Concise, critical reviews of books, exhibitions, and projects in all areas and periods of art history and visual studies

Reviews in are published continuously by CAA and Taylor & Francis, with the most recently published reviews listed below. Browse reviews based on geographic region, period or cultural sphere, or specialty (from 1998 to the present) using Review Categories in the sidebar, or by entering terms in the search bar above.

Recently Published Reviews

Richard H. Rouse and Mary A. Rouse
Turnhout, Belgium: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1999. 832 pp.; 190 ills. Cloth €217.00 (1872501419)
The present study, the fruit of decades of painstaking and dedicated research by a distinguished team of husband-and-wife scholars, focuses on the commercial fabrication of manuscripts in Paris from the early thirteenth century to the rise of printing at the end of the fifteenth century. A 322-page analytical text in twelve chapters, 29 figures, 8 maps, and 80 pages of endnotes fill the first volume. Volume 2 contains a biographical register of some 1,200 men and women active in the... Full Review
May 21, 2004
Sarah E. Fraser
Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004. 400 pp.; 156 ills. Cloth $70.00 (0804745331)
In the introduction to Performing the Visual: The Practice of Buddhist Wall Painting in China and Central Asia, 618–960, Sarah Fraser describes her project as an inquiry into the medieval artist’s practice through close analysis of several of the sixty-five ink sketches from the ninth and tenth centuries that were preserved in the sealed Cave 17 of the Mogao Grottoes at Dunhuang and are now mostly in the British Museum in London and the Bibliothèque nationale de France in... Full Review
May 19, 2004
Donald Preziosi and Claire Farago, eds.
Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2004. 804 pp.; 68 b/w ills. Paper $70.00 (0754608352)
Grasping the World: The Idea of the Museum effectively presents the dominant present-day academic ways of understanding museums and contains a range of material not duplicated in any other volume. And considering its length, the book is reasonable in price. The editors’ introductions are lucid, and the essays, which consider a range of topics, are strong. I will begin this review by briefly summarizing the subjects of the essays in the various parts of the book and then offer... Full Review
May 11, 2004
Bram Dijkstra
Exh. cat. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2003. 288 pp.; 186 color ills.; 72 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0810942313)
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, May 16–August 24, 2003; Kennedy Galleries, New York, September 20–November 1, 2003; Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., January 30–May 9, 2004
Bram Dijkstra’s book American Expressionism: Art and Social Change 1920–1950 convincingly constructs a new category of expressionism that he sets apart from early-twentieth-century German Expressionism and mid-twentieth-century Abstract Expressionism. “American Expressionism” combines modernism and realism to address compassionately a range of social issues. Dijkstra examines this art, created largely in the United States during the Great Depression, as a “venture into socialist... Full Review
May 7, 2004
Sara Magister
Classe di scienze morali, storiche e filologiche. Rome: Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 2002. 247 pp.; 61 b/w ills. $15.00 (8821808718)
The Belvedere statue court is still widely regarded as one of the “first” antiquities collections in Renaissance Rome, but Sara Magister, in articles published in Xenia Antiqua (1999 and 2001), has identified more than 160 families in Rome who collected ancient works of art before Giuliano della Rovere, as Pope Julius II, broke ground on the Belvedere in 1504. Even if some these “collections” consisted of only a few inscriptions, Magister has shown us the extraordinary extent of the... Full Review
Clifford S. Ackley, Ronni Baer, and Thomas E. Rassieur
Exh. cat. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2003. 344 pp.; 80 color ills.; 160 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0878466770)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 26, 2003–January 18, 2004; Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, February 14–May 9, 2004
See "Susan Dackerman's review": of this catalogue. In this beautifully produced catalogue, the primary theme of gesture and expressiveness in Rembrandt’s storytelling is set forth in the introduction by Clifford Ackley. A secondary theme is the reception of the artist’s work, examined by Ronni Baer with respect to the historical appreciation of the oil sketches and Thomas Rassieur regarding the making of prints. This catalogue accompanies... Full Review
April 30, 2004
Sarah Scott and Jane Webster, eds.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 272 pp.; 67 b/w ills. Cloth $99.00 (0521805929)
Far too often works of art produced in the Roman provinces have been studied solely in relation to their supposed metropolitan models, with the notion that provincial art was imitation. This approach has led to a devaluation of the works: since they are regarded as derivative, they have not been examined as products of a specific place and time. Consequently, provincial art’s real role as innovative examples of the negotiation of competing concerns by provincial artists has been... Full Review
April 29, 2004
Mark A. Meadow
Zwolle, Netherlands: Waanders, 2004. 176 pp. Cloth $60.00 (904009473X)
Mark Meadow begins his book on Pieter Bruegel the Elder and the practice of rhetoric with a rhetorical exercise of his own: an exordium, a commencement on the artist’s identity, on the contours of rhetorical education in sixteenth-century Netherlandish culture, and on his own art-historical method. Like the sixteenth-century humanist Domenicus Lampsonius, Meadows asks, Who is this new Hieronymus Bosch called Pieter Bruegel? Although much of the painter’s biography escapes us, Meadow... Full Review
April 26, 2004
Jenifer Neils and John H. Oakley, eds.
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2003. 352 pp.; 170 color ills.; 251 b/w ills. Paper $45.00 (0300099606)
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., August 23–December 14, 2003; Onassis Cultural Center, New York, January 19–April 15, 2004; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 1–August 1, 2004; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, September 14–December 5, 2004
The status and experience of children in ancient Greek society receive fresh attention and thoughtful consideration in Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past. Both the catalogue and the exhibition that it accompanies probe the social realities of childhood in ancient Greece by examining portrayals of children in Greek art and other articles made for children’s use. As the contributing authors stress throughout the volume, works of art... Full Review
April 26, 2004
Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt, ed.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 256 pp.; 61 b/w ills. Cloth $99.99 (0521660467)
Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt, ed.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 236 pp.; 35 b/w ills. Cloth $91.00 (0521800579)
These volumes result from the intersection of two series at Cambridge University Press: the Cambridge Companions collection, now numbering over two hundred titles on subjects from Aristotle to William Wordsworth, but including relatively few artists outside the Italian Renaissance, and a more informal series of important books on Hispanic art and culture, including those produced out of the publisher’s New York office under the leadership of Beatrice Rehl. Both volumes under... Full Review
April 23, 2004