FAVORITE TEN ART BOOKS !!! BOOK ONE — BEKSINSKI


In the roughly twenty plus years I have been serious about collecting art books, graduating from early love affairs with Dali and Rubens and Caravaggio, to the most recent SPECTRUM editions, I have been lucky enough to sample and own some of the best art books by the best artists.

I recently started to think in terms of a top ten list.

Not top ten artists, but the art books that if all my others were lost to time, as all things eventually are, the ten that I would put in a safe deposit or a time capsule or bequeath to the National Library of Congress the way Thomas Jefferson did with his book collection.

The ten PHYSICAL, TACTILE books (not digital kindle bits, but physical item that is made art by its form as much as its content) that I believe should endure for generations not yet born.

The first book that came to mind on my very prejudicial list, is one of my older art books, and one of my most loved.

fantasticartbeksinski

THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI – This 1998 book was my, and the world’s, introduction to polish artist, surrealist, fantasist Zdislaw Beksinski. Produced by short lived but stellar publisher MORPHEUS INTERNATIONAL, as a kid who had grown up loving both the surrealism of Dali and the Baroque/heroic realism of Peter Paul Rubens and Caravaggio I saw something brilliant and haunting and both new and old and transcendent in the work of this, at the time, unknown artist.

I became a cheerleader and reseller of that book, I was that enamored of it. Here 17 years later, 15 years into a new century, other and bigger tomes on Beksinski have been produced, but to Morpheus International’s credit, their eye for book design, and use of quality paper and binding, has not only stood the test of time, but remains the finest book on Beksinski ever produced, and currently the only one I recommended. Highest Recommendation!

Get your copy here:

The Fantastic Art of Beksinski (Masters of Fantastic Art) Hardcover

Than come back for my selection of nine other… of the most essential, innovative, and beautiful art books!

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Artbook Review: MIDDLE EARTH:VISIONS OF A MODERN MYTH by Donato Giancola

Another art-book I wanted to give attention to is MIDDLE-EARTH:VISIONS OF A MODERN MYTH by Donato Giancola.

Now I have no interest in the subject matter, being not a fan of Tolkien’s mythology. I enjoyed the audio books well enough, and loved Peter Jackson’s first LORD OF THE RINGS film, while disliking the last two. And generally have no interest in the upcoming Hobbit movie. So yeah the subject matter of this art book leaves me cold, and had anyone else done it, I would have avoided the book.

However, Donato Giancola is an artist/painter of unrivaled, awe-inspiring talent, whose work yearly in the SPECTRUM Art Book, is always the most memorable and striking of a celebrated field. Unfortunately very few collections of his brilliant artwork is available, outside of his self published collections/chap books.

So any chance to see Donato’s Caravaggio/Classicist style in one place, in one book, in one quality hardcover book, is a collection to be sought after… and to attain.

Having done that with this book, while the subject matter still underwhelms, Donato’s artistry does not. It’s a wonderfully constructed tome, with a solid stitched binding, slipcover, and lavish glossy pages, deserving of showcasing Donato’s oils. It’s a scant 80 pages, with very little text, but the images speak for themselves.

Shifting between his penciled roughs, and his finished paints. Not all the drawings grab me (again my disinterest in the subject matter) but the ones that do… make the whole book worthwhile.

And did I mention the book smells great!? I’m a bibliophile, what can I say, things like smell and touch and presentation mean something to me. Yet another reason art-books have nothing to fear from digital. 🙂

So until there is a better collection of Giancola’s work available, for less than $25 this is not just an enjoyable purchase, but I think a must have one to any true fan of this artist. At these prices buy two. One to own, and one for resale value. :).

Final Grade: The subject matter is not my cup of tea, and the selections chosen are hit and miss, sometimes coming off as filler, but that said the ones that do work… work well, work majestically.,,, Are the stuff of modern myth. Recommended! B+!

Middle-Earth: Visions of a Modern Myth – Support this blog. Buy this item here and this blog gets a few pennies on every sale made through this link! Thanks!