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A Dictionary of Art Titles: The Origins of the Names and Titles of 3,000 Works of Art
     

A Dictionary of Art Titles: The Origins of the Names and Titles of 3,000 Works of Art

by Adrian Room
 

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Titles of artworks can be misleading, and their relation to a painting or sculpture difficult to discern. Some titles require previous knowledge of history, religion or mythology. And some titles defy logic and seem to have little to do with the artwork.
This dictionary of 3,000 works of art explains the meaning behind the titles. The titles, mostly of

Overview

Titles of artworks can be misleading, and their relation to a painting or sculpture difficult to discern. Some titles require previous knowledge of history, religion or mythology. And some titles defy logic and seem to have little to do with the artwork.
This dictionary of 3,000 works of art explains the meaning behind the titles. The titles, mostly of paintings and sculpture, but also other media, are arranged by original title or English title (with French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian works usually given in their own language, and occasionally other works as well); each entry provides an English title when necessary, the artist's name, when known, the date of creation, the present location, and an explanation of the title. A bibliography and an index of artists are included.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
well suited for use in general and ready-reference collections as well as in more subject-specific collections of academic and public libraries
VOYA
information is brief and easily understood. [A] handy reference [that] would be especially useful in junior high or high school libraries
Reference Reviews
entries make fascinating reading, either for browsing or for answering a particular enquiry...an impressive range of modern artists and titles...meticulously researched and is likely to become an indispensable reference source
From the Publisher
“well suited for use in general and ready-reference collections as well as in more subject-specific collections of academic and public libraries”—Booklist; “information is brief and easily understood. [A] handy reference [that] would be especially useful in junior high or high school libraries”—VOYA; “entries make fascinating reading, either for browsing or for answering a particular enquiry...an impressive range of modern artists and titles...meticulously researched and is likely to become an indispensable reference source”—Reference Reviews; “authoritative and well documented...excellent. Recommended”—The Book Report; “indexes of artists and composers are complete”—Catholic Library World; “literary connections to the art are an outstanding feature”—ARBA.
VOYA - Voya Reviews
Why is Manet's Olympia called by this name? What does the title of Gauguin's Manao Tupapau mean? How do musical works come by their titles? Who named Beethoven's Emperor Concerto or Mozart's Jupiter Symphony? These two dictionaries provide vivid descriptions of various works of art and musical compositions in two-paragraph entries. Names and nicknames covered in Music range from the familiar to lesser-known works. Art discusses mainly paintings and sculptures but also includes modern performance art and video. Each entry begins with the title, the translation or foreign title, name of the composer or artist, the date of the first performance or composition for musical works, and the date of execution for works of visual art. Art also includes the present location of the work, usually by gallery or museum and city. Factual descriptive information about each work of art is detailed enough to explain, or if possible, rationalize its title. Readers might assume that composers title many works of music, but they also learn that titles are given by music publishers, as well as by the person to whom the work is dedicated. Cross-references offer easy access to all and provide translations into English of foreign language titles. Both titles contain bibliographies of composers and artists. Both dictionaries are excellent subject-specific resources. Information is brief and easily understood. These handy references would be especially useful in junior high or high school libraries. NOTE: This review was written to address two titles. Index. Biblio. 2000, McFarland, Ages 12 to Adult, 288p. PLB $55. Reviewer: Anne Liebst
Library Journal
A well-published toponymist and onomastician (that is, he is a wordsmith, not an art historian), Room has set out to clarify 3000 misleading titles of artworks. Pointing out that often a title requires previous knowledge, whether it be drawn from history, religion, mythology, or even the artist's, patron's, or subject's background, Room explains the meanings behind the titles. Focusing on paintings, though other media are occasionally discussed, he lists works alphabetically by title, sometimes in the original language (e.g., "D jeuner sur l'Herbe"). The entries vary widely in terms of length and type of information included. Some entries are fairly detailed and up to a half-page in length; others describe the piece as opposed to expounding on the title (the entry for William Etty's "The Deluge" simply states: "A young woman lies naked in the water that streams over and past her"). Hardly comprehensive, this book is in fact somewhat arbitrary in its choice of works, and it is certainly peculiar to discuss the title of an artwork without necessarily discussing the work itself. Bordering on the trivial, this work is perhaps suited to public libraries needing a quick reference. You could, for example, look up "The Scream" and quickly find a meaningful and informative discourse. But that could probably be found in other standard sources as well. A marginal purchase.--Jennifer L.S. Moldwin, Detroit Inst. of Arts Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
A British onomastician (authority on names) answers questions raised by artwork titles such as Duchamp's (in)famous painting in entries on 3,000 works, from (Friedrich, 1810; Charlottenburg Castle, Berlin) to (Chapman, 1995; Saatchi Collection, London). Entries give the English translation as necessary, artist's name, date of creation, present location, and explanation of the title. Alas, there is not a single illustration. Indexed by artist. Room also wrote the (McFarland, 1998). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786438891
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
08/26/2008
Pages:
294
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.59(d)

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Meet the Author

The late Adrian Room was a noted toponymist and onomastician. The author of more than 50 reference books about words and names, he lived in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England.

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