Books

Reviews of significant publications. Plus, in the Book Shorts section, a series of short notices about noteworthy books

Review
Book Shorts

This book makes an arresting argument for the foundations of modern art

The Hamburg Kunsthalle’s exhibition catalogue groups Tiepolo, Fragonard and Goya as forerunners of modernism

Review
Books

Of fossils, prisms and volcanoes: the scientific and imaginative investigations of the polymath Goethe

This extensive volume explores the relationship between the German writer's visual imagination and his fascination with natural science

News
coronavirus

LA Art Book Fair cancelled over fear of spread of coronavirus

Decision on MOCA event affects over 350 exhibitors from around two dozen countries

Review
Books

The image debate: new book looks at age-old question of figural representation in Islam

This collection of essays examines the Islamic treatment of figuration around the world, from pre-modern decoration to contemporary snowmen

Review
Books

Book offers broadest and deepest study of Nazi culture yet

This is the first publication to fully examine the cultural output of the Third Reich, which, unsurprisingly, failed to produce great art

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Books

Despite its 'hybrid' approach, the Met's catalogue on French painting lacks detailed analysis

When used together, the New York museum’s print catalogue and supplementary website on their 18th-century French works make an excellent initial resource but offer little new information

Latest in Book Shorts

Book Shorts

This book makes an arresting argument for the foundations of modern art

Book Shorts

Celebrating a generous donation to the Frick, this booklet pays tribute to the donor and his gift

Book Shorts

When nothing is sacred, nothing can be subversive: photographs of London’s Soho captured in catalogue

Book Shorts

A beautiful compendium of Early Modern scientific instruments

Book Shorts

Twentieth-century American hopes and dreams are shown in black and white in this book of prints

Review
Books

The case is made for connoisseurs and their role in art history

The practice of connoisseurship, which, the author Frédéric Elsig argues, is a skill that can be learned, is examined in relation to 15th-and 16th-century painting

News
Books

Monet's beloved pottery cat comes to life in children's book

Story directly inspired by The Art Newspaper’s article on the artists’s Japanese ornament, which sat in the dining room at his Giverny home, will be published in May

Review
Books

Revamped art book prize wants to become the Oscars of arts publications—is it succeeding?

A year on from its announcement, we look at whether the Richard Schlagman Art Book Awards is meeting its ambitions

Review
Books

Book on Bellini proves more philosophical than art historical

Scholarly analysis of 15th-century Venetian painter aims to bring his work into the 21st century

Review
Books

Born of hate and contempt, how the Bargello's extraordinary collection of medieval ivories came to be

Book tells the tale of how Italian museum amassed such a vast array of important sculptures thanks to Frenchman Louis-Claude Carrand

Review
Books

Redefining Botticelli—from Post-Modernism to soft porn

Does putting the Renaissance artist's work in a modern context enhance or diminish his art?

Review
Books

A neuroscientist's view: how Bacon's paintings shake up the nervous system

Publication focuses on what neuroscience and psychology bring to the table with the late artist's works

Review
Books

This was the most prolific year for Leonardo scholarship in history—here is a detailed guide to the best books

At least 250 volumes in European languages have been published in 2019, the year that saw the world commemorate 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci's death

Review
The Year in Review 2019

From the history of the festive putti to Arthur Jafa's hefty tome: the art world's favourite books of 2019

Regular contributors, scholars, curators and critics choose their favourite reads from the past year

Review
Exhibition catalogues

Vienna museum's Caravaggio and Bernini catalogue presents the artist's studio as a theatrical site

Exhibition at Kunsthistorisches on the two Baroque heavyweights helps to clarify the relationship between Roman painting and sculpture of the period

News
Books

Missing Leonardo link: writer discovers that Da Vinci's anatomy drawings were owned by Charles II

New book hopes research of papers belonging to the king's physician will lead to further "eureka" moments

Review
Books

Demanding artists and receptive architects in book about design and function of the studio

This book shows how, from the end of the 19th century to the Second World War, artists collaborated with architects to craft an image of themselves

Review
Books

‘If I don’t like your pictures, I can destroy everything': a photographer's intimate—but risky—shoots with Louise Bourgeois

In his new book the photographer Jean-François Jaussaud details how he gained the trust of the late French artist

Blog
Adventures with Van Gogh

Methodical, well read and—above all—human: what we learn from the myth-busting edition of Van Gogh’s letters

A decade after the publication of Vincent's trove of correspondence, here is how the remarkable project has contributed to scholarship on his art

News
Acquisitions

New York's Morgan Library receives ‘transformational’ trove of manuscripts and bindings

Bequest comes from New York collector Jayne Wrightsman, who amassed an 18th-century library to complement her celebrated French furnishings

News
Leonardo da Vinci

New book on Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi aims to be a definitive study—but it's not the last word on the controversial painting

Ahead of the blockbuster at the Musée du Louvre, we get an exclusive first read of the publication written by Martin Kemp, Robert Simon and Margaret Dalivalle

Review
Books

Titan of Turin: Italy's greatest interior decorator receives definitive scholarly book

Bertrand de Royere provides a thorough examination of the life the 19th century decorator and furniture designer Pelagio Palagi

Review
Books

Back to scuola: book series provides accessible introduction to Italian and Northern Renaissance art

The five volumes offer a range of perspectives and chronological breadth for budding scholars of the field

News
Politics

'We want the Babylonian Palace of Tiglath-Pileser!': new book reveals Boris Johnson's thwarted vision for new V&A East

Nicholas Coleridge, the chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum, tells how Boris laid down the law on his plans for the project

Review
Books

National Gallery definitively catalogues 'small but perfectly formed' collection of French 18th century paintings

Humphrey Wine’s lavishly illustrated book details the London museum's 60 authentic works and 12 replicas, copies or  pastiches

Review
Books

'The guardian of Vincent’s legacy': new biography details devoted life of Van Gogh's sister-in-law Jo Bonger

Bonger's encounter with Trotsky and her tireless effort to preserve the artist's work are explored in the new book by Hans Luijten

Review
Medieval art

Glam rock: alabaster was not medieval England's 'poor man's marble' new book finds

Used in high status projects and throughout the continent, Kim Woods's detailed study challenges misconceptions of the carving rock's status

Review
Books

A clever book for clever people: Marina Warner's sensitive artist essays dimmed by too many words

The brilliance of the scholar's examination of artists such as Paula Rego and Sigmar Polke is evident despite name dropping and verbose language

Review
Books

The scientific brotherhood: Pre-Raphaelite art put under the microscope

The Victorian artist group explored the connections between art and scientific observation to enhance art’s moral purpose

Review
Books

New catalogue presents virtuosity of Neo-Classicist goldsmith Luigi Valadier

Alvar González-Palacios’s book on the Italian decorator is a peak in his distinguished career

Review
Books

Fit for a king: book lays out the vast scale of the Orléans collection

The second Duke of Orléans’ assembly of his famous art collection may have been a covert preparation for seizing the throne of France

Review
Books

The Arts and Crafts special relationship: how the British movement permeated US design culture

Companion book to an exhibition at the University of Texas at Austin offers new dimensions on the vast subject

Review
Book Shorts

This book gives a first-hand account of Second World War art and propaganda

A vivid account of the art arising from the experiences of the artist, George Plante

Review
Books

How Rheims Cathedral's destruction in the First World War had a happy ending

New book explores how the burnt cathedral created a 'profound intellectual rift' between Germany and France, then reconciliation

Review
Books

Agents of faith: the art of votive offerings

Bard Graduate Center's 25th anniversary exhibition considers devotional offerings across religions

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Books

Michelangelo for beginners, and a new view of the master’s bronzes

Three new books offer fresh angles on the Renaissance master

Feature
Books

Book excerpt: William Kentridge reveals how Antoine Bourdelle inspired his work

In Jori Finkel's book It Speaks to Me, Kentridge discusses the sculpture in Johannesburg that first made him feel the power of art

Review
Books

What was the real purpose of the English country house library?

Mark Purcell's study explores 19th-century bibliomania and rejects the notion that books in historic libraries were "bought by the yard"

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Books

Coming out of one’s shell: new book explores overlooked mollusc art by naturalist's daughters

Martin Lister enlisted his daughters Susanna and Anna because of the unreliability of the best professional engravers

Review
Books

William Hunter and the enlightened art of science

A new publication brings together the Scottish surgeon's art collection for the first time in many years

Review
Jan Weenix

A family affair: three generations of Weenix showcased in two-volume magnum opus

The new book features newly discovered appendices, including the profligate Jan Baptist’s three-volume bankruptcy file

Review
Books

Book review | Recent archaeological finds on Keros bring new authoritative scholarship on Cycladic art

Excavation campaigns on the Greek island have raised questions about our knowledge of Cycladic art and culture

News
Frieze New York 2019

Amassing a Frieze Library, book by book

Galleries donate publications for a collection that will go to the Metropolitan Museum

News
Leonardo da Vinci

London's National Gallery defends inclusion of Salvator Mundi in Leonardo show after criticism in new book

The curator’s attribution to the Renaissance master helped Christie’s achieve a world record price for the painting

Review
Books

Bruegel: great research, great exhibition—shame about the catalogue

The Kunsthistorisches's Bruegel exhibition catalogue fails to include any scholarly information

Comment
Caravaggio

Discovery in a Toulouse attic is no Caravaggio

There are too many oddities in the painting discovered in France five years ago

Podcast

David Bailey in focus, plus Picasso biographer John Richardson remembered

We meet the photographer David Bailey at his London studio to discuss his new book and we talk with Gijs van Hensbergen about John Richardson, who died aged 95 last week. Produced in association with Bonhams, auctioneers since 1793.

Review
Renaissance

#Menudetoo: naked bodies in the Renaissance explored at the Royal Academy of Arts and in three new publications

Examining the many meanings—and inanities—ascribed to the unclothed human body in Western art

News
Photography

Novelist Orhan Pamuk unveils photographs of Istanbul he took from his balcony

On show in Turkey this month, the images are an ode to the Nobel Prize-winning author’s hometown

Review
Jasper Johns

Complex, ingenious, emotional: the concluding volumes of Jasper Johns’s catalogues raisonnés

Two further volumes comprehensively cover the artist's drawings and monotypes

Review
Books

Clement Greenberg: still waiting for sympathetic treatment

On the 110th birthday of the great American critic, we delve into our archive and discover that writings about him are either too academic or too sensationalist

Review
Books

Close study of fashions in medieval manuscripts is key to understanding interactions of literature and dress

Book of illuminations show various fashions that shed light on literary styles

Feature
Photography

Edward Woodman: the light and space of a golden era

UK retrospective freeze-frames often ephemeral works from the 1980s and 1990s

News
Michelangelo

Rothschild Bronzes definitely by Michelangelo, new book claims

Pair of nude males, acquired by the family in 1877, last sold at auction in 2002

Preview
Books

A love letter to a grittier, punk-accented New York

Chris Stein, Blondie co-founder, presents a book of photographs from the 1970s and 80s

Preview
Books

Witches, cannibals and murderers: the stories behind some of the Musée d’Orsay’s most violent works of art

In his new book The Orsay Murder Club, the art historian Christos Markogiannakis examines the horrors of the Paris museum’s collection

Review
Books

A monumental study of the heyday of Historicist painting

This comprehensive volume looks at a genre popular in 19th-century Europe but long scorned in the art world

Podcast

Gainsborough murder mystery. Plus, RoseLee Goldberg on performance art

We travel back to the 18th century and delve into the grisly family murders that helped Gainsborough gain fame. Plus, RoseLee Goldberg tell us all about her new book Performance Now: Live Art for the 21st century. Produced in association with Bonhams, auctioneers since 1793.

Review
Books

Jackson Pollock's art gets lost in academic theory in new book

This scholarly overview of the artist’s work is modishly opaque

Review
Books

Reputations redeemed by art: two books examine what made Charles I and II great collectors but bad rulers

Despite the failings of the Stuart kings, their art collections stand in their favour, as exhibitions in the UK this year have shown

Review
Books

Chicago’s art history, revised

An essay collection illuminates a rich and, ultimately, countercultural legacy

Review
Books

Otto Marseus van Schrieck: introducing the inventor of the 'forest-floor' still-life

This splendid book uncovers the Dutch painter who brought the lowliest creatures of the forest ecosystem to life

Review
Books

Prefab(ulous): the story of an 18th-century chapel made entirely in Rome for a church in Lisbon

This fascinating survey offers both detailed commentary and lavish illustrations

Review
Books

Telling us why and how: a groundbreaking study of Veronese’s techniques and paintings

These two books—very different in approach—analyse the process and works of the Italian Renaissance painter

Review
Books

Henry I of Haiti: the little-known story of a king and his amazing building spree

A short but fascinating book about a man immortalised through architecture

Review
Books

The tortuous story of Gustav Klimt’s Nazi-looted, 100ft-wide Beethoven Frieze uncovered

New book exploring work's provenance is a must-read for those interested in the contentious field of art restitution

Review
Books

Potty about pictures: ancient Athenian vases are an important historical resource—but this book fails to deliver

Large gaps in the material and a lack of thorough explanation make this volume less useful than it could be

News
Artists

Jasper Johns show and catalogue raisonné open Menil Collection’s new Drawing Institute

The 88-year-old artist, who gets the institute’s inaugural show, was deeply involved in the drawings catalogue project

Review
Books

Very much an acquired taste: how did so many Italian baroque paintings end up in US museums?

Book provides a sampling of personalities, acquisition strategies and collections that many Europeans may not know

Review
Books

Picture perfect: a 'sumptuous' book on Pre-Raphaelite stained glass

While its terminology is unsteady, the scholarship and production values of this sequel volume are exceptional

Review
Books

How to force historians to use their eyes: book urges academics to 'take art more seriously'

Princeton University's Theodore K. Rabb says more visual materials—not only written records—should be explored

Review
Books

Many pictures but no big picture: book struggles to capture the extraordinary life of Harald Szeemann

Volume on pioneering curator takes an admiring, rather than a critically analytical, approach