Take a long, close look at a masterpiece. As important as the details of subject and technique is the focused, attentive act of looking itself. This is part of the passionate and well reasoned defense of the visual arts offered by Camille Paglia, humanities professor at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in Glittering Images (Pantheon, $30). Increasingly in danger of being lost amid the distracting digital clutter, the arts are also being cut from school curricula and have been demonized by the right, narrowed by the left. Paglia’s response is to revitalize art history with an eloquent tour of twenty-nine works, from ancient Egyptian tomb paintings to Renaissance sculptures to contemporary installations and films. Her brief essays describe periods and styles and how they’ve accomplished the diverse work art has done for some 5,000 years, which includes carrying on traditions, solidifying faith, celebrating historical events, and delighting by “the sorcery of beauty.” And art’s role now? Paglia declares the avant-garde agenda over; today, “we’re looking for meaning, not subverting it.”

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780375424601
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon - October 16th, 2012

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780307278029
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - August 13th, 2013

This extraordinary facsimile of The Book of Kells (Thames & Hudson, $95) harks back to a time when books were rare and unique. They stood for knowledge, riches, and artistry, and none more so than the Book of Kells. The original 8th-century manuscript is housed in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, where hundreds of thousands of people come to see it every year, but you can peruse this edition whenever you like. Overseen by Bernard Meehan, Trinity Library’s Keeper of Manuscripts, the publication beautifully presents 250 color illustrations, with crisp details that capture the intricacy of the illuminations. Meehan’s fascinating commentary offers insight on the manuscript’s context, creation, and artists; interprets its symbols and themes; and traces the wide influence of its art. Anna Thorn
The Book of Kells Cover Image
$99.95
ISBN: 9780500238943
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Thames & Hudson - November 15th, 2012

And it’s why Picasso was “discovered” by the Steins. A wealthy family, they had the money to travel and buy art. Gertrude and Leo Stein began to collect almost as soon as they arrived in Paris in 1904; they bought their first Picasso in 1905. The Steins Collect (Yale Univ., $75), edited by a team of art historians, beautifully presents the works by Picasso, Matisse, and others that the Steins gathered in their legendary collections, and it also explores the relationships between the patrons and the artists. With text as substantial as the images, this catalog deepens knowledge and hence appreciation of all the work that went on in the early 20th-century art world, that of both the producers and the consumers.

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde Cover Image
By Janet Bishop (Introduction by), Cécile Debray (Introduction by), Rebecca Rabinow (Introduction by), Emily Braun (Contributions by), Gary Tinterow (Contributions by), Martha Lucy (Contributions by), Claudine Grammont (Contributions by), Carrie Pilto (Contributions by), Hélène Klein (Contributions by), Isabel Alfandary (Contributions by), Edward M. Burns (Contributions by)
$75.00
ISBN: 9780300169416
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - June 21st, 2011

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