Students Staff

Staff publications

Below is a selection of the publications by our Art History staff. See individual academic staff profiles for full lists of their publications or search our research repository.

  • Dawn Ades

    Book cover image of Dali's Opticial Illusion

    Dali’s Optical Illusions, Yale University Press, 2000

    Ade's book focuses on a central but relatively unexamined aspect of the work of Salvador Dali: his fascination with optical effects and visual perception. The book examines Dali’s use of various pictorial techniques, photography, and holograms to further his exploration of visual perception and the ways that optical illusion affects our sense of reality.

    Book cover image of Marcel Duchamp

    Dawn Ades (with Neil Cox and David Hopkins) Marcel Duchamp, Thames and Hudson, 1999

    Genius, anti-artist, charlatan, guru, impostor? Since 1914 Marcel Duchamp has been called all these. No artist of the twentieth century has aroused more passion and controversy, nor exerted a greater influence on art, whose very nature Duchamp challenged and redefined as concept rather than product by questioning its traditionally privileged optical nature. This book challenges received ideas, misunderstanding and misinformation.


    Book cover image of Art and Power

    Dawn Ades (with Tim Benton, David Elliott and Iain Boyd Whyte) Art and Power: Europe under the Dictators 1930-45, Thames and Hudson, 1996

    This survey provides an in-depth study of the relationship of art and power in what has been called the "Europe of the Dictators", between 1930 and 1945 - published as the catalogue for a major exhibition at the Hayward Gallery which opened in late 1995. This volume examines in essays, by some of today's leading art historians, the often uneasy relationship between art and power.


    Book cover image of Art in Latin America

    Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820-1980, Yale University Press and the South Bank Centre London, 1989

    This authoritative book presents the first continuous narrative history of Latin American art from the years of the Independence movements in the 1820s up to the present day. Exploring both the indigenous roots and the colonial and post-colonial experiences of the various countries, the book investigates fascinating though little-known aspects of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and also provides a context for the contemporary art of the continent.

  • Valerie Fraser

    Book cover image of Building the New World: Modern Architecture in Latin America

    Building the New World: Modern Architecture in Latin America, Verso, 2000

    This book focuses on major state-funded architectural projects, featuring not only the high-profile prestigious building like the House of Representatives in Barsilia but also social architecture such as schools and low-cost housing developments. It provides an introduction to the most important examples of state-funded modernism in Latin America during a period of almost unimaginable optimism, when politicians and architects saw architecture as, literally, a way of building themselves out of underdevelopment and into the new world of a culturally rich and socially inclusive future.

    Book cover image of The Architecture of Conquest: Building in the viceroyalty of Peru 1535-1635

    The Architecture of Conquest: Building in the viceroyalty of Peru 1535-1635, Cambridge University Press, 1990

    The Architecture of Conquest deals with the practice and ideology of colonial architecture in Latin America, referring particularly to the Viceroyalty of Peru during the period 1535-1635. Colonial building has generally been regarded as being merely a provincial reflection of mainstream European art, but Valerie Fraser argues that, on the contrary, it had its own distinct identity, and that architectural projects were a powerful tool in the subjugation of the native peoples of South America by the Spaniards.

    Book cover image of Drawing the Line: Art and Cultural Identity in Contemporary Latin America

    Valerie Fraser (with Oriana Baddeley), Drawing the Line: Art and Cultural Identity in Contemporary Latin America, Verso, 1989

    The authors examine some key issues affecting artistic production, among them geography and changing borders, politics, the colonial past, race, and sexism. This text offers discussions of artists and their cultural climate that are likely to spark new ideas for further research. This book brings modern Latin American art to a more richly developed point than Gilbert Chase's basic monograph Contemporary Art in Latin America (1969).

  • Margaret Iversen

    Book cover image of Chance

    Chance, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, 2010

    Chance is one of a series documenting major themes and ideas in contemporary art. The spontaneous, unexpected or random event is a vital component in numerous works of Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus and conceptual photography. And the camera snapshot seems intrinsically implicated in the workings of chance. This anthology analyses the meaning of these strategic spaces of uncertainty, poised between intention and outcome, and provides a new critical context for chance procedures in art since 1900.

    Book cover image of Writing Art History: Disciplinary Departures

    Margaret Iversen (with Stephen Melville), Writing Art History: Disciplinary Departures, The University of Chicago Press, 2010

    Faced with an increasingly media-saturated, globalized culture, art historians have begun to ask themselves challenging and provocative questions about the nature of their discipline. Why did the history of art come into being? Is it now in danger of slipping into obsolescence? Margaret Iversen and Stephen Melville address these questions by exploring some assumptions at the discipline's foundation. Their project is to excavate the lost continuities between philosophical aesthetics, contemporary theory, and art history.

    Book cover image of Photography after Conceptual Art

    Margaret Iversen (with Diarmuid Costello), Photography after Conceptual Art, Wiley, 2010

    Photography After Conceptual Art presents a series of original essays that address substantive theoretical, historical, and aesthetic issues raised by post-1960s photography as a mainstream artistic medium. Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2011, this book tracks the efflorescence of photography as one of the most important mediums for contemporary art and explores the relation between recent art, theory and aesthetics.


    Beyond Pleasure: Freud, Lacan, Barthes

    Beyond Pleasure: Freud, Lacan, Barthes, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007

    In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud observed that the life-enhancing pleasure principle seems disrupted by something internal to the psyche. He took into account the possibility of a 'death instinct' bent on returning the living organism to its origin of undifferentiated matter. In Beyond Pleasure: Freud, Lacan, Barthes, Margaret Iversen uses the writing of Freud, Lacan, the Surrealists, and Roland Barthes to elaborate a theory of art beyond the pleasure principle.

    Book cover image of Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory

    Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1993

    This is the first general introduction to the work of the celebrated Austrian who brought complex philosophical considerations to bear on art and its history. Ranging easily over diverse fields and among a large group of thinkers, Margaret Iversen establishes Riegl's relevance to recent critical thinking while clearly delineating his extraordinary critical powers. She is equally concerned to relate Riegl's work to contemporary theoretical interests, arguing that he pioneered an approach to art history that took into consideration the role of the spectator.

  • Jules Lubbock

    Book cover image of Storytelling in Christian Art from Giotto to Donatello

    Storytelling in Christian Art from Giotto to Donatello, Yale University Press, 2006

    Recounting the biblical stories through visual images was the most prestigious form of commission for a Renaissance artist. In this book Lubbock examines some of the most famous of these pictorial narratives by prominent artists including Giovanni Pisano, Giotto, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Masaccio. The author explains how artists portrayed biblical events so as to be easily recognizable and, at the same time, to captivate the viewer long enough to encourage the search for deeper meanings.

    Book cover image of The Tyranny of Taste: The Politics of Architecture and Design in Britain 1550-1960

    The Tyranny of Taste: The Politics of Architecture and Design in Britain 1550-1960, Yale University Press, 1995

    How do countries acquire their distinctive features and appearance, their look or style? In this stimulating book, Lubbock answers this question by focusing on Britain, with its characteristic terraced houses, Georgian squares, postwar slab blocks, and Victorian floral ornamentation. Lubbock traces the fierce debates over consumerism, good design, and town planning that have raged in Britain since the Elizabethan period, investigating how the design of buildings and possessions, domestic as well as official, becomes an issue of public policy and controversy.

  • Caspar Pearson

    Book cover image of Humanism and the Urban World

    Humanism and the Urban World: Leon Battista Alberti and the Renaissance City, Pennsylvania University Press, 2011

    In Humanism and the Urban World, Caspar Pearson offers a profoundly revisionist account of Leon Battista Alberti's approach to the urban environment as exemplified in the extensive theoretical treatise De re aedificatoria (On the Art of Building in Ten Books), brought mostly to completion in the 1450s, as well as in his larger body of written work.

  • Thomas Puttfarken (1943 - 2006)

    Book cover image of Titian and Tragic Painting

    Titian and Tragic Painting, Yale University Press, 2005

    Puttfarken shows that the often dramatic and violent subject matter of these works was not, as is often argued, the consequence of the artist’s increasing age and sense of isolation and tragedy. Rather, these paintings were influenced by discussions of Aristotle’s Poetics that permeated learned discourse in Italy in the mid-sixteenth century.


    Book cover image of The Discovery of Pictorial Composition

    The Discovery of Pictorial Composition: Theories of Visual Order in Painting 1400-1800, Yale University Press, 2000

    Puttfarken examines how pictorial composition and attitudes toward it changed between the early Renaissance and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Before 1600, a painting's overall composition was hardly ever discussed. As far as art theory and criticism were concerned, pictorial composition was a 'discovery' of the seventeenth century


  • Sarah Symmons

    Book cover image of Goya: A Life in Letters

    Goya: A Life in Letters, Pimlico, 2004

    From an early age Goya was anxious to preserve a record of his life, but few of his writings have survived and his most personal records appear in his letters. He corresponded regularly with the aristocracy and the monarchy, as well as with friends. His surviving letters reveal a highly emotional man, prepared to state his feelings as passionately to the authorities of a cathedral as to a close friend. His letters make few concessions and are literary works in their own right. Uniquely individual, they signal a new attitude on the part of a fine artist towards his profession, his social position and his sources of inspiration.

    Book cover image of Goya (Art and Ideas)

    Goya (Art and Ideas), Phaidon, 1998

    This is a study of Goya whose work ranges from elegant and opulent royal portraits to dark depictions of horror and evil. This book places Goya within the context of his Spanish heritage, traces the immense influence of his work throughout Europe and considers the continued relevance of his art in the twentieth century. It draws on the most recent scholarship and on re-discovered works to create a comprehensive portrait of this most complex and enigmatic of artists.

  • Peter Vergo

    Book cover image of The Music of Painting

    The Music of Painting. Music, Modernism and the Visual Arts from the Romantics to John Cage, Phaidon, 2010

    Composers and artists have always borrowed from each other. Peter Vergo, for the first time, offers an in-depth study of how and why, in the modernist era, music and painting became intertwined. How artists attempted to translate musical rhythms, and structures into painting and how musicians developed visual themes, all within the backdrop to modernism, as time of huge change in freedoms, industry, expression, ideological frameworks, and artistic practice.

    Book cover image of That Divine Order: Music and the Visual Arts from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century

    That Divine Order: Music and the Visual Arts from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century, Phaidon, 2005

    Ever since antiquity, philosophers have pointed to the supposed divine' character of music, and have posited a link between the mathematical order of music, the physical order of the universe and the moral order of human society. Vergo makes direct and detailed comparisons between musical and pictorial practices and also provides a broad analysis of changes in the character of the analogies drawn at different times, using in his analyses critical and philosophical sources as well as evidence about artistic and musical practice.

    Book cover image of Art in Vienna 1898-1918

    Art in Vienna 1898-1918: Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele and Their Contemporaries, Phaidon, 1994

    he artistic stagnation of Vienna at the end of the nineteenth century was rudely shaken by the artists of the Secession. Their works at first shocked a conservative public; but their successive exhibitions, their magazine Ver Sacrum, and their application to the applied arts and architecture soon brought them an enthusiastic following and wealthy patronage. This book traces the course of this development, of the Wiener Werkstatte that followed, and the individual works of the artists concerned.