New World Visions of Household Gods & Sacred Places: American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1650-1914

Vincent Scully, Author, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Other Little Brown and Company $35 (183p) ISBN 978-0-8212-1647-7
Scully's text is the somewhat enlarged script of a two-part PBS television program that he hosted. As such, it loses the impact and visual continuity that TV viewers might experience. Even so, this is an unusually perceptive, erudite, even profound armchair tour of the alternating currents of earthy realism and Jeffersonian idealism in American painting, sculpture and architecture. Aided by 200 color and black-and-white plates, this Yale professor of art history tours the Metropolitan Museum of Art's American wing, but veers off to discuss pre-Columbian temples, pueblos, town planning as it relates to Washington, D.C., and Versailles, Ashcan School painters, skyscrapers, a Robert Venturi house. The ``household gods'' of the title are materialistic objectsa silver teapot, a Philadelphia high-chestcounterposed with the ``sacred places'' of home or public monument. Scully blows the dust off national treasures and makes them speak to us anew. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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