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Articles in the March 2011 issue of The Art Bulletin, the leading publication of international art-historical scholarship, examine a range of topics that include the Bocca della Verità in Rome and German painting and Czech Cubism. Two additional essays and a collection of important book reviews round out the issue, which has been mailed to all individual CAA members who elect to receive the journal, and to all institutional members.

In “The Mouth of Truth and Forum Boarium,” Fabio Barry evaluates the Bocca della Verità in Rome from numerous perspectives to recover its origin as an antique drain cover in the form of the god Oceanus, relating the Bocca to the myth of the Romanized Hercules from the reign of Hadrian. Moving to modern times, Eleanor Moseman uses the case study of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Bohumil Kubiša to explore the relation of German painting and Czech Cubism, revealing “style” as a central issue in the international dialogue of the visual arts of early-twentieth-century Central Europe.

Two essays focus on historical Chinese art and culture. In “The Buddha’s Finger Bones at Famensi and the Art of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism,” Robert H. Sharf argues that the “finger bone” relics of the Buddha, discovered in 1987 in a crypt beneath the Famensi (Dharma Gate Monastery) in Shaanxi Province, China, could be considered as “art.” For her contribution, Jeehee Hong examines the peddler as a skeletal puppeteer in Li Song’s thirteenth-century painting, The Skeletons’ Illusory Performance, to unveil a midimperial Chinese visual commentary on the relations among performance, the everyday world, and death.

In the Reviews section, Robert S. Nelson surveys several books on art, architecture, and urbanism in the Turkish capital from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, including Shirine Hamadeh’s The City’s Pleasures: Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century and Murat Gül’s The Emergence of Modern Istanbul. Stephen J. Campbell examines the understudied field of Renaissance portrait medals through a recent book and a two-volume catalogue, while Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom consider the implications of Finbarr Barry Flood’s Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval “Hindu-Muslim” Encounter, a book about the material culture of the region from western Afghanistan to northern India from the eighth to the thirteenth century. Last, Kirk Ambrose reviews the English translation of Friedrich Kittler’s Optical Media: Berlin Lectures 1999, a theoretical study of visuality and technology that considers such topics as Renaissance perspective, photography, film, and television, and the computer.

Please read the full table of contents for more details. The next issue, to be published in June 2011, will feature essays on Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Edgar Degas, and Philip Guston.

Filed under: Art Bulletin, Publications