Bosch

Maurice Guillard, Author, Jacqueline Guillaud, With Clarkson N Potter Publishers $100 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-57230-6
The seventh volume in the Guillauds' series on art, this book about Bosch's masterwork is an ambitious effort--with strangely mixed results. By commissioning many new photographs of the painting, including numerous blowups of details, and printing most of these on onionskin paper, the French authors succeed in bringing the viewer closer to Bosch's chimerical panorama of good and evil than perhaps any book has: turning the pages, one feels like an inhabitant of the fantastical landscape, not a spectator. However, the art historical text by Spanish critic Gomez is surprisingly amateurish in concept (``In the Middle Ages, religious faith, among other things, prevented people from truly seeing reality'') and sloppy in editing, abounding in typos (e.g., ``Boetius'' for Boethius, ``Middel Ages'') and errors in punctuation, especially incongruous considering the book's price. Captions that describe the events and poetically evoke the significance of details distract us from their magisterial mystery with feebly impressionistic commentary (``humanity drifting in the / certainty of the uncertain / unsatisfied by pleasure''). (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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