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

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Barbara Wisch and Diane Cole Ahl, eds.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 314 pp.; 65 b/w ills. Cloth $90.00 (0521662885)
This is the third major volume of collected essays on Italian confraternities to emerge in the space of two years (the others are John Patrick Donnelly S. J. and Michael W. Maher, S. J., eds., Confraternities and Catholic Reform in Italy, France, and Spain, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies 44 [Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 1999]; and Nicholas Terpstra, ed., The Politics of Ritual Kinship: Confraternities and Social Order in Early Modern... Full Review
April 15, 2003
Keith Christiansen and Judith W. Mann
Exh. cat. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. 496 pp.; 121 color ills.; 249 b/w ills. $60.00 (0300090773)
Exhibition schedule: Museo del Palazzo di Venezia, Rome, October 15, 2001–January 6, 2002; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 14–May 12, 2002; Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, June 15–September 15, 2002
This book offers what one would expect of a catalogue produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the exhibition Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy—a thorough study of the subject at hand, essays written by well-seasoned scholars, a complete bibliography, and good-quality color reproductions. As an added bonus, an appendix with pertinent documentation and a chronological chart for Orazio and Artemisia... Full Review
April 15, 2003
Katharine Lochnan
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. 280 pp.; 25 color ills.; 106 b/w ills. Cloth $70.00 (0300081847)
Nancy Marshall and Malcolm Warner
New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. 216 pp.; 93 color ills.; 30 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0300081731)
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, September 22–November 28,1999; Musée National de Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec City, December 15, 1999–March 12, 2000; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, March 25–July 2, 2000.
The record prices that works by James Tissot have fetched at auction, as well as the appeal of his subjects to a general public, might well have turned contemporary critical attention away from an artist who, after all, no longer needs to be rediscovered (consider especially the writings of Michael Wentworth). Tissot’s immediate facility would seem to render critical analysis superfluous, analysis certainly less nimble than the artist’s brush. But with a taste for paradox,... Full Review
April 4, 2003
Mary D. Garrard
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. 201 pp.; 8 color ills.; 57 b/w ills. Paper $24.95 (0520228413)
In her preface, Mary Garrard declares that she wants her book to serve as an exemplary methodological model. She seeks to provide a new mode of connoisseurship, one that includes not only a thorough analysis of the formal elements within a given work of art, but also a detailed discussion of the social, psychological, gender-specific, and iconographic elements particular to the artist studied. In this volume, her latest contribution to Artemisia Gentileschi scholarship, Garrard has... Full Review
April 2, 2003
Richard Ettinghausen, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Medina
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001. 352 pp.; 150 color ills.; 330 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0300088671)
As a student in the 1980s, studying for qualifying exams in Islamic art history, I was so desperate to read the first edition of this title in the Pelican History of Art series that I ordered a copy from England months before it was available in the United States. At that time, there were few comprehensive surveys of Islamic art and architecture, and even those reflected a conservative, formalist vision of the subject. The Oleg Grabar and Richard Ettinghausen volume of 1987... Full Review
March 24, 2003
Margarita Tupitsyn
New Haven: Yale University Press 192 pp.; 20 color ills.; 80 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (0300094590)
Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, May 17–August 18, 2002; Fundación La Caixa, Madrid, November 20, 2002–January 19, 2003
Margarita Tupitsyn’s book, Malevich and Film, and the accompanying exhibition set forth an ambitious, revisionist narrative. Malevich and Film tells anew the story of the Russian painter’s iconic work, Black Square, first conceived as a backdrop for the Futurist opera Victory over the Sun in 1913, and provocatively installed at the conjunction of two walls and the ceiling in the exhibition 0.10 in St. Petersburg in December 1915. Kasimir Malevich... Full Review
March 19, 2003
Robert H. Sharf and Elizabeth Horton Sharf, eds.
Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001. 288 pp.; 8 color ills.; 47 b/w ills. Cloth $49.50
Living Images: Japanese Buddhist Icons in Context includes four essays presented at the conference “The Japanese Buddhist Icon in Its Monastic Context,” held at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in March 1994, that represent new trends in scholarship in both Buddhist studies and art history. In his insightful introduction, “Prolegomenon to the Study of Japanese Buddhist Icons,” Robert H. Sharf argues that although extant physical and textual evidence suggests that images played... Full Review
March 18, 2003
Alexander Nemerov
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 274 pp.; 19 color ills.; 75 b/w ills. Cloth $45.00 (0520224981)
Alexander Nemerov states at the outset of The Body of Raphaelle Peale: Still Life and Selfhood, 1812–1824 that he aims to interpret yet enhance the “strangeness” of Raphaelle’s pictures. He succeeds beautifully. Raphaelle Peale (1774–1825), an American artist who painted ordinary foodstuffs with a descriptive intensity worthy of Gustave Flaubert, continues to fascinate long after the reader has closed this book’s cover. Reading Raphaelle through a trifurcated lens of Freudian... Full Review
March 17, 2003
Marcia Brennan
Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2001. 377 pp.; 8 color ills.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth $35.00 (0262024888)
The past few years have witnessed the publication of several major studies that reframed the history of early American modernism and the Alfred Stieglitz circle, most notably Celeste Connor’s Democratic Visions: Art and Theory of the Stieglitz Circle, 1924–1934 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), Wanda M. Corn’s The Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915–1935 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), and Sarah Greenough’s... Full Review
March 17, 2003
Pauline Croft, ed.
London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in association with Yale University Press, 2001. 352 pp.; 19 color ills.; 78 b/w ills. Cloth $65.00 (0300091362)
The Cecil name is firmly tied to the political history of early modern England. As sequential advisers to Elizabeth I and Lord Treasurers under Elizabeth and James I, respectively, William Cecil (Lord Burghley) and his son, Robert (First Earl Salisbury), have been defined by their governmental policies and decision-making. Seldom have we heard about Cecilian activity that transcended the boundaries of Crown politics. Little has been said of William and Robert’s shared proclivities for... Full Review
March 11, 2003