Art Past/Art Present

David G. Wilkins, Author, Bernard Schultz, With ABRAMS $49.5 (543p) ISBN 978-0-8109-1749-1
An odd amalgam, this album is intended as an introductory text in art history or art appreciation. Although not especially successful in its stated aim of achieving a global, comparative, chronological overview of world art, it makes provocative juxtapositions. Thus, a Hopi pueblo is set alongside a Frank Lloyd Wright house; an American romantic landscape painting faces an example of Gustave Courbet's realism; a Christian cemetery fresco is counterpoised by paintings from a third-century Jewish synagogue in Mesopotamia. But it is left largely to the reader to supply the connections. Commentaries are sometimes blandly didactic, at other times aptly insightful. In Velazquez's The Water Carrier , we are told, ``the simple act of offering, accepting and consuming a glass of water gains dignity and import.'' Moments like this make the volume worthwhile. Wilkins is director of the University Art Gallery at the University of Pittsburgh; Schultz, an associate arts professor at West Virginia University. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Hardcover - 656 pages - 978-0-13-150546-9
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