Reviews for Glittering Images : A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars

Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1
*Starred Review* Paglia, an ardent and often controversial defender of the arts and creative freedom, argued for the value of poetry in Break, Blow, Burn (2005). She now presents an equally commanding case for reclaiming the visual arts as a necessary and nurturing cultural force in a time of alarmingly diminished support for arts education. Given our "screen" habit, we are awash in a "sea of images," mostly commercial in origin, that threatens to drown our ability to focus and think critically. The best way to regain our visual acuity, Paglia believes, is to focus on paintings, sculpture, and the decorative arts within art's rich continuum. So this interdisciplinary firebrand and die-hard populist showcases 29 outstanding works, each representative of a certain style or period, beginning with a tomb painting of Queen Nefertari and working up to Andy Warhol's portraits of Marilyn Monroe. Paglia's succinct, lively, and illuminating essays combine aesthetics and social considerations as she recalibrates our perception of, say, Renaissance artist Donatello's "harsh and imposing" depiction of Mary Magdalene, or Jamaican American performance artist Renee Cox's Chillin' with Liberty. The book's climax is Paglia's bound-to-be-inflammatory assertion that filmmaker George Lucas is "the world's greatest artist." Paglia's bold and rigorous, handsomely illustrated and welcoming art iconography will accomplish her mission to provoke, enlighten, and inspire. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Paglia always stirs things up with her daringly fresh approaches, and this image-rich invitation to debate will receive avid media attention. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2013 May
In Glittering Images, Paglia (Univ. of the Arts in Philadelphia) calls for a return to studying the classical, Western canon of art with the aim of providing an engaging introduction to the history of art for those who would otherwise lack access to it. Paglia seeks to promote "creative intelligence" in a world devoted to instantaneous communication and suspicious of fine art's value. To that end, this book offers a chronological survey of Western art beginning with ancient Egypt and ending in the contemporary moment with an analysis of a George Lucas film. Each of the 29 chapters begins with a description of a period or style and is followed by a lucid, engaging, even reverential description of a work that typifies its moment. In some chapters the chosen work is well known and in others, less known; some artworks will be unfamiliar to a general audience. Each chapter's approximately four-page analysis offers a thorough and at times new interpretation of a work of art. Though lacking footnotes and a bibliography, this book provides an excellent access point for a general audience and first-year students new to the history of art. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates. J. H. Noonan Caldwell College Copyright 2013 American Library Association.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #2
Critic/provocateur Paglia applies to the visual arts the same close scrutiny she lavished on poetry in Break, Blow, Burn (2005). Readers who have found the author grating in the past are advised to skip the introduction, which contains her usual rants against "the Marxist approaches that now permeate academe." Beyond this predictable prelude, however, lies an intelligently detailed examination of 29 works of art, ranging from a tomb painting of Egyptian Queen Nefertari to George Lucas' film Revenge of the Sith. (Yes, Paglia had to include one item to assert her hip openness to pop culture, but it's a minor irritant.) The author cogently locates individual pieces within a cultural continuum and eloquently spotlights the artistic qualities that make them unique. Each essay includes a full-page photo of the work in question. Paglia is especially good on classical art. The bronze sculpture The Charioteer of Delphi, for example, is nicely described as embodying "the Greek principle…which saw virtue and physical beauty as inseparably intertwined." Paglia's discussions of a medieval mosaic of St. John Chrysostom and the illuminated Book of Kells show her equally receptive to Catholic art, and an exegesis of Titian's Venus with a Mirror lovingly evokes the glories of Renaissance painting. Moving through romanticism, impressionism, surrealism and abstract expressionism--to name only a few highlights--Paglia gives a vivid sense of the sweep and scope of art history. The author loves pop art (Warhol's Marilyn Diptych), but sections on Eleanor Antin's 100 Boots and Walter De Maria's Lightning Field display a surprising fondness for conceptualism and minimalism as well. African-American artists get their due in essays on John Wesley Hardrick's sensitive portrait, Xenia Goodloe, and Renee Cox's witty Chillin' with Liberty. When she gets off her soapbox, Paglia is a wonderful popularizer of art history and art appreciation. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 May #1

The ever-provocative Paglia returns with a survey of Western art, captured in 24 essays that move from Egyptian tombs to Eleanor Antin's conceptual art project 100 Boots. In the end, she proclaims that the avant-garde is dead and that George Lucas is our greatest living artist. This will get the smart folks talking.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 July #5

We are living in an age of visual "vertigo" and "must relearn how to see," argues academic and critic Paglia (Sexual Personae) in this highly reflective and imaginative history of images in Western art. Paglia begins with the Luxor paintings of Queen Nefertiti's journey to the afterlife and ends with Revenge of the Sith by filmmaker George Lucas, who she argues is the greatest contemporary master of synthesizing art and technology. Intentionally organized as a devotional where the reader observes and contemplates one image at a time, Paglia traces the major periods of Western art image by image, so that each brief chapter could be a stand-alone essay. While some of Paglia's choices are somewhat predictable (Bernini's Chair of Saint Peter as an example of the baroque; David's Death of Marat for neo-classicism; Jackson Pollock's Green Silver as an example of abstract expressionism) her image choices for romanticism (The Sea of Ice by Caspar David Friedrich) and surrealism (The Portrait by René Magritte) are less so. Paglia writes with energetic lucidity, and her entries on the Laocoön and Donatello's Mary Magdalene are standouts in this absorbing volume. Both a valuable cultural critique and an elucidating history, Paglia's latest would suit the general reader, as well as those looking for an alternative approach to contemporary ways of seeing. Illus. Agent: Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.)

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