Apollo Magazine

Shortlist: Book of the Year

The Apollo Book of the Year Award recognises publications that have contributed significantly to their field

The Apollo Book of the Year Award recognises publications that have contributed significantly to their field, both advancing scholarly research and extending its public reach. The winner will be announced in the December issue of Apollo. Find out more about the Apollo Awards 2014.

The Book of Miracles
Till Holger-Borchert and Joshua P. Waterman (eds.)
Taschen, £99.99

The recently rediscovered Book of Miracles is an illustrated manuscript, created in Augsburg in around 1550 and made up of striking large-format illustrations of miraculous phenomena and apocalyptic visions. This facsimile edition reproduces the entire codex, and is accompanied by a thorough historical introduction as well as a complete transcript of the enigmatic text.

Religious Poverty, Visual Riches
Joanna Cannon
Yale University Press, £45

The richly ornamented Dominican buildings of late medieval Italy stood in contrast to the austere lifestyle of the members of the order. In this exceptional study, frescoes and panels by the likes of Duccio and Giotto are examined in the context of their original surroundings – the illuminated choir books, crucifixes, goldsmiths’ work, tombs and stained glass that complemented them.

The Self-Portrait: A Cultural History
James Hall
Thames and Hudson, £24.95

There are surprisingly few full-scale surveys of a genre that has been part of visual culture since the Middle Ages. In this lucid and frequently entertaining book, James Hall discusses medieval manuscript illustrators, advances in mirror technology and self- portraiture in sculpture, as well as more familiar topics, such as the role of the ‘self’ in the 19th century.

A Strange Business: Making Art and Money in Nineteenth-Century Britain
James Hamilton
Atlantic Books, £25

In this fascinating and wide-ranging book, James Hamilton explores the roles played by new kinds of dealers, collectors and patrons in a society that was changing rapidly in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. As he turns to subjects as varied as pigment production and artists’ finances, a recognisably modern art market begins to emerge.

Medieval and Renaissance Sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum (three vols.)
Jeremy Warren
Ashmolean Museum Publications, £395

Jeremy Warren’s catalogue is a tour de force of scholarly writing, offering wide-ranging and often original insights without sacrificing attention to detail. The museum’s numerous superb bronzes emerge as highlights among the individual entries, but the real strength of the catalogue is its interest and coherence as a whole.

Which is your book of the year? Let us know in the comments…

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