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FEATURE by Willard Manus

"I have just returned from Santo Domingo de Silos, a Benedectine monastery where I have spent four days--What four days! I have not been so happy this whole voyage--The life is so good, I can well join my homely upright friends & remain forever in this cloister--It is surely healthy & sane--It is also beautiful: & beside the world around it, it is free from superstition, religion, strife, stupidity, wastefulness, disease& bad manners--The religion is a reverent habit which gives a great dignity to everything done. There is no excess--no sermonizing--inquisitiveness, or self-torture--and I have not eaten better than in S.D.S!
"The library is very rich too, and the cloister sculptures--of the 11th BC. are the finest works of Spanish Romanesque art, without any parallel, & strangely isolated in history. There is also a treasure of medieval metal-work and Mss., noble monks, generous life--fine talk & companionship & apparently the perfection of freedoms--one sings the Gregorian chants--& the mass is very simple and beautiful--I should write much more of S.D.S.--but I will tell you instead, dear--
"Your Meyer."
In 1927, Meyer Schapiro wrote this letter to his future wife Lillian Milgram when he was a graduate student making the Grand Tour of Europe (and the Mideast), visiting art monuments wherever he went. Schapiro later taught at Columbia University where his lectures on the history of art and on human cultural endeavor became legendary. Despite his fame, though, he wrote and published relatively litle during his lifetime.
Now Getty Publications has filled that publishing gap with MEYER SCHAPIRO ABROAD--LETTERS TO LILLIAN AND TRAVEL NOTEBOOKS (256 pages, with 83 color and five halftone illustrations). The handsome book contains letters, sketches and reflections on his formative year abroad. Of special interest are the accounts of his meetings with an older generation of art historians, writers and painters. When he came into contact with a number of Jewish scholars Schapiro was shocked at their rejection of Judiasm. "They prefer to be Jews than Germans, and invoke doubtful biological notions to sustain them," he confided to Lillian.
Accompanying the letters and notebook pages--transcribed and annotated by Daniel Esterman, Schapiro's nephew--are Esterman's introduction and an essay by Hubert Danish.
Also from Getty is CAPTURED EMOTIONS: BAROQUE PAINTING IN BOLOGNA, 1575-1725 edited by Andreas Henning and Scott Schaefer, The book's eleven essays provide a comprehensive survey of one of the most important and influential schools of Italian painting, which was led by Ludovico Carracci and his two cousins, the brothers Agostino and Annibale Carracci. Through their newly founded academy, they influenced the next two hundred years of painting, essentially forming the style we now call Baroque.
In the Getty's latest addition to its "Guide to Imagery" series, THE HISTORY OF CHURCH ART, Rosa Giorgi argues that because much of Western Art depicts key events, leaders and practices in the history of the Christian Church, knowledge of that history "is critical to an appreciation of many of our great masterpieces."
Giorgi, an art historian who specializes in iconography, looks at every aspect of church art--liturgical objects, including altars, crosses and censers; vestments of all kinds; and of course the innumerable paintings which depict devotional practices, funeral rites, religious processions, weddings and feasts.
Church history fascinates her, especially the narrative paintings illustrating crusades and pilgrimages, the Inquisition and Reformation, power struggles between popes, kings and secular leaders. She pays particular attention to the lives and portraits of Peter and Paul, Tomas Moore and Pope Paul IV.
"Just as history is not always made up of great events, it may not always be acted out by great individuals, either. The Church's journey through two millenia was characterized by great and pious leaders along with their humble, or in some cases, debased fellows. These historical figures, the protagonists of the Roman Catholic Church, are the subject of the final chapters. The men, and sometimes women, who shaped the Church as it has come down to us may, alas, have been politically great but spiritually poor, or conversely, they may have been politically unskilled but spiritually very great. And perhaps it is the latter, the great saints, who have been chiefly acknowledged in worship and art."
Pppbk., 384 pages, 400 color illustrations.

The story of the Getty itself--its origins and programs, two campuses, art and architecture, and inner workings--is brought to life in a new paperback release, INSIDE THE GETTY. Written by William Hackman and Mark Greenberg, the lavishly illustrated 184-page book provides an overview of the Getty Trust, beginning with a J. Paul Getty scrapbook which captures the famed philanthropist in some rarely-seen, down-to-earth moments--dancing the Twist, clowning around with Ringo Starr and Zsa Zsa Gabor, chatting up his lovely (fifth!) wife, Louise Dudley Lynch.
Anyone planning a visit to the Getty would do well to spend an hour or two with this handy, sprightly-written guidebook.
Getty Publications (800-223-3431).