100 books like Carlo Crivelli

By Jonathan Watkins (editor), Amanda Hilliam (editor), Alessandro Delpriori (editor) , Stacey Sell (editor) , Anna Degler (editor) , Audrey Flack (editor)

Here are 100 books that Carlo Crivelli fans have personally recommended if you like Carlo Crivelli. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Poussin and the Dance

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

It’s hard to love every artist – we all have different tastes – and I have always had problems with the apparently dry and academic art of Nicolas Poussin. That is, until I saw the exhibition Poussin and the Dance. Not only does it show a more relaxed side to this apparently reserved man, reveling in the fluidity and intimacy of movement, but as an exhibition it was perfectly formed. Every object, whether painting, drawing, sculpture, or vase, had a reason to be there, and each was informed by its presence with the others: a true conversation between artworks that you could enjoy and from which you could learn. And of course, the clarity of the minds which brought these exhibits together is also evident in the writing of the catalogue.

By Emily A Beeny, Francesca Whitlum-Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poussin and the Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richly illustrated and engagingly written, this publication examines how the pioneer of French classicism brought dance to bear on every aspect of his artistic production.

Scenes of tripping maenads and skipping maidens, Nicolas Poussin’s dancing pictures, painted in the 1620s and 1630s, helped him formulate a new style. This style would make him the model for three centuries of artists in the French classical tradition, from Jacques-Louis David and Edgar Degas to Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso.

Poussin and the Dance, the first published study devoted to this theme, situates the artist in seventeenth-century Rome, a city rich with the…


Book cover of Johannes Vermeer: On Reflection

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

The exhibition dedicated to Johannes Vermeer at the Old Master Picture Gallery in Dresden last year was one of the best I have ever seen. Inspired by a recent discovery – a crucial detail in one of the Gallery’s own works had been painted over – the exhibition set out to explore the artist’s work in-depth focusing on this one image. The restoration of the painting and the revelation of the hidden detail led to a re-evaluation of Vermeer’s art. Each room of the exhibition, and chapter of the book, introduces a different aspect of the painting so that, when you finally get to see it and read about it, you have a thorough understanding of its meaning and development, and even of the society in which it was produced.

By Stephan Koja,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Johannes Vermeer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous works of seventeenth-century Dutch art. Preserved at the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, the painting has been restored, in an elaborate process lasting from 2017 to 2021. The removal of a large section of overpainting dating from a later period has profoundly altered the work's appearance and revealed the original composition. To showcase the discovery, the Dresden Gemaldegalerie is now presenting the Girl Reading a Letter along with other masterpieces by Vermeer and a selection of exceptional Dutch genre paintings that reveal…


Book cover of Laura Knight: A Panoramic View

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

Some artists, I think, have been unjustly neglected. In 1936, 168 years after it was founded, Laura Knight was the first woman to be elected as a full member of the Royal Academy of Art. In 1965 she was the first woman to have a solo exhibition at the same august institution, and yet today her name is little known. Why is that? Quite simply because she was a woman. Not only that, but her work valued the traditional craft of naturalistic representation precisely when abstraction, and then other forms of art beyond painting, became popular. Last year’s exhibition, the most comprehensive staged so far, together with the superbly written and illustrated catalogue, should go a long way to set the record straight. I think she was a great artist!

By Anthony Spira, Fay Blanchard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Laura Knight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major survey of Dame Laura Knight, first female Royal Academician and popular British artist of the 20th century. Laura Knight (1877-1970) was one of the most famous and popular English artists of the twentieth century. She was the first woman to have a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, in 1965. In the following decades her realist style of painting fell out of fashion and her work become largely overlooked. A new generation has rediscovered her work, finding a contemporary resonance in her depictions of women at work, of people from marginalized communities and her contributions as…


Book cover of Alison Watt: A Portrait Without Likeness: A Conversation with the Art of Allan Ramsay

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

To my mind, Alison Watt’s unerring eye and technical skills rank among the best, and conceptually her paintings are equally compelling. Dealing with the complexities of perception, they constantly question the nature of art: what is this magic that paint alone can perform? Her work is an ongoing conversation with the art of the past, and the exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery was her response to the 18th Century portraitist Allan Ramsay. The paintings remind me of exhibits in a trial, or evidence of a forensic examination, focusing on specific details, insisting that we look more closely, enjoying forms and colours, and inviting us to speculate on their relevance to the original subjects. The catalogue, beautifully produced, is a work of art in its own right.

By Julie Lawson, Tom Normand, Andrew O'Hagan

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alison Watt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A unique insight into the ways in which one of today's leading artists is inspired by great works of the past.

In 16 emphatically modern new paintings, renowned artist, Alison Watt, responds to the remarkable delicacy of the female portraits by eighteenth-century Scottish portraitist, Allan Ramsay.

Watt's new works are particularly inspired by Ramsay's much-loved portrait of his wife, along with less familiar portraits and drawings. Watt shines a light on enigmatic details in Ramsay's work and has created paintings which hover between the genres of still life and portraiture.

In conversation with curator Julie Lawson, Watt discusses how painters…


Book cover of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

Joseph P. Forgas Author Of The Psychology of Populism: The Tribal Challenge to Liberal Democracy

From my list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies.

Who am I?

I'm an experimental social psychologist and Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. I grew up in Hungary, and after an adventurous escape I ended up in Sydney. I received my DPhil and DSc degrees from the University of Oxford, and I spent various periods working at Oxford, Stanford, Heidelberg, and Giessen. For my work I received the Order of Australia, as well as the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. As somebody who experienced totalitarian communism firsthand, I am very interested in the reasons for the recent spread of totalitarian, tribal ideologies, potentially undermining Western liberalism, undoubtedly the most successful civilization in human history.

Joseph's book list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies

Joseph P. Forgas Why did Joseph love this book?

This is an incredibly interesting, well-written, and informative book that lays out the case for the amazing success of liberal democracies based on the Enlightenment values of liberty, universal humanism, and individualism.

I consider this book an essential reading for everyone who has been brainwashed by the current pessimistic and catastrophizing ideologies attacking this most successful of all human civilization.

Pinker is an outstanding writer, and the empirical evidence he marshals for the success and values of the Enlightenment in promoting human flourishing is utterly persuasive.

By Steven Pinker,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Enlightenment Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018
ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. By the author of the new book, Rationality.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third…


Book cover of At Home With The Marquis De Sade

Andrew S. Curran Author Of Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely

From my list on the Enlightenment and the world is created.

Who am I?

Andrew Curran is passionate about books and ideas related to the eighteenth century. His writing on the Enlightenment has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, Time Magazine, The Paris Review, El Païs, and The Wall Street Journal. Curran is also the author of three books and numerous scholarly articles on the French Enlightenment. He is currently writing a new multi-person biography that chronicles the birth of the concept of race for Other Press. Curran teaches at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he is a Professor of French and the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities.

Andrew's book list on the Enlightenment and the world is created

Andrew S. Curran Why did Andrew love this book?

The Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) is one of those characters that you loathe, but cannot help but find fascinating. By all standards, this deviant aristocrat was a gentleman in name only. Yet his remarkable life (32 years of it spent in prison) and amoral philosophizing provide the grist for a great biography under the pen of Gray. Readers will find many of de Sade’s horrific exploits here, yet this book also explores his relationship with the two most important women in his life: his beloved wife, who indulged him for decades, and his hated mother-in-law, whom he envisioned flaying alive before throwing her “into a vat of vinegar.” To a large degree, Marquis’s life and philosophy were an intentionally extreme version of the Enlightenment’s emancipation of the individual. A great window into the dark side of the Enlightenment.

Book cover of Enlightenment: Discovering the World in the Eighteenth Century

Ludmilla Jordanova Author Of The Look of the Past: Visual and Material Evidence in Historical Practice

From my list on visual culture.

Who am I?

I’m a historian and writer who strives to combine the history of science and medicine, the study of visual culture, and cultural history in my work. Although I hated being dragged round art galleries and museums as a child, something must have stuck, laying the foundations for my interest in using images and artefacts to understand both the past and the present. Since the early 1990s I’ve been writing about portraits, how they work, and why they are important—I remain gripped by the compelling ways they speak to identity.  It was a privilege to serve as a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery in London between 2001 and 2009.

Ludmilla's book list on visual culture

Ludmilla Jordanova Why did Ludmilla love this book?

London’s British Museum, with its massive and diverse collections, is world famous and the story of its foundation and early years in the eighteenth century sheds light on the histories of collecting, knowledge, and exploration. More than twenty essays were assembled to celebrate the opening of the Enlightenment Gallery in the King’s Library after years of research and refurbishment. These essays draw readers into the people, the objects, and the ideas that shaped this important and influential institution. The book is lavishly illustrated with gorgeous photographs of paintings and statues, coins, fossils, china, and much more—a wonderful way to grasp the museum’s stupendous holdings and also to understand better the controversies it has engendered.

By Kim Sloan (editor), Andrew Burnett (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enlightenment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The extraordinary companion to the British Museum's 250th anniversary exhibition.
Opened in 1753 as the world's first public museum, the British Museum epitomized the Age of Enlightenment's dream of a rational universe. Indeed, in many ways the museum was the age's most potent instrument: the incarnation of a world that could be parsed, classified, and comprehended through the physical observation of objects, all in the name of reason, progress, and civic improvement.


In this lavishly illustrated volume, published to coincide with a new permanent exhibit, the museum's centrality to the Enlightenment enterprise is explored through the stunning breadth and variety…


Book cover of Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment

Mark Dizon Author Of Reciprocal Mobilities: Indigeneity and Imperialism in an Eighteenth-Century Philippine Borderland

From my list on borderland mobility.

Who am I?

The past fascinates me because it is strange and different to the world we live in today. That is why I prefer looking at earlier centuries than contemporary times because the distant past requires an extra effort on our part to unlock how people back then made sense of their world. When I read an old chronicle on how Indigenous people spent days traveling to meet acquaintances and even strangers, it piqued my interest. Did they really need to meet face-to-face? What did traveling mean to them? The books on the list below are attempts by historians to understand the travelers of the past.

Mark's book list on borderland mobility

Mark Dizon Why did Mark love this book?

While Bárbaros is a classic in borderland studies, it is not stuffy and boring at all.

The stories and details in the book give life to what happened a long time ago in distant lands. Weber shows readers how dynamic and fluid Spanish borderlands in the Americas really were. I particularly find it fascinating how the book reveals people’s flexibility in the face of seemingly rigid colonial categories.

By David J. Weber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bárbaros as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A majestic exploration of Bourbon Spain's efforts to come to terms with the native peoples of the Americas, from Argentina to Alaska

Two centuries after Cortes and Pizarro seized the Aztec and Inca empires, Spain's conquest of America remained unfinished. Indians retained control over most of the lands in Spain's American empire. Mounted on horseback, savvy about European ways, and often possessing firearms, independent Indians continued to find new ways to resist subjugation by Spanish soldiers and conversion by Spanish missionaries.


In this panoramic study, David J. Weber explains how late eighteenthcentury Spanish administrators tried to fashion a more enlightened…


Book cover of Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison

Ritchie Robertson Author Of The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790

From my list on the Enlightenment.

Who am I?

In 2021 I retired as Schwarz-Taylor Professor of German at Oxford. For many years I had been interested not only in German literature but in European literature and culture more broadly, particularly in the eighteenth century. Oxford is a centre of Enlightenment research, being the site of the Voltaire Foundation, where a team of scholars has just finished editing the complete works of Voltaire. When in 2013 I was asked to write a book on the Enlightenment, I realized that I had ideal resources to hand – though I also benefited from a year’s leave spent at Göttingen, the best place in Germany to study the eighteenth century. 

Ritchie's book list on the Enlightenment

Ritchie Robertson Why did Ritchie love this book?

This is an original view of the Enlightenment by one of the most exciting of its current historians. The Enlightenment urged people to think for themselves; intellectual authority resided ultimately within the individual. It valued the emotions as highly as reason; emotions included what philosophers called ‘the passions’, not just sympathy with others, but individual desires and appetites. The Enlightenment was also a period of increasing material prosperity, in which some thinkers still praised the virtue of frugality, while others pointed out that luxury and self-indulgence were necessary to drive the modern economy. These arguments, displayed here with energy and clarity, are with us still.

By David Wootton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power, Pleasure, and Profit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A provocative history of the changing values that have given rise to our present discontents.

We pursue power, pleasure, and profit. We want as much as we can get, and we deploy instrumental reasoning-cost-benefit analysis-to get it. We judge ourselves and others by how well we succeed. It is a way of life and thought that seems natural, inevitable, and inescapable. As David Wootton shows, it is anything but. In Power, Pleasure, and Profit, he traces an intellectual and cultural revolution that replaced the older systems of Aristotelian ethics and Christian morality with the iron cage of instrumental reasoning that…


Book cover of Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding

Dennis C. Rasmussen Author Of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders

From my list on American founders from a political theorist.

Who am I?

I’m a political theorist at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. I spent the first fifteen years or so of my career working on the Scottish and French Enlightenments (Adam Smith, David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire), but in recent years I’ve been drawn more and more to the American founding. In addition to Fears of a Setting Sun, I’m also the author of The Constitution’s Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America’s Basic Charter, which explores the constitutional vision of the immensely colorful individual who—unbeknownst to most Americans—wrote the US Constitution.

Dennis' book list on American founders from a political theorist

Dennis C. Rasmussen Why did Dennis love this book?

This book is not as acclaimed as the others on this list, but it is a hidden gem. Staloff deftly weaves together the lives and ideas of three of the most notable founders, and the ways in which they were influenced by their Enlightenment forebears. Precisely because the book is relatively little-known, I recommend it all the time to colleagues and students.

By Darren Staloff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Where The Ideas for which We Stand came from.

In this incisively drawn book, Darren Staloff forcefully reminds us that America owes its guiding political traditions to three Founding Fathers whose lives embodied the collision of Europe's grand Enlightenment project with the birth of the nation.

Alexander Hamilton, the worldly New Yorker; John Adams, the curmudgeonly Yankee; Thomas Jefferson, the visionary Virginia squire—each governed their public lives by Enlightenment principles, and for each their relationship to the politics of Enlightenment was transformed by the struggle for American independence. Repeated humiliation on America's battlefields banished Hamilton's youthful idealism, leaving him a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Age of Enlightenment, art, and Europe?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Age of Enlightenment, art, and Europe.

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