Robert Tanitch’s Round-Up of Books No 6 (2017)
The Art Museum (Phaidon £39.95). The evolution of art spans some thirty millennia and covers art from the Stone Age to today, ranging across the world. This book is an amazing pictorial look at Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantine, Islamic, Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, etc. There is so much to enjoy. It’s great to have all this in one book, full of familiar and unfamiliar works, perfect to use as a quick reference and perfect also just for the pleasure of dipping into. Stupendous.
The Artist Project, What Artists See When They Look at Art (Phaidon £49.95).The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York invited a 120 artists to choose a work of art and record their personal thoughts and insights. The artists were both local and international, working in a variety of media and at different stages in their careers. The double page has a full page picture of the work under discussion, a picture of the artist and his/her commentary plus a picture of their own work. The book encourages readers to study and reconsider, to look and to look again.
The Art of the Erotic by Phaidon Editors (Phaidon £59.95). This magnificent pictorial celebration starts in 470BC. Artists have always found plenty to excite and arouse in the thoroughly respectable pursuit of religious and classical myth. Human desire does not change. Art’s response, romantic and cynical, produces strong emotions which engage and seduce. What do Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Reni, Goya, Ingres do for you? Do they produce a different reaction to modern art? And if so, why? What was once considered pornographic and obscene is now totally acceptable. What is your reaction to, for instance, Courbet’s The Origins of the World?
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Reformation by Peter Marshall (Oxford University Press £18.99). A team of scholars challenges conventional views of Christian church history. The 500th anniversary is a good moment to be looking in depth at the Reformation and even more so for all those whose knowledge goes no further than the legend that in 1517 on October 31 Martin Luther nailed his 57 Theses against the Roman Catholic Church indulgencies on to the door of a Chapel in Wittenberg. The illustrations are fascinating.
Picturing the Apocalypse the Book of Revelation in the Arts over Two Millennia by Natasha O’Hear & Anthony O’Hear (Oxford University Press £12.99). The Book of Revelation offers a kaleidoscope of images and visions: The Four Horsemen, The Whore of Babylon, Satan, Armageddon, The Last Judgement, and New Jerusalem. There have been so many interpretations by such artists as Van Eyck, Memling, Bosch, Durer, Blake, Bergman, and Coppola. The book has two main aims: visual exegeses and 21st century relevance whether you are a believer or not.