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To speak about art is to evoke the hand of the creator who produced the work. It is to confer to its gestures the importance of thoughts and to explore their point of convergence on the canvas or the stone. With this text, Henri Focillon delivers one of the most beautiful odes to the hand and, simultaneously, to the talent of artists, studying Hokusai, Cézanne, and even Rodin. What do artists such as Rembrandt, David, Gauguin, and Hokusai have in common? A virtuosity of the hand, replies Henri Focillon. The viewer often forgets that behind the works, it is first and foremost a hand and its fingers which guide the paintbrush, the pen, or the stylus. Focillon’s text recalls the importance of this part of the body, in which the artist’s talent comes to life. Within his text, he grants the hand the recognition that it deserves.



Publié par
Date de parution 04 juillet 2023
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781683254584
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0700€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Henri Focilon
Victoria Charles
Baseline Co. Ltd
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
© Parkstone Press International, New York, USA
© Confidential Concepts, worldwide, USA
© Image-Bar www.image-bar.com
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or adapted without the permission of the copyright holder, throughout the world. Unless otherwise specified, copyrights on the works reproduced lies with the respective photographers. Despite intensive research, it has not always been possible to establish copyright ownership. Where this is the case we would appreciate notification.
ISBN: 978-1-68325-458-4
Henri Focilon – Victoria Charles

In Praise

These hands have their character and souls,
They are a world in movement, so it seems;
The thumb and little finger are the poles
Between which flow the strange magnetic streams.
— Paul Verlaine
List of Artists
List of Illustrations
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp, 1632
The Ancient of Days, 1794
Aphrodite, known as “Venus of Arles”, end of 1 st century BCE
Apollo and Daphne, probably 1470-1480
Arm Reliquary of St Lawrence, c. 1175
Arm Reliquary of St Luke of Toulouse, c. 1337-1338
The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434
Ashes, 1894
Autumn, 1864
Banquet Scene: Man Reclining on a Bench and Youth Playing the Aulos, c. 460 BCE
The Baptism of Christ, c. 520
The Bather, 1885
Baths and Dressing No. 10, 18 th century
The Beethoven Frieze (left panel), 1901-1902
The Beloved (The Bride), 1865-1866
The Birth of Venus, c. 1484
The Bolt, 1777
A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle, 1570-1572
The Cardsharps, c. 1595
The Chess Players, c. 1562
Christ Supported by Two Angels, vers 1490
Confetti, 1894
The “Cosmic Buddha” Vairocana, Tibet, 14 th century
The Creation of Adam (Sixth Ceiling Panel), 1508-1512
A Crowd of Hands, c. 9000-7000 BCE
Day, 1899
The Dead Bird, 1800
The Death of Socrates, 1787
Deposition from the Cross, c. 1600-1604
Discobolus the Discus Thrower, c. 450 BCE
E / F
Erasmus, c. 1523
Fighting for a Woman, 1905
The First Mourning, 1888
The Five Painters: Bonnard, Vuillard, Roussel, Cottet, and Vallotton, 1902-1903
Greek Painting Depicting a Couple, 480 BCE
Group of Four Naked and Seated Women, between 1895 and 1910
The Hand, c. 1885
The Hands of St John in “The Last Supper”, c. 1495
Hearst’s International, Cover for January 1922, 1921
Homoerotic drawing, before 1924
I / J
In the Conservatory, 1878-1879
Infant Buddha, China, Ming Dynasty, 17 th century
Jesus Among the Doctors, 1506
Jupiter and Callisto, 1613
K / L
The Kiss, 1859
La Fornarina, c. 1520
Laocoön and His Sons, c. 150 BCE
Large Clenched Left Hand, c. 1885
Large Hand of a Pianist, 1885
Leo VI Prostrate Before Christ in Majesty, 9 th -10 th century
The Lord Answering Job out of the Whirlwind, 1805-1810
Madonna of Loreto, 1509-1510
Man with a Glove, c. 1520
Mona Lisa (La Gioconda), c. 1503-1506
The Morning Bath, 1879-1883
N / O
Necklace, forepart, after 1838
Ostra edition, No. B301, c. 1935
Nude (Self-Portrait), 1910
Olympia, 1863
Ophelia, 1851-1852
The Order of Release 1746, 1852-1853
Pan Teaching Daphnis to Play the Flute, 1 st century BCE
Parau na te Varua ino (Words of the Devil), 1892
Pendant Representing a (Male) Hand Clutching a Phallus
Penitent Magdalene, 1533
A Philosopher Reading, c. 1764
Plague, 1794
The Pointing Hand of the Angel in “The Virgin of the Rocks”, c. 1517-1520
Portrait of Arthur Roessler, 1910
Primavera, c. 1482
Praying Hands (detail from Heller Altar), 1508
Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, 1787-1793
The Raising of Lazarus, c. 1630-1632
Reclining Woman with Green Stockings, 1917
The Red Limb’d Angel, 1794
Rienzi Vowing to Obtain Justice for the Death of His Young Brother, Slain in a Skirmish Between the Colonna and the Orsini, 1849
Rubens and Isabella Brant in the Honeysuckle Bower, c. 1609
Sacrifice of Isaac (detail), 1635
Salon des Cent, 1894
The Scream, 1893
The Seated Nude
Seated Nude with Necklace, 1917
Self-Portrait, 1915
Self-Portrait of Hokusai at Eighty-Three, 1842
Self-Portrait with Cigarette, 1895
St John the Baptist (detail), c. 1513-1516.
Study for “The Turkish Bath”, c. 1862
Study for the “War Scene in the Middle Ages”, c. 1865
A Study of a Woman’s Hands, c. 1490
Study of Three Hands, 1493-1494
The Temptation of Christ, c. 1516-1525
The Thorny Path, 1873
The Three Graces, c. 1504
Three Hands, Two with Knives, 1884-1885
The Tooth Puller, 1608-1610

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