If you’re in need of a reading recommendation for the summer, you’ve come to the right place! Check out our latest staff selection. Happy summer — and happy reading!
Reviewed by Kate Goldkamp, curatorial assistant, Archives and Special Collections
As an art history major in college, I had to take a course on different eras and methodologies in the world of art. I’m sure The Books That Shaped Art History (Thames & Hudson, 2013) would have been included on the class syllabus had it been available at the time. The volume contains a series of essays that examine important books and their influence on art history scholarship. Ranging in date from 1898 to 1990, the works cover a variety of subjects, from general art history to specialized monographs.The essays point out how each book was important for its time while also noting criticisms both from the period of publication and at later dates.
I very much enjoyed revisiting some important texts (I recommend the chapters on Erwin Panofsky and Michael Baxandall), but you don’t need to have read all of the titles listed to get something out of the book. Indeed, this is a good place to start if you are curious about the subject of art history and its development. Also of note are the bibliographical essays on significant scholars, along with publication histories and lists for further reading.