Review Of "Gothic Sculpture In America. Volume 1: The New England Museums" Edited By D. G. Garland

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This handsome volume--the collaborative product of a group of specialists--is the first in a series that will eventually catalog all monumental European Gothic sculpture carved in stone or wood now held in American public collections. Each of the 274 objects included in this initial installment (surveying all of New England except the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) is documented with a clear black-and-white photograph; basic data; a description of materials (including petrographic analysis when relevant and available), technique, condition, style, and subject; a concise but thorough art historical discussion; and a bibliography. The authors wisely included an appendix reproducing 35 pieces of "doubtful authenticity"; opinions could change. A fascinating introductory essay addresses "The Materials of Gothic Sculpture," concentrating on the way scientific study of stone and pigment aids art historical enterprise, and a brief but useful index sorts objects by sculptor, provenance, dealer, and subject. Much of the sculpture in this census is largely unknown to both scholars and amateurs, and most pieces deserve further art historical study. This important catalog should inspire and become the point of departure for such work. Essential for research libraries.


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