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

Reviews in caa.reviews 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

Victor M. Schmidt, ed.
Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, 2002. 528 pp.; 24 color ills.; 369 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300094612)
In 1939, and in response to the massive Mostra Giottesca of 1938, Roberto Longhi wrote a sour, intentionally provocative piece that he curtly called his Guidizio sul Duecento, or judgment regarding the thirteenth century. In the essay, Longhi fretted that writers on medieval art had become so absorbed in establishing the authorship and origins of images that they had largely forgotten to act as responsible critics. They had thus also begun to forget that the majority of... Full Review
May 29, 2003
Thumbnail
Carmen C. Bambach, ed.
Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, 2003. 800 pp.; 333 color ills.; 182 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300098782)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, January 22–March 30, 2003
Of all artists, Leonardo da Vinci is best understood through study of his drawings, as previous scholars such as Bernard Berenson, Kenneth Clark, Carlo Pedretti, Martin Kemp, and David Brown have amply demonstrated. Berenson went to the heart of the matter in The Drawings of the Florentine Painters (2 vols. [New York: E. P. Dutton, 1903]) when he wrote: The quality of qualities, then, in Leonardo’s drawing is the feeling it gives of unimpeded, untroubled, unaltered... Full Review
May 23, 2003
Thumbnail
Joanne Pillsbury, ed.
Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, 2001. 344 pp.; 13 color ills.; 310 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300090439)
This handsome and imposing volume, Moche Art and Archaeology in Ancient Peru, seems destined to become a mainstay of every art historian and archaeologist’s library. From its arresting cover detail of a beetle-browed portrait head vessel—refreshingly not overrestored—to its international array of authors and brilliant images of the exciting discoveries from the past decade, this book presents new material for scholars in both fields to ponder. Color photographs, each... Full Review
May 14, 2003
Thumbnail
Duncan Bull, ed.
Waanders, 2002. 192 pp.; 68 color ills.; 159 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (9040086761)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, March 9–May 20, 2002; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, June 15–August 25, 2002; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, September 20–December 1, 2002
History has not been kind to the Brussels-born genre painter and portraitist Michael Sweerts. Despite having enjoyed patrician patronage in Rome and founding one of the earliest academies of art in his native city, Sweerts was disregarded by contemporary chroniclers of painting, and upon his death his name and achievements were quickly forgotten. When at the start of the last century the artist began to interest scholars and modern collectors, he was wrongly taken for Dutch. Later historians... Full Review
May 13, 2003
Thumbnail
Adrian W.B. Randolph
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. 352 pp.; 20 color ills.; 75 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0300092121)
Adrian Randolph’s Engaging Symbols: Gender, Politics, and Public Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence possesses a most provocative and, indeed, engaging jacket: an image of the rear view of Donatello’s bronze David. The photograph is cropped, tantalizingly, so that the beholder (the expression Randolph himself uses consistently throughout his book, in place of viewer) is prevented from feasting his or her eyes on what are perhaps the most sexually charged pair of male buttocks ever... Full Review
May 13, 2003
Thumbnail
Andrew Ladis and Shelley E. Zuraw, eds.
Exh. cat. Athens: Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, 2000. 254 pp.; many b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (0915977400)
The catalyst for this volume was the exhibition Private Prayers: Medieval and Renaissance Objects for Personal Devotion, held from September 23 to November 19, 1995, at the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia. Its editors, who also contributed to the volume, have brought together thirteen methodologically diverse essays that examine the relationship between images and lay and clerical devotion in Italy from the... Full Review
May 8, 2003
Thumbnail
Meyer Schapiro
George Braziller 253 pp.; 38 b/w ills. Paper (0807613576)
Meyer Schapiro
George Braziller 199 pp.; 85 b/w ills. Cloth $30.00 (0807614165)
Larry Silver
College Art Association
bq. O, what a world of profit and delight, Of power, of honour, of omnipotence Is promised to the studious artisan! bq. Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus (I: 1, 54–57) Almost a century has passed since Meyer Schapiro (1904–1996) was born; more than half a decade since his death. Yet even after a scholarly career that spanned most of the twentieth century, there is a sense of the unfinished about his legacy. For one thing, his publications are still emerging, including... Full Review
May 5, 2003
Thumbnail
Thumbnail
Thumbnail
Erik Inglis
College Art Association
By the end of his career, Meyer Schapiro’s work had earned him virtually unanimous acclaim; art historians as different in their fields and approaches as T. J. Clark and John Pope-Hennessy placed him at the summit of the discipline.[1] Now, six years after his death, his stature is unchanged. Thomas Crow has recently upheld Schapiro’s sixty-year old article on the sculptures of Souillac as a role model for theoretically engaged art historians whose concern with images leaves them frustrated... Full Review
May 5, 2003
Thumbnail
Joli Jensen
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002. 231 pp. Paper $24.95 (0742517411)
This cogently written book presents a forceful argument against an arts advocacy that is based on instrumentalist perspectives, and makes the case for supporting art on the basis of its fundamental role as a vehicle for the expression of creativity. Joli Jensen, professor of communication at the University of Tulsa, is ultimately interested in erasing the strict dichotomy between “high art” and “popular” or “mass culture” in favor of a more complex aesthetic and social point of view that... Full Review
April 28, 2003
Thumbnail
Richard Read
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. 260 pp.; 31 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0271022965)
This biography of Adrian Stokes (1902–1972) introduces to American art historians a neglected but significant writer on Renaissance Italian painting, sculpture, and architecture. While the book does not neglect Stokes’s wide-ranging social, cultural, and sexual involvements (much of the latter in detail), it primarily concentrates on his development as an art historian, ending with his first two important studies, The Quatro Cento: A Different Conception of the Italian Renaissance... Full Review
April 24, 2003
Thumbnail