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

Zainab Bahrani
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 256 pp.; 28 ills. Cloth $59.95 (0812236483)
Ancient Near Eastern art is considered the poor stepchild of all ancient art, banished to the basement of the canon yet somehow supporting the whole structure of art that followed it. In her latest book, Zainab Bahrani attempts to bring the study of ancient Near Eastern art out of the proverbial cellar and into the forefront of academic attention. Considering the conservative nature of past scholarship in the field, it is somewhat unusual that the author chooses to view the most... Full Review
April 21, 2004
Erika Doss, ed.
Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2001. 272 pp.; 84 b/w ills. Cloth $29.95 (1560989890)
The appearance of Life magazine’s first issue in November 1936 set off an explosion in American visual culture. With unanticipated eagerness viewers snapped up copies of this new, sight-centered magazine that promised to show them the world, photograph by photograph. Audiences delighted in the new prospects the magazine opened to them, as its images granted voyeuristic access to a spectrum of modern life, from the mundane to the marvelous. Once established, the magazine... Full Review
April 21, 2004
Anne Rudloff Stanton
Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2001. 287 pp.; 6 color ills.; 101 b/w ills. Paper $25.00 (0871699168)
Anne Stanton’s book provides a detailed and insightful examination of the Queen Mary Psalter (London, BLMS Royal 2 B.vii), a luxury devotional text that is densely illustrated with Old and New Testament subjects and marginal illuminations. The author focuses on the manuscript as a material artifact, its relationship to devotional manuscripts in England and France, and the connection between its contents and its proposed royal audience. On one level, Stanton’s study, which is based on... Full Review
April 20, 2004
Michael W. Cole
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 262 pp.; 8 color ills.; 66 b/w ills. Cloth $111.00 (0521813212)
The intriguing and misunderstood Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571) is receiving a much-needed reappraisal in current scholarship. Michael W. Cole’s anticipated Cellini and the Principles of Sculpture is a valuable addition to this effort and indeed to Renaissance studies as a whole. Cole focuses on Cellini as an artist rather than a personality and provides a revealing study of how a sixteenth-century sculptor functioned in his larger cultural milieu in order to “understand the sculptural... Full Review
April 16, 2004
Caroline P. Murphy
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. 244 pp.; 60 color ills.; 170 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300099134)
The Bolognese painter Lavinia Fontana (1552–1614) has been enjoying a renaissance during the past fifteen to twenty years as scholars have attempted to recover the production of European women artists. Famous in her own day for her portraits, altarpieces, and history paintings, Fontana was capable of drawing greater fees than the Carracci, and for a period she was on a par with Anthony Van Dyck and Justus Sustermans. Of all woman artists, she has the largest body of surviving work... Full Review
April 15, 2004
Nancy Y. Wu, ed.
Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2002. 290 pp.; 159 b/w ills. Cloth $120.00 (0754619605)
Ad Quadratum: The Practical Application of Geometry in Medieval Architecture is the first publication in the Association Villard de Honnecourt (AVISTA) series, Studies in the History of Medieval Technology, Science, and Art. The goal of this series is to provide a publication venue for interdisciplinary studies in the fields of medieval art, architecture, science, and technology. The eleven essays included in the inaugural volume, edited by Nancy Y. Wu, address the geometry and... Full Review
April 8, 2004
Pamela M. Jones and Thomas Worcester, eds.
Boston: Brill, 2002. 278 pp.; 50 ills. Cloth $148.00 (9004124691)
The study of post-Tridentine art in Italy has, over the past two decades, enjoyed a kind of renascence, with the publication of a number of books, exhibition catalogues, and articles on—inter alia—the most important papal projects of the period, the leading historical figures of the Catholic Reform and their art patronage, Oratorian and Jesuit art of the period, the emergence of early Christian archaeology and its impact on visual culture, and Counter-Reformation art theory.... Full Review
April 8, 2004
Judith M. Barringer
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002. 312 pp.; 117 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0801866561)
When art-history students read about Greek vase-painting, it is often a struggle for them to learn the unusual names of vase shapes, of the artists who made them, and of the mythological figures and stories represented on the vessels. Indeed, many surveys of Greek art concentrate on issues of chronology, style, and typology, a necessity for a body of material that has little in the way of external documentation. What is often lost in this process is an appreciation for the cultural... Full Review
Catherine M. Keesling
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. 290 pp.; 64 b/w ills. Cloth $80.00 (0521815231)
Few statues are more familiar to students of Greek art than the korai from the Athenian Acropolis. From this important study of the korai and other Acropolis votive statues of the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., we learn that we do not know them as well as we thought. Catherine M. Keesling takes a rigorously contextual approach to the Acropolis dedications, considering not only the statues themselves but also their inscribed bases and evidence for bronze dedications on the Acropolis,... Full Review
April 6, 2004
James S. Crouch
New Delhi: Manohar Publishers and Distributors in association with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 2002. 444 pp.; 1 b/w ills. Cloth $68.95 (8173044287)
Richard Ettinghausen once wrote of the Indian art historian Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877–1947): “[t]here are few scholars … whose publications cover a wider range …[:] philosophy, metaphysics, religion, iconography, Indian literature and arts, Islamic art, medieval art, music, geology, and, especially, the place of art in society” (Ars Islamica 9 (1942): 125). With the help of Coomaraswamy himself, Helen Ladd compiled a partial bibliography of his work in that same issue. Roger Lipsey... Full Review
March 24, 2004