Cover image for Cosmos : from Romanticism to the avant-garde
Cosmos : from Romanticism to the avant-garde
Clair, Jean, 1940-
Publication Information:
Montreal, Quebec : Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ; Munich ; New York : Prestel, 1999.
Physical Description:
396 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 32 cm
General Note:
Catalog of the exhibition held at the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, June 17-Oct. 17, 1999 and at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Nov. 23, 1999-Feb. 20, 2000.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6490.C62 C67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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From Galileo to Yves Klein the cosmos has been the inspiration for generations of artists, architects and designers. Their multifacetted cosmic visions are the subject of this original volume.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Envisioning and depicting the universe are the work of artists as well as scientists, and painters and sculptors have been profoundly inspired by science's revelations. This association is explored in this lavish and eye-opening volume, which traces the symbiotic relationship between science and art over the course of the last century-and-a-half. The contributors, an international cast of science and art historians, chronicle the cultural shift from romanticism's infatuation with the sublime to a "sacred terror" aroused by the increasingly sophisticated technologies that have brought nature's complexity into paradigm-altering focus. Two key scientists are cited for their aesthetic import, the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769^-1859), whose treatise Cosmos stirred the imaginations of the landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church and the modern artist Max Ernst, and the astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble (1889^-1953), whose role in advancing knowledge of the stars has spurred so many artists, from Joan Miroto Vija Celmins. Four hundred images, accompanied by stimulating commentary, chart the evolution of our visions of the cosmos in a truly galactic array. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

Suggestive of an old-fashioned cabinet of curiosities, this miscellany of 375 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, books, maps, scientific instruments, astronaut gear, and natural objects (fossils, seashells, and meteorites) are solemnly assembled to explore how science's viscous frontiers have been interpreted by artists in the last two centuries. The ambitious catalog, which accompanies a millennium exhibition in Montreal and Barcelona, is divided into six sprawling sectionsÄall of which might have worked better as more focused separate shows. Combining American manifest destiny with Polar exploration, moonscapes, current interstellar constructs, and imaginary cosmologies will tax even the most science-steeped reader. Works are described in detail, and artists receive short biographies and bibliographies. Overall, an impressive, if audacious and intimidating, tour de force. For large public and academic libraries.ÄRussell T. Clement, Univ. of Tennessee Lib., Knoxville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Cosmos, the catalog to the exhibition of the same name shown in Montreal and Barcelona, is an excellent introduction and richly provocative examination of how exploration and science affected creative imagination and aesthetic sensibility over the past 200 years. Clair (chief curator, Musee Picasso, Paris), editor of The 1920s: Age of the Metropolis (1991) and organizer, with Pierre Theberge, of Lost Paradise: Symbolist Europe (1995), defines the parameters of the discussion in the introductory essay "From Humboldt to Hubble." The other 13 essayists consider facets of what may be called the scientific sublime, including 19th-century landscapes in Europe and America, early photography of the moon, imaginary fantasies of the early-20th-century modernism, and the infinite cosmologies of today. Though the essays are wide-ranging and stimulating, the illustrations of the works in the exhibition are merely adequate and maddeningly difficult to find when reading the essays. The comparative illustrations are too often less than helpful, frequently looking like bad reproductions done on a primitive photocopier. However, the compilers include short biographies of each artist, which is quite useful since a number of the artists are obscure. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. Houghton; Cincinnati Art Museum