-taught natural philosopher—gazed through a tiny lens set into a brass holder and discovered a never-before imagined world of microscopic life. At the same time, in a nearby attic, the painter Johannes Vermeer was using another optical device, a camera obscura, to experiment with light and create the most luminous pictures ever beheld. “See for yourself!” was the clarion call of the 1600s. Scientists peered at nature through microscopes and telescopes, making the discoveries in astronomy, physics, chemistry, and anatomy that ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses, mirrors, and camera obscuras, creating extraordinarily detailed paintings of flowers and insects, and scenes filled with realistic effects of light, shadow, and color. By extending the reach of sight the new optical instruments prompted the realization that there is more than meets the eye. But they also raised questions about how we see and what it means to see. In answering these questions, scientists and artists in Delft changed how we perceive the world. In Eye of the Beholder, Laura J. Snyder transports us to the streets, inns, and guildhalls of seventeenth-century Holland, where artists and scientists gathered, and to their studios and laboratories, where they mixed paints and prepared canvases, ground and polished lenses, examined and dissected insects and other animals, and invented the modern notion of seeing. With charm and narrative flair Snyder brings Vermeer and Van Leeuwenhoek—and the men and women around them—vividly to life. The story of these two geniuses and the transformation they engendered shows us why we see the world—and our place within it—as we do today. Eye of the Beholder was named "A Best Art Book of the Year" by Christie's and "A Best Read of the Year" by New Scientist in 2015.

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Genre: Science
Author: Laura J. Snyder
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release: 2015-03-16
File: 480 Pages
ISBN-13: 9780393246520

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A critique of the greatest reallocation of resources in the history of the world and an analysis of its effects on indigenous peoples, the growth of property rights, and the evolution of ideas that make up the foundation of the modern world.

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Genre: History
Author: John C. Weaver
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
Release: 2003-04-24
File: 497 Pages
ISBN-13: 0773525270

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This book examines these fascinating characteristics of Dutch art by bringing together some of the finest works from the period, including five masterpieces by Johannes Vermeer. These paintings and the scholarly essays that accompany them off glimpses into the reality of Dutch life, particularly as it unfolded in the city of Delft during the middle years of the seventeenth century. The book accompanied an exhibition at Osaka Municipal Museum of Art from April to June 2000. The book includes scenes that would have represented shared experiences for every citizen of Delft, but also images that were private , in that individual activities and values served as the artist's focus. Understanding and articulating their respective characteristics provides the focus of the discussions. The world that seventeenth century Dutch artists portrayed seems real and immediate. One can almost imagine wandering within their flat landscapes, with towns and church towers silhouetted against the Dutch sky, or participating in the tender human encounters these artists so movingly captured in their renderings of daily life. However, most Dutch paintings, while seemingly true to life, contain ideas and beliefs that remain elusive, however carefully one examines the images.

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Genre: Art
Author: Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr.
Publisher: Philip Wilson Publishers
Release: 2000
File: 214 Pages
ISBN-13: UOM:39015042249576

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Explores the possibility that Vermeer used the camera obscura to achieve the photographic qualities of his paintings and provides a history of the camera obscura, how it is used, and the composition of Vermeer's paintings.

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Genre: Art
Author: Philip Steadman
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release: 2002
File: 207 Pages
ISBN-13: 0192803026

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