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This important addition to our understanding of art history’s masterworks puts some of the world’s most famous paintings under a magnifying glass to uncover their most small and subtle elements and all they reveal about a bygone time, place, and culture. Guiding our eye to the minutiae of subject and symbolism, authors Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen allow even the most familiar of pictures to come alive anew through their intricacies and intrigues. Is the bride pregnant? Why does the man wear a beret? How does the shadow of war hang over a scene of dancing? Along the way, we travel from Ancient Egypt through to modern Europe, from the Renaissance to the Roaring Twenties. We meet Greek heroes and poor German poets and roam from cathedrals to cabaret bars, from the Garden of Eden to a Garden Bench in rural France. As we pick apart each painting and then reassemble it like a giant jigsaw puzzle, these celebrated canvases captivate not only in their sheer wealth of details but also in the witness they bear to the fashions and trends, people and politics, loves and lifestyles of their time.