TABLE OF CONTENTS

Books: Best of 2004

the best books of the year

WHAT BOOKS STOOD OUT IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS? ARTFORUM ASKED A HANDFUL OF HISTORIANS, CRITICS, AND ARTISTS TO NAME THE TITLE (AND, IN SOME CASES, TITLES) THEY MOST REMEMBERED FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR.

Arthur C. Danto

The title of Joseph Leo Koerner’s extraordinary study The Reformation of the Image (University of Chicago Press) refers to the way Martin Luther “reformed” religious pictures to make them consistent with the Second Commandment, thus protecting them against the wave of iconoclasm that swept Protestant churches in the early sixteenth century. Luther’s remedy consisted in treating images as texts, expressing in visual terms the beliefs central to his teaching. The main artistic figure to respond to the new mandate was Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose altarpiece for Luther’s church in Wittenberg gave visual embodiment to the ideas verbally conveyed through his sermons. What was achieved

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