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A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War
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A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  84 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Christopher Nevinson, and Stanley Spencer were five of the most important British artists of the twentieth century. From diverse backgrounds, they met at The Slade in London between 1908 and 1910, in what was later described as the school’s “last crisis of brilliance.” Between 1910 and 1918 they loved, talked, and fought; they ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Old Street Publishing (first published 2009)
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Nicholas Kahn
Oct 13, 2010 Nicholas Kahn rated it it was amazing
davids my best friend in britain and wrote an brilliant book.
been so fun to see it from first ideas years ago to finished book, non fiction that reads like a novel
about my favorite artists and my favorite time period.
i am a bit biased but the guardian loved it too.
Debs Carey
Mar 15, 2016 Debs Carey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the sub-title aligned the artists with the impact of WWI, I expected that I would be reading of the great loss of life - and therefore wasted talent - of this generation of young british artists. So, it was odd to discover that the five chosen artists all survive the war. None are caught up in the initial war fever and rush to sign up, indeed most are pacifists or have such leanings. A couple join the medical corps, but only Spencer later becomes part of an active unit. Two become official ...more
William Brooke
Mar 09, 2015 William Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ostensibly this is a book for Art Historians but it has a far wider reach than that. As a work of art history it is excellent in its detailed research that brings these characters alive and adds so much to an understanding of their work. But it is this level of research that makes this book read like a novel and bind us into the fate of these artists. From the neurotic but at times admirable Nevinson to the naïve Spencer and the ambiguous Carrington the reader is engaged in the life and times of ...more
Oct 01, 2013 Kitty rated it really liked it
A well-researched and very readable account of five British artists who studied together at the Slade before their careers were interrupted by the First World War. All came from very different backgrounds, and responded to the war in very different ways - whether they made the war their focus or tried to ignore it completely it nevertheless had an undeniable impact. This is a fascinating insight into the state of the British art world at a time of huge social and cultural upheaval, as well as ...more
Mick Grant
Jul 27, 2011 Mick Grant rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating and moving acccount of five young artists who were all at the Slade School just prior to World War 1. The lives and work of Richard Nevinson, Paul Nash, Dora Carrington, Stanley Spencer and Mark Gertler are beautifully and sympathetically described. The profound impact of the War is dealt with in detail. Only weakness is that it would be better with more reproductions of their work.
If you enjoy this then check out the DVD of "Carrington" starring Emma Thompson.
Topping & Company Booksellers of Ely
'A Crisis of Brilliance' is a sublime biography of 5 young artists in the 1910s. It has the fluency and gripping narrative of a novel as it plaits together the lives of, interests and art of the artists. One of my favouite reads the biography the excitement and terror of the period as the artisits move from the safety of the Slade into war.If you enjoyed Pat barker's novels , this is a must-read!
Fazackerly Toast
Oct 18, 2014 Fazackerly Toast rated it liked it
Shelves: art
very interesting. Introduced me to some artists I'd never heard of and a period I knew very little about. Makes me want to go and look at some paintings now! As it happened I was wanting to go to the Tate Britain to look at the Late Turner exhibition, so now I shall extend it to see some Spencer, Nash, Gertler and Carrington, if any are on display. I hope so.
Feb 25, 2010 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
A thoroughly enjoyable account of 5 artists from the Slade and how WWI impacted on their painting. Their lives&loves are novel-like as evinced by Pat Barker's Life Class, not to mention Aldous Huxley's Chrome Yellow and Gilbert Cannan's Mendel.
Jul 27, 2016 Jan rated it it was amazing
A really absorbing account of the group of WWI Slade artists who went on to become part of the British post-war art scene.
Alice Randall
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Andy Emery
Apr 03, 2014 Andy Emery rated it it was amazing
Very well-written account of the lives of artists and the Great War.
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