Bonnie Gayle's Reviews > Sister Wendy's 1000 Masterpieces

Sister Wendy's 1000 Masterpieces by Wendy Beckett
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Jan 22, 09

bookshelves: non-fiction, reviewed, library-books, coffee-table-books
Read in January, 2009

A wonderful coffee table book, with colorful reproductions of art and Sister Wendy's comments...although rather unwieldy. It's huge.

It's set up alphabetically, with each artist getting a page, with 2 to 3 pictures on each page, each picture accompanied by Sister Wendy's comments. I'll now deconstruct point by point.

The alphabetical nature kind of got to me. I think it should have been divided by era or style, because having a postmodernist artist next to a baroque era artist on a 2 page spread was pretty jarring.

Limiting each artist to 1 page was pretty severe when it came to artists like Monet or Renoir (I just gave myself away as an Impressionist fan). I couldn't help thinking, 'well these 2 pictures are nice, but what about his Water-lilies, etc.' Of course, tastes vary, so it is very democratic to just say 1 page no matter what, instead of making some fans happy that such-and-such artist got more pages, and not another.

2-3 pictures per page, with comments, and a large blurb at the top of the page. Of course the book is quite large, but none the less, the pictures were way too small. Somewhere between the size of your palm, for the small ones, to your palm and fingers at the largest (I'm not good at guesstimating in inches). For some of the simpler pictures it was sufficient, but on the whole, the pictures really weren't big enough to see any of the details.

I loved her comments. I've never seen her show before, but she gave amazing insight into the pictures, with just a bare minimum of words. ...I have to say though, she's surprisingly randy for being a nun! The way she described some of the nudes (and especially prepubescent girls!?!) in the paintings was humorously shocking.

I have to end with a comment my Dad made after looking through the book during a visit. He said, "It's amazing how many of these artists are really good, but no one hears about them these days." With his words in mind, I also picked up on that when I looked through the book. Have you ever heard of Dosso Dossi, Caesar van Everdingen, Carel Fabritius, or Karel Dujardin? I know I haven't, but they're all quite good. In fact, it might actually be a great thing that each artist is limited to 1 page. Because of the breadth, this book works as a giant teaser, to help you find artists that you like, so you can then look up more of their artwork.
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message 1: by Lis (new)

Lis Did the stars look like the ones in Van Gogh's "Starry Night"?


Bonnie Gayle Now that would be funny. Nope--although I did actually think for a second, what if I had whacked myself hard enough to off myself? People would find me later and not have a clue what had happened. Like that CSI where it ended up the guy had choked on an ice cube.


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