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

Reviews in caa.reviews 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

R. Ward Bissell
University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. 688 pp.; 27 color ills.; 257 b/w ills. Cloth $85.00 (0271017872)
Without question, among scholars of Italian Baroque art, no one was better positioned to write the "definitive" monograph on Artemisia Gentileschi than R. Ward Bissell, the author of the fundamental archival study of the artist, "Artemisia Gentileschi: A New Documented Chronology," Art Bulletin 50, 1968,153-68, and of the only monographic study of her painter-father, Orazio Gentileschi and the Poetic Tradition in Caravaggesque Painting (University Park and London: The... Full Review
January 19, 2000
Thumbnail
Aby Warburg
Trans. David Britt. Getty Trust Publications, 1999. 859 pp.; 232 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0892365374)
To tell the story of Aby Warburg is a daunting task, even if one just tries to restrict oneself to the essays, lecture notes, aperçus, and secondhand testimonials collected in the weighty Aby Warburg: The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity. Yet even this unwieldy tome does not represent the full and wondrous scope of Warburg's thought, since it is a 1999 translation of the original 1932 edition, with the essays thematically grouped and edited by Gertrud Bing. Indeed, Bing had planned to edit... Full Review
January 18, 2000
Neil Harris
Yale University Press, 1998. 208 pp.; 180 b/w ills. Cloth $40.00 (0300070454)
Neil Harris's Building Lives is an informative and informed introduction to the rites and rituals surrounding the design, construction, and life cycle of buildings. Harris's book amplifies earlier research for a series of lectures commissioned by the Buell Center for the History of American Architecture at Columbia University. In published form, those lectures have been recast as three chapters focused sequentially on the birth, life, and death of buildings. The purpose of those... Full Review
January 13, 2000
Thumbnail
Rochelle Ziskin
Cambridge University Press, 1999. 2240 pp.; 116 b/w ills. Cloth $75.00 (0521592593)
Three hundred years ago, in August 1699, royal and municipal officials in Paris dedicated François Girardon's gilded bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV in the city's newest place royale, the Place de Nos Conquêtes, later called Place Louis-le-Grand, now Place Vendôme. The grandeur of the colossal statue and its architectural setting proclaimed the square a monument to the king's gloire, a theme that was to have been amplified by the royal library, learned academies, mint, and... Full Review
January 12, 2000
Thumbnail
Gill Perry and Colin Cunningham, eds.
Yale University Press, 1999. 272 pp.; 48 color ills.; 160 b/w ills. Cloth $50.00 (0300077416)
In the preface, Gill Perry poses the questions, "Who decides which artists and works of art will be more highly valued than others? What political, economic and historical factors might govern those decisions?" (15) and "What are some of the "aesthetic, cultural and political beliefs which underpin canonical values?" (258) These questions are not asked with the intention of finding final answers. This book neither attempts to rewrite the history of Western art under the consideration of its... Full Review
January 7, 2000
Thumbnail
Rick Altman
Bloomington: Indiana University Press in association with British Film Institute, 1999. 272 pp. Paper $22.50 (0851707173)
Artists have concerned themselves with conventionalized pictorial genres since the early sixteenth century, when our conventional categories of landscape, still life, daily scenes ("genre" in the narrower sense), and even portraits developed their separate identities. In a training environment increasingly occupied by academies, genres were placed lower on the scale of value, within a hierarchy dominated by "history painting," serious narratives from the Bible or myth. The task of... Full Review
January 6, 2000
Thumbnail
Barbara J. MacAdam
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 1998. 83 pp.; 19 color ills.; 22 b/w ills. Paper $19.95 (0944722229)
Hilliard Goldfarb, Erica E. Hirshler, and T. J. Jackson Lears
Boston: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in association with University Press of New England, 1999. 114 pp.; 14 color ills.; 48 b/w ills. Paper (0914660128)
Sargent: The Late Landscapes, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA, May 21-September 26, 1999; Willard Metcalf in Cornish, New Hampshire 1909-1920, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, January 1999-March 1999.
Each of these slender, beautifully produced catalogues accompanied exhibitions focusing on landscapes painted by one American artist during the first decades of the twentieth century. Prompted by the desire to highlight the paintings in their collections, both museums chose to showcase a small number of related works. Each catalogue contains contextual essays and full-page color reproductions of every painting in the exhibition. No doubt owing to the contingencies of resources and audiences,... Full Review
January 6, 2000
Jacqueline Musacchio
Yale University Press, 1999. 228 pp.; 40 color ills.; 150 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0300076290)
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio's book on Renaissance childbirth and its imagery joins a growing bibliography on the domestic setting and function of art in Renaissance Italy. Peter Thornton's survey of Renaissance interiors, Dora Thornton's monograph on scholars' studies, Cristelle Baskin's analysis of heroine imagery on painted chests, Anne Barriault's discussion of style in Tuscan painted wall panels, and other efforts have enriched our knowledge of the domestic environment, and of the place... Full Review
January 5, 2000
Thumbnail
Sharon E.J. Gerstel
University of Washington Press in association with College Art Association, 1999. 214 pp.; 5 color ills.; 90 b/w ills. Cloth $55.00 (0295978007)
This brief but handsome study offers the reader a detailed account of the close correlation of art and liturgy in medieval Byzantium. In pursuing this end, the book privileges evidence from the sanctuary programs of twenty-seven churches in Byzantine Macedonia, whose decorations date from the early eleventh century to the early fourteenth century (the final section of the book, 80-111, offers a useful catalogue of these programs). In addition to this core material evidence, a number of other... Full Review
January 5, 2000
Thumbnail
Brandon Fortune and Deborah Warner
University of Pennsylvania Press in association with National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1999. 178 pp.; 54 color ills.; 90 b/w ills. Paper $34.95 (0812217012)
National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., April 16–September 6, 1999.
Franklin & His Friends: Portraying the Man of Science in Eighteenth-Century America is an ambitious exhibition and catalogue that examines the role of portraiture in the world of natural and physical science in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The selection of Franklin as a focal point for the study was a meaningful way to focus a considerable body of artistic and archival material. In one way or another Franklin's life intersected with that of each of the other figures... Full Review
January 5, 2000
Thumbnail