Landi, currently a contributing editor to ArtNews, has edited a slim, expensive encyclopedia aimed at high school and beginning college students. Although the set consists of four volumes, it totals only 851 pages. In contrast, the recent sixth edition of H.W. Janson's survey text, History of Art, totals 997 pages and costs a mere $95. What, then, are we paying for? Good-quality paper, 300 color illustrations (though Janson does have 865), and an excellently designed reference tool. Also, unlike many art surveys, the Schirmer Encyclopedia is not completely Eurocentric; art from non-Western countries abounds. Some 400 entries (including 300 biographies) run from a few paragraphs to a few pages in length and are clearly written; small caps within the text indicate cross references. The best feature is the layout, particularly the inclusion of definitions in the three-inch margins (an asterisk in the text marks words that are defined). Volume 4 contains both a cumulative index and a "Suggested Resources" section (which includes both online resources and a topically arranged bibliography). This encyclopedia does its job well and is suitable for its intended audience. The price, however, is a problem. Many libraries may prefer to spend the $345 on some less expensive art dictionaries and art survey texts, particularly those that cover art outside of the Western tradition. Recommended with reservations for libraries with a younger clientele in need of a well-illustrated, easy-to-use, basic resource about art history; academic libraries owning Grove's Dictionary of Art can probably pass. Cynthia A. Johnson, Barnard Coll. Lib., New York
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Author Landi writes that this introductory work responds to increased interest in the visual arts and in visual culture in general. The set is accessible in an A-Z format and is appropriate for students in middle school through high school, as well as general readers. There are 300 biographies of artists and 100 topical articles that cover eras (Greek art, Mayan art); movements (Cubism, Surrealism ); and genres (Photography, Stained glass). Information is supplemented with many interesting sidebar articles. Art terms (plein air, triptych, ziggurat) are defined in the margins of pages where they are used. Cross-references, volume indexes, and a cumulative index make use of the set easy. Color reproductions of artworks are good. The especially strong bibliography of suggested resources, including Web sites, is subdivided by subject.
The set reflects new thinking about art, for example, the amplification of art formerly termed "primitive" and the inclusion of artists and schools outside the Western mainstream. An attempt is made to place art in its historical context, with descriptions of the political, religious, and cultural climate--the article on Mary Cassatt, to take one example, emphasizes restraints on women's freedom that she faced.
This attractive set is recommended for high-school and public libraries. For a similar audience, Oxford's six-volume Encyclopedia of Artists: From Andrea Del Sarto to Zurburan [RBB My 1 01] concentrates on Western art, covering 222 artists as well as movements and styles. RBB
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Book Description Schirmer, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0028654145
Book Description Schirmer, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # INGM9780028654140