It’s difficult to imagine what the authors could have done to improve this marvelous guide.

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A sweeping, accessible historical survey of artistic iconography.

Visual art has always been pervaded by symbolic imagery, much of which would have been recognizable to historically contemporary viewers. But the same embedded meaning is largely unfamiliar to today’s audience, which is a barricade to more meaningful appreciation, according to authors Angel Rafael Colón and Patricia Ann Colón (co-authors: Tincture of Time: A Concise History of Medicine, 2013): “Most iconographic symbols, however, now appear arcane, unfathomable, begging for explication.” Only in the 19th century did iconology emerge as a formal field of study, but in such a prohibitively academic form, it’s of little use to the layperson. The authors cover the span of visual artistic production up until the 19th century, prior to the emergence of more abstract, less representational efforts. The first chapter covers Christian iconography; the majority of art between the 10th and 15th centuries displayed devotional themes. Chapter 2 talks about Western art in the Renaissance period, when mythology and allegory began to replace (or enact in a new setting) Christian themes; much of this art was saved from destruction by Arab scholars. The authors continue the theme of gradual secularization by examining the Dutch golden age, a period liberated from the need to depict Christian images in the wake of the Reformation. A fascinatingly morbid chapter explores the iconography associated with death and includes a particularly grim but gripping look at funereal depictions of deceased children. Finally, the Colóns include a discussion of what they call “iconographic erratics,” those pieces of art that defy conventional classification, like Francisco Goya’s El Tres de Mayo and Edvard Munch’s The Scream. The flawlessly clear writing is often charmingly lighthearted though just as consistently characterized by scholarly scrupulousness. The scope is dazzlingly broad, yet the treatment of any particular motif or artistic product never feels unsatisfyingly abridged. Also, the work abounds with hundreds of gorgeous photographs of art, meticulously parsed into their symbolic components and then carefully decoded.

It’s difficult to imagine what the authors could have done to improve this marvelous guide.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-80704-0

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Ingram

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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