Review by Choice Review
Distinguished editor Brigstocke's splendid, large book consists of 48 gorgeously reproduced famous masterpieces in full color, ranging through human form and face as expressed from Roman times into the 20th century. This enormous undertaking includes contributions by five advisory editors who are specialists of the particular period in the cultural history of art. A short introduction, more contributors, abbreviations, note to the reader, entries, and an index of artists and writers on art are all clearly arranged in alphabetical order. This book does not only include an encyclopedic description of all the Western visual artists, but also the appropriate terminology, eminent European museums, patronage and collecting, cities themselves, mythological beings, philosophers, poets, techniques, etc.! Like from "Abacus to Zeus," it is so necessary in the academic world so bombarded by Internet information (many times not documented properly) to continue to spread art knowledge itself, for its own sake! Everyone curious about this very survival of erudite information should keep this book in their study-room-office or visit libraries, in order to be reminded of what may have been forgotten. You will be overwhelmed. More than most highly recommended. Graduate students through professionals. I. Spalatin Texas A&M University-Commerce
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Intended primarily as "a stimulating point of departure," this successor to Harold Osborne's Oxford Companion to Art (1970) features more than 2,600 entries ranging from a few sentences to a few pages on subjects including artists, art terms and techniques, movements and schools, museums, the arts of selected countries, and the art of different places as objects of patronage and collecting. The great majority of entries were newly commissioned to some 160 contributors, while a small number of articles from The Oxford Companion to Arthave been retained. Leaving coverage of architecture and non-Western art for other volumes, Brigstocke has focused on Western painting, sculpture, and graphic arts. Significant living artists "whose careers have already taken shape" are included. Many entries are accompanied by a short bibliography. Asterisks within each entry refer readers to separate articles, and cross-references are found between entries. Wherever possible, the present location of works of art is indicated. Several sections of color plates reflect the themes of "the human form and the face, as interpreted from antiquity to the present day." There is an index of artists and other people not given main entries but mentioned in other articles; unfortunately, there is no indexing to the articles on the arts of different countries. Coverage is selective but balanced. Only three New York City museums (Frick, Metropolitan, and Museum of Modern Art) are given separate entries, but the articleNew York: Patronage and collectinggives nods to a few others as well as to many historically important galleries. The article on Mexican art, while acknowledging the importance of the muralist movement and mentioning many other twentieth-century Mexican artists, does not name the "Three Great" muralists Orozco, Rivera, or Siqueiros; each artist, however, has a main entry. A small number of errors were noted; the most serious was the entry for the Smithsonian Institution, whose heading reads Washington, Smithsonian Instituteand whose founder is twice identified as "James Smithsonian" (should be "Smithson"). The Oxford Companion to Western Artis highly recommended for academic, public, and high-school libraries. BecauseThe Oxford Companion to Art covers architecture and non-Western art, it should be retained. RBB.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
A partial successor to the 1970 Oxford Companion to Art, this title limits itself to European-language cultures, dropping architecture and non-Western subjects. The 2600 signed entries generally range in length from 100 to 1000-plus words (and are occasionally longer), and they include artist, historian, theorist, and patron biographies as well as entries on institutions, cities and museums, styles, movements, and art historical theory and methodology. Most entries have at least one bibliographical reference and are longer than those in The Oxford Dictionary of Art (LJ 9/15/97), which includes 3000 entries but otherwise appears comparable to this title in scope. Reflecting the methodological growth of art history and changes in topics of study since the first title was published, this book offers more coverage of the Baroque, manuscript illumination, and 19th- and 20th-century art. Established living artists are included. Editor Brigstocke, a Paul Mellon Research Fellow at the British School in Rome, included unchanged some of the technical and aesthetic essays by Harold Osborne, editor of the 1970 title, but this is essentially a new work. Most of the 100 contributors are British, which slightly colors the selections and some of the entries, and the plates are "tasters" not related to specific entries. As with any work of this scope, there are inevitable omissions and occasional errors of fact, but this title essentially accomplishes its goals and is recommended for all collections looking for an in-depth work on Western art. Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.