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342 Books Goddess' (Item No. 41) 'striking a provocative pose'. Nevertheless, Pal's Preface is a very useful one; it explains concisely the different conceptual backgrounds of the iconographies , stressing at the same time their common points. He indicates the distinctiveness of the art traditions of the various Asiatic cultures, however much they owed their root ideas to India. He also demonstrates how local cultural traits and conventions of art practice cut across religious and iconographic classifications, inviolable as they may seem. His notes, too, are illuminating and show a sensitive spirit, as when he compares the human warmth of the northern Indian stone relief 'Siva and Parvati' (Item No. 39) to the hieratic delicacy of the southern Indian bronze on the same theme (Item No. 69) and points out the highly abstract choreographic subtlety of the latter, and he also explains the stylistic transition in three south Indian bronzes of common iconography (Item No. 66) and three Sri Lankan Buddhas (Item No. 91). This is a publication that many can profit from and cherish. The Graphic Work of Max Klinger. Introduction and Notes by J. Kirk Varndoe with Elizabeth Streicher. Dover, New York, 1977. 99 pp., illus. Paper, $5.00, Reviewed by Stephen Calloway * For those who know the prints of Max Klinger this selection in a volume of the splendid Dover Art Collection series will be most welcome. It provides the best survey of the extraordinary graphic works of an artist whose reputation outside Germany rests almost entirely on the suite of etchings 'A Glove' of 1881. Unfortunately, the well-known 'Abduction of the Glove' from that series has been widely reproduced to the virtual exclusion of other works by Klinger, and an interpretation of it as a proto-surrealist statement embodying Freudian sexual symbolism has become a commonplace. This cliche has tended to obscure the real and varied nature of Klinger's achievement , and it is sad that the present volume is in some ways content to follow this simplistic interpretation, relying heavily on the identification of genital and fetishistic symbolism to explain the complex system of allusion and iconography with which Klinger delights to play. The Introduction is not, therefore, a fully balanced account of Klinger's art for, whilst it contains a good analysis of his influence on artists such as Munch and Kollwitz, it lacks historical perspective. Much more needs to be said about the debt Klinger owes to the German grotesque and macabre tradition of the 16th century, a tradition still lively in the 19th in the work of Runge, whose border designs, derived from the Diireresque Randzeichnung, invite comparison with many of Klinger's depictions. Klinger too follows Alfred Rethel in his use of ancient themes to point to the morals of his time. Rethel's series 'Auch einen Todentanz' (1848) must have influenced him in the use of the 'Dance of Death' theme as a comment on the politics of the day. Among Klinger's contemporaries and immediate predecessors , Menzel, the well-known German illustrator of the 19th century, and the English illustrators of the 1860swere important in the formation of his style. His prints often share that unpleasant mechanical effect that mars much of the graphic work of the period, but, in some cases, the very complexity of technique and mixture of texture in a dipiction positively enhances and heightens the bizarreness or the incongruity of the subject, as in the 'Brahms Fantasies'. The techniques are admirably explained in a special note and the catalogue and notes to the illustrations are informative and readable. There is an up-to-date bibliography. Since the volume is primarily a visual anthology, I must say that the illustrations are not as clear as might be hoped, but the prints are not easy to reproduce and at the price the volume is an excellent introduction to an artist of some importance. There remains one general consideration raised by the "Dept. of Prints and Drawings, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, S.W.7, England. plates. It is a point to which I have had occasion to allude before in Leonardo and concerns the reproduction of original prints in art books. It is the practice of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
p. 342
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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