BE -- Fine Arts

Metzler-Lexikon Kunstwissenschaft: Ideen, Methoden, Begriffe [Metzler Dictionary of Fine Arts Scholarship: Ideas, Methods, Terms]. Ed. Ulrich Pfisterer. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2003. viii, 410 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-476-01880-6: EUR 39.95 [05-1-127]

This publication calls into question what a subject lexicon is and what one should expect from it, in particular from a single-volume one. This work falls short, causing confusion more than anything else. The topical breakdown is not what one anticipates in such a lexicon; perhaps the subtitle "ideas, methods, terms" is an attempt to justify the discrepancies. The introduction tries to explain that what is actually meant is art history, but not in the traditional sense, so all expectations go out the window. The selection of entries seems arbitrary, as the terms, chosen from art history, method, style and aesthetics, do not seem to have any relationship to one another. For example, there is an entry for "postmodern" but not for "modern." It is also questionable why there is a detailed article on "journals" and their significance for the art history world, which seems a bit of a luxury in a one-volume work. In spite of the fact that some articles are interesting and enlightening, it never becomes clear for what one would use this particular reference work. It is aggravating to find a term but not its context or its reference, a fatal flaw in a lexicon. [ak/hh]

Die Kunstbibliothek Bernhard August von Lindenaus: Katalog [The Art Library of Bernhard August von Lindenau: A Catalog]. Comp. Klaus Jena. Altenburg: Lindenau-Museum, 2002. 411 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-86104-044-1: EUR 28 (paperback), EUR 38 (hardback) [05-1-132]

The Lindenau Museum in Altenburg (Thuringia) bears the name of its founder, Bernhard August von Lindenau (1779-1854), who was an astronomer, Saxon statesman, representative at talks regarding German unification, art collector, and patron. The outstanding feature of the museum is its rich collection of early Italian panel paintings that Lindenau gathered on trips to Italy and later supplemented through purchases by agents abroad and in Dresden. Yet when Lindenau made his treasures available to the public in 1848, he called his art library the most valuable portion of his collections. The history of the library, which was expanded further after the death of its founder, is described by entries from the museum director (p. 6-7) and cataloger (p. 8-10). A subsequent chronology (p. 11-14) gives bibliographic and catalog details. Although the entire holdings have been added to the database of the Southwest German Library Consortium (Südwestdeutscher Bibliothekverbund, SWB), this catalog limits itself to the original holdings of the Lindenau library within a systematic scheme devised between 1877 and 1879. The particular accomplishment of the catalog consists of often expansive copy-specific annotations on such features as provenance (with quotes from Lindenau’s correspondence or from archival registers), acquisition modalities, dedications, and so forth. Name and short-title indices within the body of the catalog are followed in the appendix by a short secondary bibliography and a conspectus of the systematic catalog scheme. Proof that the museum has moved beyond the holdings of its founder exists in form of a catalog of graphic works and illustrated books from the first three decades of the 20th century, discussed earlier in RREA 7:147. [sh/rdh]

Ornamentale Vorlagenwerke des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts: ein Bestandskatalog der Kunstbibliothek [Ornamental Print Sources of the 19th Century: Catalog Listings for the Art Library]. Comp. Joachim Brand for the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Ed. Bernd Evers. Berlin: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 2000. xviii, 780 p. ill. 30 cm. (Sammlungskataloge der Kunstbibliothek). ISBN 3-88609-404-9: EUR 143.20 [05-1-133]

The art library of the Prussian State Cultural Museums in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz) had its 19th-century origins in the library of the Berlin Industrial Trades Museum (Berliner Gewerbemuseum). As such, it served to advance trades and crafts within the applied arts as well as fine arts. Collections of visual print models helped to serve these purposes. This catalog identifies and thoroughly describes 3,119 prints from the time period of approximately 1830 to 1914 in 11 categories, which are subdivided further as needed. Ignoring the general and the non-European categories, these include Ornamentation; Arts and Crafts; Architecture; Interior Design and Decorative Painting; Sculpture; Nature Studies; Art Instruction; Script and Printing; Photography and Commercial Art; Heraldry. By far the greatest attention goes to Arts and Crafts, which is subdivided alphabetically into the materials used—from flowers to textile, from pastry to baskets. The exemplary organization from broader to narrower concepts proves to be the only sensible one for such a catalog. A number of indices provide access to personal and corporate names, keywords, and titles from the main entries, but no provision is made for names and titles within the annotations, which is unfortunate. Very notable, on the other hand, are the numerous illustrations—sometimes in color and sometimes filling the entire page. This catalog earns the designation of a standard work, the sort of work that cannot be replaced by a mere listing of titles in the Internet. [sh/rdh]

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Last update: March 2009 [BG]
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