Jean Starobinski

We are so used to seeing art books formated according to the same models – exhibition catalogue, artist’s monography, studey of an historic period – that we are always pleasantly surprised to discover works that make the exception. Such is the case of this text (difficult to comprehend,we should point out) by Jean Starobinski, who studies the representation in art of the concept of largitio (generosity), so important in past centuries. Litterary references go from Plinius to Rousseau, from Valère Maxime to the Countess of Ségur. It is illustrated in a very eclectic way as well, going from expected allegories on Abundance or the Rain of Gold of Danae to more curious images, such as Satan planting rye grass by Félicien Rops or this other rain of gold, poured by Eisenstein on his Ivan the Terrible. To say the truth, the first version of this book accompanied a themed exhibition at the Louvre. But that was 14 years ago and the author has had time to prolong his thoughts.

• Largesse, by Jean Starobinski, Gallimard, 2007, 224 p., ISBN : 978-2-07-077530-9, 29,50 €

Largesse - Jean Starobinski

Review published in the newsletter #48 - from 24 May 2007 to 30 July 2007

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