« Art, échecs et mat » (art, chess  and checkmate) is a magnificent book, for the moment only available in French, and published by the famous art publisher, Actes-Sud- Imprimerie Nationale in France. 

The author, Yves Marek, a French diplomat and a good amateur chess player was during ten years the  manager on the Museum of Luxembourg in Paris, organizing huge and dazzling exhibitions of masters of Italian Renaissance (Raphael, Botticelli, Titian, Veronese…) and of modern art gathering millions of visitors. He decided to gather most interesting works of art inspired by chess.

The book is built around ten chapters about the different themes chosen by the artists from middle ages to the tycoons of contemporary art: Orient, game for Kings, Renaissance, Leisure, Erotism, deepness of reflection, death, geometry, the Duchamp’s moment,  the art as a chess game.

With  more than 160 reproductions of dazzling works, often unknown , and available thanks to the knowledge of the author of the world of art, this book is very rich and and a must-to have one, even if you don’t read French, at least to discover the works gathered by the author from Van Loo, to Damian Hirst, from Kirchner, to Kusama, from Daumier to Milshtein…

The book not only describes different representations of chess but , through chess, develop a sort of short story of the evolution of art.

It’s very interesting to see how the way of painting chess by painters  who mostly were not chess players,  is closely linked with the state of the society and of the current conceptions about art, and how  chessboards fascinate artists as well as chess players.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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