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

In this short essay, Michael Rabe responds to Padma Kaimal’s review of his book, The Great Penance at Mamallapuram: Deciphering a Visual Text (Chennai, Institute of Asian Studies, 2001), published in January 14, 2003. Rabe’s text first appeared in the spring/summer 2003 issue of the American Council for Southern Asian Art... Full Review
August 7, 2003
Samuel Y. Edgerton
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001. 350 pp.; 83 color ills.; 91 b/w ills.; 20 ills. Cloth $60.00 (0826322565)
Samuel Edgerton has collaborated with photographer Jorge Pérez de Lara to produce a compelling book on the large mission complexes (conventos) in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century colonial Mexico. A chance trip to Mexico in 1987 introduced Renaissance scholar Edgerton to Mexico’s rich artistic and architectural heritage, and he quickly immersed himself in its study. Bringing his extensive knowledge of medieval and Renaissance European history, philosophy, theology, art, and architecture to... Full Review
August 5, 2003
Peter Fergusson and Stuart Harrison
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. 296 pp.; 35 color ills.; 189 b/w ills. Cloth $90.00 (0300078315)
Megan Cassidy-Welch
Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2000. 312 pp.; 51 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (2503510892)
Terryl N. Kinder
Grand Rapids, Mich. and Kalamazoo, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and Cistercian Publications, 2001. 407 pp.; 200 ills. Cloth $70.00 (0802838871)
These three publications are among the latest of a surfeit of Cistercian titles published in recent years: Terryl Kinder surveys Cistercian life and architecture throughout Europe with emphasis on the medieval period, Peter Fergusson and Stuart Harrison chronicle one of the earliest Cistercian houses in England from its founding through the twentieth century, while Megan Cassidy-Welch speculates on the use of monastic spaces in thirteenth-century Yorkshire. Though each work has its own focus,... Full Review
August 4, 2003
Frances Pohl
New York: Thames and Hudson, 2002. 560 pp.; 337 color ills.; 328 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0500237921)
Textbooks are lightning rods for criticism. The purpose of a textbook is to distill the latest scholarship in a wide array of fields for a nonspecialist, usually undergraduate audience. But because it must sacrifice depth for breadth, the textbook is easily criticized by area specialists. Therefore, in an effort to appease as many scholars as possible, it ends up presenting a bricolage of perspectives and thus loses any sense of a single authorial intent. Moreover, no matter how hard... Full Review
July 29, 2003
Brenda G. Jordan and Victoria Weston, eds.
Honolulu: University Of Hawai'i Press, 2003. 288 pp.; 14 color ills.; 57 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (0824826086)
Probably everyone acquainted with Japanese art knows the two most famous anecdotes about the creation of painting. In the first, a master vexed by his student’s inability to depict a bamboo enjoins him to “become a bamboo.” No doubt apocryphal, there is nevertheless more than a grain in truth here, and this story constitutes one of the dominant myths of art production all across East Asia. This strain of thought is associated with the nanga (literati) movement, which held that there... Full Review
July 28, 2003
Susan R. Braden
Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. 440 pp.; 27 color ills.; 133 b/w ills. Cloth $34.95 (0813025567)
In early February of 1891, shortly before the grand opening of his lavish Tampa Bay Hotel, Henry Plant received an affable, jokingly naïve telegram from Henry Flagler, the well-known railroad magnate who already owned three successful resort hotels in St. Augustine. “Friend Plant,” the wire read, “where is this place I’ve heard about called Tampa?” In turn, Plant sent a brief but confident reply: “Friend Flagler, just follow the crowds.” In the late nineteenth century and... Full Review
July 24, 2003
Diane Wolfthal
New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 286 pp.; 118 b/w ills. Cloth $29.95 (052158311X)
Diane Wolfthal’s Images of Rape: The “Heroic” Tradition and Its Alternatives is a difficult and necessary book to read; indeed, this should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the visual cultures of Western traditions. The author examines a vast body of work through a feminist lens to explore the realities of rape for women—as well as for men—in late medieval and early modern Europe. Informed by her own feminist convictions and a comprehensive knowledge... Full Review
July 21, 2003
Jeffrey F. Hamburger
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. 347 pp.; 26 color ills.; 156 b/w ills. Cloth $60.00 (0520228774)
In St. John the Divine: The Deified Evangelist in Medieval Art and Theology, Jeffrey Hamburger investigates the complex relationships forged in the later Middle Ages among art, mysticism, and visionary experience. In so doing, he continues the stimulating work he began in earlier, groundbreaking studies such as The Rothschild Canticles: Art and Mysticism in Flanders and the Rhineland ca. 1300 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990) and <a... Full Review
June 25, 2003
Annette Dixon
New York: Merrell Publishers, 2002. 192 pp.; 110 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (1858941660)
University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, February 17–May 5, 2002; Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, September 19–December 8, 2002
Women Who Ruled: Queens, Goddesses, Amazons in Renaissance and Baroque Art contributes to the growing body of interdisciplinary research on women’s power in early modern Europe (or gender and power, more broadly), in practice and in imagery. Written to accompany an exhibition organized by the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the book features an introduction and four topical essays by a cadre of scholars who represent different disciplinary approaches. Groups of images,... Full Review
June 24, 2003
Cecelia F. Klein, ed.
Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2001. 397 pp.; 118 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (088402279X)
Feminist art history is now a well-established subfield of Western art history, but until quite recently those studying gender in pre-Columbian art had to rely on a slim bibliography. Today, several contributions focusing on the pre-Columbian and early colonial world have appeared, including one on women throughout the ancient Americas (Karen Bruhns and Karen Stothert, Women in Ancient America [Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999]), another on gender in Mesoamerica... Full Review
June 20, 2003