Art & Architecture

A Personal Canon: Abigail McEwen on Five Influential Texts

Juan A. Martínez, Cuban Art and National Identity: The Vanguardia Painters, 1927-1950 (1994) In his classic account of Cuba’s historic vanguardia generation, Martínez developed a social history of modern Cuban art that remains a standard reference today. Published fifty years after the seminal exhibition, Modern Cuban Painters (Museum of Modern Art, 1944),

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A 16th-Century Portuguese Plan of a Moroccan Palace

Jonathan Bloom– While writing my book Architecture of the Islamic West: North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, I came across a citation about a 16th-century annotated plan of the royal palace in Marrakesh.  It had been inserted into a manuscript in the Escorial written in 1585 by the Trinitarian friar

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Reflections on Africans in Gothic Sculpture, part 2

Images of Justice and Power Jacqueline E. Jung — In the choir of Magdeburg Cathedral, the black Saint Maurice, carved and painted around 1250, stands with his co-patron Catherine as complementary opposites; together they indicate the plenitude of this Christian ecclesia in both its Militant and Triumphant aspects. (Read more

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Marriage in the Movies of Stanley Kubrick

David Mikics— We usually don’t remember that Stanley Kubrick made movies about marriage, but he did. Three of his films center on a married couple, and all of them are masterpieces: Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut. Kubrick had half a century of experience of married life, and

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A Personal Canon: Susan A. Phillips on Five Influential Texts

One of my favorite things in life is an accidentally curated small shelf of books in a place like a hotel or a break room. When I was thirteen, my family and I lived in Rome for a year and wound up in an apartment with just such a collection.

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The Historical Role of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas

Charles Rosen— Proust’s grandmother was a woman of extremely modest, unpretentious demeanour, who never ventured to contradict anyone’s literary judgement: But on matters of which the rules and principles had been taught her by her mother, on the way to cook certain dishes, to play the sonatas of Beethoven, and to

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Reflections on Africans in Gothic Sculpture, part 1

Saint Maurice in Magdeburg  Jacqueline E. Jung — The stunning sandstone sculpture of Saint Maurice made for Magdeburg Cathedral around 1250 – representing the fabled fourth-century leader of the Roman army’s Theban Legion, who allowed himself and his men to be killed for their embrace of the new Christian faith

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A Personal Canon: Elise Archias on Five Influential Texts

The art history I write and teach is stuck in the mid-century modern period across much of the globe–roughly 1945-1970–because those years saw the end of a “modern” way of thinking and the start of a contemporary, or some would still say “postmodern,” outlook. I want to go back and

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To Describe a Life by Darby English

A quotation from the French philosopher and political activist Simone Weil is the first thing the reader encounters upon starting chapter one of To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror by Professor Darby English. These words encapsulate the complex questions about self-identity, agency, and force that Darby English

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Anne Brigman, Photographer

Kathleen Pyne — In 1916 Georgia O’Keeffe received from the admiring New York photographer Alfred Stieglitz a group of photogravures he had published several years earlier.  These pictures of nudes bound to dying trees or frolicking in refreshing mountain waters provoked O’Keeffe, in her own words, to an “absurd” level

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