Art and Architecture, Books for the News

Meyer Schapiro: The Norton Lectures

The October 30 issue of the New Republic features an article about several recent additions to the prodigious body of published works by the influential art historian Meyer Schapiro (1904-96), including his Romanesque Architectural Sculpture: The Charles Eliot Norton Lecture Series, edited by Linda Seidel. Though renowned for his critical essays on nineteenth- and twentieth-century painting, Schapiro also played a decisive role in defining the style of architecture known as the Romanesque. Schapiro has remained a highly esteemed yet mysterious figure of academia, widely known, but little read. However, as Jed Perl’s New Republic article notes, this new book promises to change that.
The book collects Shapiro’s lectures on Romanesque Architecture given in 1967 for the Norton Lecture Series at Harvard; lectures which have been acclaimed throughout academia for their verve and freshness. Perl writes that much like the works of art they take as their subject, “the pleasure of Schapiro’s lectures, though they were given in the late-modern 1960’s, are what might be called early modern pleasures: the pleasures of close looking, and of the search for unexpected ways to express the most self-evidently human experiences.… Linda Siedel, in editing the Norton Lectures, has preserved the movement of Schapiro’s speech, and it is a pleasure to listen in as he seizes an idea and expands on it.”
With this masterpiece of art history now available to a modern audience, Romanesque Architectural Sculpture promises to revitalize interest in the work of this important scholar and is sure to delight students and scholars of art history, as well as anyone interested in seeing a new side of Schapiro’s profoundly influential mind.