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

Herbert L. Kessler
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. 265 pp. Cloth (0812235606)
Many an undergraduate lecture hall still furnishes a home for the Icoelacanth of medieval studies—hat is, for the historian who shows slides of medieval images as mere illustrations of daily life, or as nothing more than a graphic adjunct to the words of medieval sources. In an episode of habitat encroachment that none need lament, this collection of Herbert Kessler's recent essays makes life more difficult for the living fossil. Again and again the author shows how early medieval... Full Review
September 14, 2001
Jan Baetens, ed.
Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2001. 212 pp.; few b/w ills. Paper $20.81 (9058671097)
The graphic novel, a story presented as a fully illustrated narrative, is a high-art version of the comic strip. Like the true novel, the graphic novel treats serious subjects, but using images together with words combined with pictures. The proceedings of a conference on the graphic novel held at the University of Leuven, May 2000, The Graphic Novel contains studies of such well-known graphic novels as Art Spiegelman's Maus, Jacques Tardi's visual narratives, and some... Full Review
September 7, 2001
Elizabeth J. Milleker, ed.
New Haven and New York: Yale University Press in association with Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. 232 pp.; 150 color ills. Cloth $50.00 (9780300085143)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 3, 2000-January 14, 2001.
The idea of viewing systematically world art from a single moment in time offers an extraordinary opportunity to consider the prospect of a world art history that parallels an emerging subdiscipline of history that has come to be called world history. It looks at systems in an interlocked world, for example trade in sugar or slaves. Recognizing that even in ancient times people moved over vast distances and carried with them ideas that influenced the production of art, the discipline of art... Full Review
September 5, 2001
Elizabeth Valdez Del Alamo and Carol Stamatis Pendergast, eds.
Aldershot, UK and Brookfield, VT: Ashgate, 2000. 317 pp.; 93 b/w ills. Cloth $59.95 (0754600769)
Memory and the Medieval Tomb gathers together eleven essays that explore the commemorative function of the tomb, from the early Christian catacombs to the fifteenth century, in England, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and France. It is a valuable collection that offers a wide range of themes and approaches. Some papers are about the way in which the design and location of tombs were carefully contrived to keep alive the memory of the deceased, so that his or her soul might enjoy the benefits of... Full Review
September 5, 2001
Robin Jaffee Frank
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. 362 pp.; 100 color ills.; 50 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (0300087241)
Yale University Art Gallery, October 3-December 30, 2000; Gibbes Museum of Art, February 10-April 8, 2001; and Addison Gallery of American Art, April 27-July 31, 2001.
Significant collections of American miniatures are owned by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Yale University Art Museum in New Haven, CT, and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC. While some of these institutions have produced catalogues, relatively few publications exist that discuss the portrait and mourning miniatures in their own and others'... Full Review
August 31, 2001
Laurie Schneider Adams
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001. 210 pp.; 29 color ills.; 83 b/w ills. Paper $26.00 (0813334268)
Laurie Schneider Adams
Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2001. 420 pp. Cloth $75.00 (0813336902)
The publication of these two intellectually engaging and visually appealing textbooks by Laurie Schneider Adams provides a good opportunity to reconsider the main options available for surveys of Italian Renaissance art. Art historians, like most academics, tend to argue the relative merits of different textbooks with great gravity, finding fault for reasons of coverage, method, or quality of reproductions. In this age of interactive web syllabi, these problems are relatively surmountable; we... Full Review
August 30, 2001
C.R. Dodwell
Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 171 pp. Cloth $69.95 (0521661889)
The publication of Anglo-Saxon Gestures and the Roman Stage posthumously honors C. R. Dodwell's lifelong work on early medieval art. Timothy Graham, formerly Dodwell's research assistant, considerately saw the book through to press. In this volume, Dodwell considers the origins of the illustrations in Carolingian Terence manuscripts and their possible relationship to illuminations produced at Canterbury or under Canterbury's influence in the eleventh century. Although its deductions... Full Review
August 29, 2001
Frank Büttner
Weisbaden, Germany: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1980. 374 pp.; 228 b/w ills. Cloth $318.00 (3515032584)
The Nazarenes engaged the most vital philosophical, theological, and poetic issues of their time with an intensity scarcely rivaled in the history of nineteenth-century art. Thus, given the interest of contemporary art historians in theory and interdisciplinary studies, one could confidently assume that research on Nazarenism would represent a burgeoning field. And yet, the contrary is the case. The puzzling lack of scholarly engagement with Nazarenism has partially resulted from the... Full Review
August 28, 2001
Katherine M. D. Dunbabin
Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 357 pp.; 40 color ills.; 318 b/w ills. Cloth $140.00 (052146143X)
For too long, ancient mosaics have been the stepchild of histories of ancient art, although they exist in countless numbers from all over the Empire, contribute substantially to the décor of the buildings, both public and private, in which they occur, and constitute an extraordinary repertory of ornamental and figurative motifs. For several decades, however, under the leadership of Henri Stern and his many colleagues and successors in Europe and America, there has appeared an extensive, if... Full Review
August 21, 2001
Hayden B. J. Maginnis and Gabriele Erasmi
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001. 464 pp.; 16 color ills.; 108 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0271020040)
For three decades, Hayden Maginnis has helped shape the way historians of medieval painting consider the art of Italy. Noted for his illuminating essays, Maginnis has recently set out to produce a three-volume study of thirteenth- and fourteenth- century Sienese painting that will surely set the standard for new approaches to art history for generations to come. The first book in this series, the highly acclaimed Painting in the Age of Giotto: A Historical Reevaluation, appeared four... Full Review
August 15, 2001