Religious Art in the Nineteenth Century in Europe and America

Article excerpt

General Religious Art in the Nineteenth Century in Europe and America. By Thomas Buser. Book 1 and Book 2. [Studies in Art and Religious Interpretation, Volumes 28a and 28b.] (Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press. 2002. Pp. xv, 242; iv, 243-566.)

Ordinarily one would start a review by giving attention to the content rather than the organization of the book. But inasmuch as reading it is made easier by being aware of the unity of the segments, let me start with organizational matters. While there are two bound books, the two are really one volume in pagination and in related content, with a rough chronology throughout. Then there is a listing of forty plates after the table of contents in each volume, with the plates themselves bunched together toward the middle of each book. Apparently because of some technical issues, the twelve color plates in each listing do not correspond easily with the listing of the plates. Hence, in Book 1, the color plates which are discussed first, are actually last in the listing of the plates. So, the first plates start with plate 13, while the twelve color plates follow after plate 40. In Book 2, the chronology is correct, but here, too, the color plates have no number. Knowing this arrangement can save time in seeing the unity of text and plates, which the reader would want to explore.

Buser is convinced that religious art is as fully present in nineteenth-century Europe and America as in any other period. …