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

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Martin Bressani
Burlington: Ashgate, 2014. 623 pp.; 86 color ills.; 64 b/w ills. Cloth $114.95 (9780754633402)
Martin Bressani’s Architecture and the Historical Imagination brings psychological unity to the life and work of Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, the nineteenth-century French architect, restorer, and theorist whose numerous and diverse activities continue to enthrall and perplex historians. In the groundbreaking 1980 catalogue of an exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris commemorating the centenary of Viollet-le-Duc’s death, Bruno Foucart (who supervised Bressani’s 1997 dissertation)... Full Review
April 19, 2017
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Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio, ed.
Burlington: Ashgate, 2015. 254 pp.; 4 color ills.; 76 b/w ills. Cloth $120.00 (9781472460905)
Making and Moving Sculpture in Early Modern Italy addresses important issues concerning the material and economic history of sculpture, and explores the ways in which mobility, physicality, materiality, collaborations, costs of materials, and technologies had an impact on how the works were conceived and made by their authors and perceived by the public. As editor Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio articulates in the introduction, “practical issues as durability and modes of transport were of... Full Review
April 14, 2017
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Neil De Marchi and Sophie Raux, eds.
Studies in European Urban History (1100–1800), Vol. 34. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. 338 pp.; 43 b/w ills. Paper $119.00 (9782503548081)
Gerrit Verhoeven
Trans. Diane Webb. Egodocuments and History, Vol. 9. Leiden: Brill, 2015. 365 pp.; 20 b/w ills. Cloth $163.00 (9789004292710)
Netherlandish art was a standard feature of art collections large and small throughout early modern Europe, and many masters from the Low Countries took their techniques, styles, and themes abroad. Historians have acknowledged this international dimension, from Horst Gerson’s monumental Ausbreitung und Nachwirkung der holländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts (Amsterdam: Israël, 1942) to the 2013 volume of the Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art (Leiden: Brill) devoted to... Full Review
April 13, 2017
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Vernon James Knight Jr.
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 214 pp.; 45 b/w ills. Cloth $110.00 (9781107022638)
Ancient images produced in contexts from which no written records survive present a formidable challenge to iconographers. Vernon James Knight Jr. argues that studies of such imagery are particularly vulnerable to specious claims based on intuition and superficial analysis, a problem he addresses in Iconographic Method in New World Prehistory. In response to what he describes as a lack of methodological rigor in “a field of study that is still in search of academic respectability”... Full Review
April 13, 2017
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Barbara Miller Lane
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015. 320 pp.; 224 b/w ills. Cloth $49.95 (9780691167619)
James A. Jacobs
Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015. 272 pp. Cloth $45.00 (9780813937618)
My dad remembers being lifted up by my grandfather into the bay window of a large, white bi-level ranch house in the suburbs of New Jersey. It was the spring of 1968, and this house was one of three standing in the new development surrounded by farmland, only a twenty-minute drive outside of Newark. His slim, nine-year old body fit through the window, and he walked down into the foyer to unlock the front door from inside. My grandfather entered to inspect the house he had purchased that fall... Full Review
April 12, 2017
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Vered Maimon
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. 269 pp.; 43 b/w ills. Paper $30.00 (9780816694723)
In Singular Images, Failed Copies, Vered Maimon investigates William Henry Fox Talbot and his connection with early photography. After H. J. P. Arnold’s, Gail Buckland’s, and Larry Schaaf’s monographic works and studies on Talbot—first published in the 1970s and making essential original sources accessible—a renewed interest in Talbot and early photography has occurred. On the one hand, this could be linked to Schaaf’s online research project on Talbot’s correspondence <a... Full Review
April 6, 2017
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Marian Wardle and Sarah E. Boehme, eds.
Exh. cat. Charles M. Russell Center Series on Art and Photography of the American West, Vol. 23. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016. 240 pp.; 128 color ills.; 27 b/w ills. Cloth $39.95 (9780806152912)
Exhibition schedule: Brigham Young University Museum of Art, Provo, February 19–August 13, 2016; Stark Museum of Art, Orange, TX, March 11–September 09, 2017
Branding the American West: Paintings and Films, 1900–1950 is a lavishly illustrated exhibition catalogue containing seven essays by art historians, literary scholars, and poets, as well as an introduction by the exhibition’s co-curators. With its wide range of stimulating perspectives and insights, the catalogue offers a substantive conversation among the authors who consider the works and the legends of the Taos Society of Artists (TSA). The group’s paintings, and those of Maynard... Full Review
April 5, 2017
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Kristen Gresh and Michket Krifa
Exh. cat. Boston: MFA Publications, 2015. 168 pp.; 100 color ills. Cloth $40.00 (9780878468041)
Exhibition schedule: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 27, 2013–January 12, 2014; Cantor Arts Center, Stanford, January 28–May 4, 2015; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, May 30–September 28, 2015; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, April 8–July 31, 2016
Taking its title from rawiya, the Arabic noun for a storyteller (feminine) and the eponymous name of an all-women photography collective in the Middle East, She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, organized by Kristen Gresh, the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exhibits the photographs and, in two cases, the videos of twelve artists. (The title page for the catalogue includes... Full Review
April 5, 2017
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Jeffrey F. Hamburger
Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts 21. Leuven and Paris: Peeters, 2014. 77 pp.; 39 color ills. Cloth $32.00 (9789042930353)
For many years, Jeffrey Hamburger has been interested in the artwork of the manuscripts of the Middle Ages, and with Script as Image he has published a deeply engaging book, or rather a lengthy essay, on the “double page” in the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. In it Hamburger approaches illuminated manuscripts from the apparent “classical” theme of the relationship between text and image. In certain ways, one could say that Hamburger’s Script as Image continues a... Full Review
March 31, 2017
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Stephanie Porras
University Park: Penn State University Press, 2016. 216 pp.; 34 color ills.; 48 b/w ills. Cloth $79.95 (9780271070896)
Stephanie Porras has written a smart, important book on Pieter Bruegel the Elder. She offers a carefully considered take on his notion of the Netherlandish past as it manifests in the peasants who cavort and carouse their way through his oeuvre. While this is familiar terrain, Porras’s study redirects focus from the once-heated debate about Bruegel’s peasants as either moralizing signifiers of excess or amusements for urbane viewers. Instead, by citing Netherlandish humanism’s interest in... Full Review
March 30, 2017
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