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David R. Marshall, ed.
Melbourne Art Journal 13. Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider, 2014. 264 pp.; 379 ills. Paper € 128.00 (9788891306661)
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February 26, 2015

Scholarly literature on the architectural monuments and urban infrastructure of early modern Rome abounds. What distinguishes this collection of essays is its focus on overlooked sites, e.g., the fish market rather than the Trevi Fountain, the ill-formed piazza in front of the Palazzo Zuccari rather than the Piazza del Popolo. The objective, as editor David R. Marshall puts it simply, is to study the sites and sights of Rome, its places (as distinct from its...

Karl Kusserow, ed.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. 424 pp.; 203 ills. Cloth $60.00 (9780231123587)

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February 26, 2015

This multi-author, multi-century account of the evolution of the portrait collection of the New York Chamber of Commerce arrives at an opportune moment. As lead author Karl Kusserow notes at the outset of his introduction, the financial scandals and crises that have defined much of the current century make this volume a timely consideration of how business elites articulate and consolidate identities public and private, and how they address “the predicament of portraying power in...

David Rijser
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012. 512 pp.; 40 color ills. Paper $47.50 (9789089643421)
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February 19, 2015

How “literate” was Raphael’s art? This question stands at the core of David Rijser’s Raphael’s Poetics, an ambitious study dedicated to the polymorphic relation—as the subtitle goes—between art and poetry in High Renaissance Rome. Divided into four chapters, each devoted to a major work by Raphael, and accompanied by a methodological interlude (surprisingly situated toward the end), the book is a partially revised version of a doctoral dissertation submitted to the Institute for Culture and...

Huey Copeland
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 280 pp.; 65 color ills.; 82 b/w ills. Cloth $49.00 (9780226115702)
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February 5, 2015

The focus of Huey Copeland’s Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness is specific: artworks produced during roughly a three-year period whose subject matter deals with “the peculiar institution.” Copeland sets his sights on four cases: Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museum (1992–93), Lorna Simpson’s Five Rooms (1991), Glenn Ligon’s To Disembark (1993), and Renée Green’s Sites of Genealogy (1990) and Mise-en-Scène (1991). No expense seems to have been spared: the book is...

Tom Nichols
London: Reaktion, 2013. 336 pp.; 100 color ills.; 70 b/w ills. Cloth $79.00 (9781780231860)
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January 29, 2015

The past decade or so has seen a steady march of publications—and particularly monographic studies—on Titian. Several exhibitions, beginning with the masterful show at the Prado (2004) and culminating most recently with the exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale (2013), have brought the artworks in dialogue with various themes (such as late style, artistic competition, replicas, etc.) and prompted the enormously helpful scientific evaluation of several pictures. These exhibitions included catalogues with the same titles:...

Frances S. Connelly
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 199 pp.; 62 b/w ills. Cloth $99.00 (9781107011250)
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January 29, 2015

The grotesque is not an easy concept to define. One of the strengths of Frances S. Connelly’s The Grotesque in Western Art and Culture: The Image at Play is that she accepts this and turns it into a key observation: “Grotesques are by their nature intermixed, unresolved, and impure . . . and to represent them as fixed entities misses their most salient feature” (19). In her interdisciplinary study, the grotesque is analyzed as a...

Jacques Rancière
Trans. Zakir Paul. London: Verso Books, 2013. 304 pp. Cloth $29.95 (9781781680896)
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January 29, 2015

The term for sensory knowledge appears twice in the title of Jacques Rancière’s book—once in transliterated ancient Greek (the “genitive, third declension” aesthesis, meaning “perception via the senses”) and once in the Latinate form innovated by Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in 1750 (when he published the first volume of his Aesthetica), which Rancière takes in its adjectival form, aesthetic. There is a clue in this doubling that helps decode this strange and rewarding text: we need...

Rachel Sailor
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014. 240 pp.; 106 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (9780826354228)
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January 22, 2015

That the histories of photography and of the American West are intertwined is a truism in histories and theories of photography, one most frequently evoked in studies on expeditionary and geological survey photographs by such notables as William Henry Jackson and Timothy O’Sullivan. Rachel McLean Sailor’s copiously illustrated history of western regional photography does much to ground that truism in the particulars of the medium’s technological evolution and in the region’s events. Meaningful Places: Landscape...

Ethan Matt Kavaler
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012. 344 pp.; 80 color ills.; 210 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (9780300167924)
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January 22, 2015

In the Lombeek altarpiece in Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Lombeek (Belgium), created by artists from Brussels in ca. 1525, ornamental fields vary with the biblical subject matter of the figural scenes and, indeed, sustain a secondary discourse. As Ethan Matt Kavaler writes in Renaissance Gothic: Architecture and the Arts in Northern Europe, 1470–1540, “Forced to assimilate the tabernacles [above the figures] to the realm of human actors, [a] viewer might think of the visible world as a...

Paul Taylor, ed.
London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2014. 144 pp.; 20 ills. Paper £ 20.00 (9781907372544)
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January 15, 2015

This book originated in a colloquium held at the Warburg Institute in London in June 2009, and the contributors have had ample time to finesse their papers. The editor is to be congratulated for his work in ensuring an improved and coherent collection of essays. He notes at the outset that the authors are “enthusiastic amateurs in the world of Gombrich studies, rather than scholars with the learning to assign him a fixed place in...