The titles of many art works are descriptive, naming the persons or scenes depicted. But close your eyes and picture L.H.O.O.Q., Tomorrow Is Never, or The Unthinkable. Suddenly the world of art is a more mysterious place, full of titles that evoke only questions (No Walk Today - why not? The Discovery - of what?)." "Some of those questions can be answered by looking at the works themselves. Other answers require some background in history or religion, or a knowledge of the artist's life." "Open A Dictionary of ...
The titles of many art works are descriptive, naming the persons or scenes depicted. But close your eyes and picture L.H.O.O.Q., Tomorrow Is Never, or The Unthinkable. Suddenly the world of art is a more mysterious place, full of titles that evoke only questions (No Walk Today - why not? The Discovery - of what?)." "Some of those questions can be answered by looking at the works themselves. Other answers require some background in history or religion, or a knowledge of the artist's life." "Open A Dictionary of Art Titles, and the world of art opens up for you. Noted name authority Adrian Room offers explanations of 3,000 titles from Abbey Under Oak Trees to Zygotic acceleration, biogenetic, desublimated libidinal model (enlarged x 1000), along with the artists' names, English translations where necessary, dates of creation, and present locations. An index and bibliography are also included.
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
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.\
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)