Enfilade

Prints of War

Posted in books, exhibitions, reviews by Editor on August 24, 2009

612rHD2y+oL._SS500_James Clifton, Leslie Scattone, Emine Fetvaci, Ira Gruber, and Larry Silver, The Plains of Mars: European War Prints, 1500-1825, from the collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation (Yale University Press), 254 pages, $65 (hardback) ISBN 9780300137224

Last week’s Art Newspaper includes a review by Alexander Adams of The Plains of Mars, the catalogue from a show that appeared at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston earlier this year, February 7 – May 10, 2009.

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Editors have organised a diverse spectrum of material into themes, within which prints are sequenced chronologically. The catalogue section is preceded by enlightening essays dealing with the imagery of the Landsknecht (German mercenary of the 15th to 17th centuries), the recurrence of the Turk—as symbol of alien despotism and the exotic Orient—and the mixture of pictorial, cartographic and topographic modes in war prints. A concise survey by Professor Gruber deftly covers military developments in conflicts of this period. The catalogue section, complete with comparative figures, includes extensive commentaries necessary to contextualise individual prints . . .

The Plains of Mars presents a wealth of socially and historically important sources (some of them great artistic achievements) in a clear and authoritative fashion. A glossary, index and biographical notes of all featured artists conclude this impressive volume.

Read the full review at The Art Newspaper