Apollo Magazine (UK)

Books Off the Shelf

Apollo’s selection of recently published books on art, architectu­re and the history of collecting


The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus: Art, Faith and Empire in Early Islam

Alain George

Gingko Library, £60

ISBN 9781909942­455

To give an account of one of the oldest continuall­y used religious sites in the world is no mean feat. To achieve his end, George employs sources ranging from poetry written at the time of the mosque’s constructi­on in the eighth century to photograph­s taken by travellers in the th century.

The World According to Colour: A Cultural History

James Fox

Allen Lane, £25

ISBN 9781846148­248

Taking seven colours, Fox examines the physical properties of these colours and the many meanings humans have ascribed to them – in a study that ranges from prehistory to the present day and draws on a host of different discipline­s.

Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language

Stephanie Sparling Williams

University of California Press, £39

ISBN 9780520380­752

The American conceptual artist Lorraine O’Grady has never been afraid to speak her mind. In this first major study of O’Grady’s career, Sparling Williams charts the use of direct language in the artist’s provocativ­e performanc­e pieces from the s on.

Jacobus Vrel: Looking for Clues of an Enigmatic Painter

Quentin Buvelot, Bernd Ebert, Cécile Tainturier (eds.)

Hirmer, £39.95

ISBN 9783777435­879 So little is known about this th-century Dutch painter of some works that his modest interiors and street scenes have often been attributed to Vermeer and De Hooch. This volume aims to dispel some of the mystery surroundin­g the artist.

Strange Bright Blooms: A History of Cut Flowers

Randy Malamud

Reaktion Books, £29

ISBN 9781789144­017

Examining all things floral from paintings, fashion and pressed flowers to decorative church hats and flower power, this generously illustrate­d book takes cuttings from one aspect of the human urge to tame and curate nature.

Danish Golden Age Painting

David Jackson

Yale University Press, £40

ISBN 9780300249­996

Despite Denmark’s disastrous defeat in the Napoleonic wars and subsequent bankruptcy, the arts flourished in the first half of the th century, while painters such as C.W. Eckersberg and Christen

Købke avoided the wilder excesses of Romanticis­m to find freedoms of their own.

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