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books

THE BEST BOOKS OF 2010

Thirteen scholars, critics, writers, and artists choose the year’s outstanding titles.

T. J. CLARK

No great surprise about my book of the year. I had been waiting for Michael Fried’s The Moment of Caravaggio (Princeton University Press) ever since hearing him present an early version of its opening ideas in Berkeley years ago, and when the volume arrived it took me by storm. I have never understood the churlishness of so much mainstream art history when confronted with the latest episode in Fried’s lifelong research project, but no doubt there will be the usual rolling of eyes in certain quarters on discovering that chapter 3 of the new book is titled “The Invention of Absorption.” (Oh please, Professor Hegel, not dialectic again!) I remember Fried once expressing disappointment to me—rather touchingly, I thought—that there had not been more particular, picture-by-picture engagements

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