03 March 2010

Koerner and Friedrich are back/Abrams does Mary justice

I found two excellent books at the university library today. One is new to me and the other is an old favorite. Reaktion Books has brought back to print Joseph Koerner's book on Caspar Friedrich. I read this book in college a few years ago after finishing Koerner's other book on Durer. I was quite impressed with his writing on Friedrich and enjoyed his take on the paintings greatly. I was rather disappointed that I couldn't obtain a copy then, but now I can at last. It's a great book on Romanticism as well as Friedrich and the reproductions do his work great justice. Get it now and you'll never see painting in the same way. It'd be nice if he also wrote a book on French naturalism, but I guess I'll have to wait.

The second was a book from Abrams on Mary. Simply, it is a superb collection of art and a lovely little tour of religious painting and iconography. The selection of work is masterful and I found delights and revelations on every other page. It's organized well with sections on Mary and the saints, Mary and Jesus, Mary at the Crucifixion - amongst others - as well as sections of Marian prefigurations and Marian apparitions. It surveys Western art and provides helpful context and information for each painting. It is an excellent book and a helpful reference tool for religious art. The beauty of the paintings make this book quite enjoyable so even if religious art isn't an interest, the artists themselves make good recommendations for this text.

These are both new books from last fall and I've just learned of them. They're small books so they could easily serve as guides in museums. The Mary one is small and thick, but bound for easy use while the Koerner one is medium sized with good detail on the reproductions. I fell in love with them and I'm glad to see them in such excellent editions.

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