ON-Lion Letter

Throughout western history, the societies that have made the greatest contributions to the spread of freedom have created iconic works of art to celebrate their achievements.  Yet despite the enduring appeal of works from the Parthenon to Michelangelo's David to Picasso's Guernica, histories of both art and democracy have ignored this phenomenon. 

Millions have admired the works of art covered in cultural historian Victoria CoatesDavid's Sling:  A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art, forthcoming from Encounter Books -- but relatively few know why they were commissioned, what was happening in the culture that produced them, and what they were meant to achieve.  Even scholars who have worked on these objects for decades often miss the big picture as these works have been traditionally studied in isolation.

In David's Sling, Coates integrates the pursuits of creative excellence and human freedom to bring a fresh, new perspective into both lines of inquiry.  The book places into context 10 canonical works of art executed to commemorate the successes of free societies that exerted political and economic influence far beyond what might have been expected of them.  

David's Sling fuses political and art history with a judiciously applied dose of creative reconstruction to craft a lively narrative around each key work of art and the free system that inspired it. 

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.


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