Thames & Hudson. Oct. 2018. 256p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500480236. $24.95. FINE ARTS
Showcasing objects from the British Museum's collection and arranging them thematically, art lecturer and writer Masters (Dalí; Windows in Art) shows links can be made between concepts, especially good and evil, and images from different times and geographic areas, as well as notable differences within one culture or time. Keen observation of nature is shown in the 100 CE Roman micromosaic of lobster, octopus, and fish. A 17th-century Japanese artist improved upon nature with his gilded sliding paper doors showing water fowl in the same location over the course of four seasons. From humble materials such as terra-cotta and wood to lavish presentations of gold, pearls, and precious gems, from adorable to terrifying, from naturalistic to fantastic, hybrids such as centaurs and anguipede figures with their snakelike legs, these beasts burst off the page showing the artists' relationship with their god(s) and fellow humans. With equal amounts of space devoted to the 268 images as to text, this title also offers further reading and illustration references.
VERDICT Animal lovers, artists, poets, and term paper writers seeking inspiration will find enjoyment or their muse in this book.
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