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

Rosamond E. Mack
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 266 pp.; 101 color ills.; 85 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0520221311)
With this important book, Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300–1600, Rosamond Mack has joined a growing number of scholars who have challenged the well-known model of the Renaissance as an exclusive and singular moment of genius and invention centered in Italy. According to this familiar standard, the Renaissance signaled both the definitive emergence of European civilization and the irreparable rupture between East and West. Scholars such as Jerry Brotton,... Full Review
October 23, 2003
Sibel Bozdoğan
Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001. 380 pp.; 240 ills. Cloth $30.00 (0295981520)
See Kishwar Rizvi’s review of this book Rereading Eurocentric or North American definitions of modernity has become a frequent pursuit for scholars during the last two decades. Instead of the virtual projection of one continuous modernism, discussions of the period’s heterogeneous character have emerged, and beyond that, cross-cultural debates have become important in understanding the spread and development of modernism... Full Review
October 22, 2003
Roberta J. M. Olson
New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. 376 pp.; 12 color ills.; 297 b/w ills. Cloth (019817425X)
Tondi (autonomous paintings or sculpture in a circular format) became a popular art form in Florence between the mid-fifteenth century and approximately 1520. A large majority of tondi—which feature the Madonna and Child, often in the company of saints or angels and occasionally in narrative scenes—were generally created for private devotion in the home during the Renaissance. Examples of famous tondi include Domenico Veneziano’s Adoration of the Magi (Berlin,... Full Review
October 22, 2003
Herbert Schutz
Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2000. 464 pp.; 32 color ills.; 166 b/w ills. Cloth $179.00 (9004122982)
There are some areas of our discipline that can be studied effectively with little reference to archaeology. Early medieval art history is not one of them. Those venturing into this field, particularly into central Europe before the formation of the Carolingian empire in the late eighth century, will probably find themselves studying as many excavation site reports as medieval texts. Therefore, the publication of this volume, promising to bring together written and material evidence in a... Full Review
October 17, 2003
Brigitte Corley
Turnhout: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1999. 300 pp.; 30 color ills.; 250 b/w ills. Cloth $105.00 (1872501516)
In the opening three chapters of her study of late medieval painting in Cologne, Brigitte Corley sets the stage with impressive scenery and a promising cast of characters. Sancta Colonia was a beautiful city of relics, pilgrimage, trade, learning, and spectacular imperial visits, in which various groups—archbishops, patricians, and city councilors—competed for power and prestige. Shifts in power resulted in fluctuating “patterns of patronage” that left behind a rich material culture... Full Review
October 15, 2003
David Summers
New York: Phaidon, 2003. 687 pp.; 350 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0714842443)
Aware that art history still remains all too traditional in its orientation, much too focused upon European art, many art historians would like to have a true world history of art. As a student at Yale University, David Summers was inspired by George Kubler’s classes on pre-Columbian art. Now, after publishing justly renowned books devoted to Michelangelo and Renaissance naturalism, he has written a postformalist history of world art. This enormously long, clearly written book is... Full Review
October 14, 2003
Andrew Hemingway
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. 368 pp.; 40 color ills.; 150 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300092202)
In his Artists on the Left: American Artists and the Communist Movement, 1926–1956, Andrew Hemingway provides a materialist history of the left movement in the visual arts in the United States, beginning with the founding of the magazine New Masses in 1926. The year 1956 is a more symbolic terminus: the date the American Communist Party (CPUSA) “imploded,” to use the author’s oblique characterization. (Specifically, this was the year Nikita Khrushchev denounced Joseph... Full Review
October 14, 2003
Deborah Parker
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 233 pp.; 29 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0521781663)
The quincentenary of Agnolo Bronzino’s birth was celebrated this year at the Renaissance Society of America annual meeting in Toronto. The sessions there, organized by Janet Cox-Rearick, sought to plumb an artistic intellect that produced some of the most challenging art of the early modern period. Bronzino, noted for aloofness, impenetrability, and extreme refinement in his art, emerged in presentations on his eroticism and varietà as a prolific exponent of bawdy, burlesque poetry... Full Review
October 14, 2003
Caterina Limentani Virdis and Mari Pietrogiovanna
New York: Vendome Press, 2002. 424 pp.; 397 color ills. Cloth $150.00 (0865652244)
Great Altarpieces: Gothic and Renaissance is one of the latest additions to the new wave of scholarship on the altarpiece as a genre. The last two decades of the twentieth century were marked by an increasing pace of publications on altarpieces—which had not been studied as such since the late nineteenth century, when Jacob Burckhardt wrote an article called “Das Altarbild.” Recently a number of monographs on altarpieces of various regions have appeared, including: Henk van Os,... Full Review
October 8, 2003
Linda Baumgarten
Williamsburg, VA: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in association with Yale University Press, 2002. 256 pp.; 355 color ills.; 36 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300095805)
DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, VA, October 26, 2002–October 26, 2003
The mundane word “clothes” in the title of Linda Baumgarten’s new book underscores one of her principal aims: to reconstruct lives from garments that only become “costume” when they enter museums. The longtime curator of textiles and costumes at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Baumgarten mines the institution’s extensive and varied collection of clothing, acquired over the last seven decades, initially to “accessorize the buildings” in the “Williamsburg Restoration” (as the historic... Full Review
October 6, 2003