Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Reviews: German Art 1350–1600; Norman Rockwell

German Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350–1600

"German Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350–1600" is a spectacular exhibition catalogue by Maryan W. Ainsworth and Joshua P. Waterman. It features 315 illustrations in full color.

The book includes paintings made in the German-speaking lands (including Austria and Switzerland) from 1350 to 1600, including the towering figures of the German Renaissance—Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Holbein the Younger—and many by lesser masters.

It is available here.


" Hans Holbein the Younger (Augsburg 1497/98–1543 London). Benedikt von Hertenstein, 1517.

Viewed straight on, Hertenstein appears noticeably broader than he perhaps should, with an oversized left arm and hand. But, as we pass from left to right before the painting, he assumes more natural proportions and seems to project in a realistic manner out of his space into ours. As he engages us with his glance and we reach an angle of forty-five degrees opposite his image, we gradually experience the full force of Hertenstein's corporeal presence. The inscription becomes more prominent, and the authorship of the painting is featured. Holbein's striking effect of verisimilitude, in which the ideal image of the man is recognized only "in passing," calls attention to the transience of life—both Hertenstein's and our own.

Lucas Cranach the Younger (Wittenberg 1515–1586 Wittenberg). Nymph of the Spring, ca. 1545–50.

This small, astonishingly well-preserved painting shows a nude woman reclining on the grassy bank of a river, near a spring that issues from a rock formation. Looking toward the viewer, she identifies herself and offers a word of caution through the first-person Latin inscription at the upper right: "I, nymph of the sacred spring, am resting; do not disturb my sleep." The scene's open eroticism is heightened by the nymph's sultry, half-closed eyes; the red tinge of her cheeks, buttocks, elbows, knees, and feet; the transparent veil that meanders from head to foot, as if to guide the viewer's gaze along her body; and the bundled red dress, which evokes the thought of her disrobing. A bow and quiver hang in a nearby tree, signaling that the nymph belongs to the entourage of the huntress goddess Diana. A green parrot perched on the bow and two rock partridges in the grass probably serve as symbols of the Luxuria (lust) that is embodied by the nymph and called forth in the male viewer.

Norman Rockwell 332 Magazine Covers

Norman Rockwell 332 Magazine Covers By Christopher Finch Size: 11 x 13", 400 pages 332 full-color illustrations.

This beautiful album of Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers, painted between 1916 and 1963. All of his Post covers are reproduced in splendid full color in this oversized volume, with commentaries by Christopher Finch, the noted writer on art and popular culture. It captures everyday events and historic moments in American history. 332 of these cover paintings, from beloved classics like "Marbles Champion" to lesser-known gems like "Feeding Time," are reproduced in stunning full color in this large-format volume, which is sure to be treasured by art lovers everywhere.

It is available here.

Selected images:

The Art Student Post Cover • April 16, 1955 plate 310

The Toss Post Cover • October 21, 1950 plate 290

Walking to Church Post Cover • April 4, 1953 plate 301

Fishing Post Cover • August 3, 1929 plate 144