Dover publications book review
Famous artists' work collected on good paper at reasonable . a copo Bellini Selected Drawings edited by Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier Dover, $3.50 paper Leonardo Drawings Dover, $2 paper Dore's Illustrations or Ariosto's 'Orlando Furioso Dover, $5 paper Reviewed by JAMES LARRICK Clarion-Ledger Cartoonist Dover publications has made quite a name for itself, producing high-quality art books at modest prices. The books, all soft-cover, are especially popular with college students who have acquired a taste for fine things but can't yet afford them. They're also popular with art departments, who use them as clip art sources, and artists, who buy them as cheap references. The books are invariably well-designed; the illustrations big. clear and generally well-selected. There are about 50 titles, ranging from Daumier: 120 Great Lithographs to Science Fiction and Horror Movie Posters in Full Color, and they're all priced at less than $10. Three recent additions to the Dover line uphold the high qualitylow price tradition. They are collections of drawings by Jacopo Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci and engravings by Gustave Dore. The Leonardo book contains 60 illustrations from his notebooks sketches for easel paintings, frescoes and sculptures, theatrical and allegorical designs, plans for civil and military engineering projects, and studies in botony and anatomy. There is a wonderful sketch showing how he worked out the complex background perspective of his painting, "The Adoration of the Ma- gi."and his famous "Diagram of Human Proportions." There are also some of his studies of horses for the Sforza monument (an enormous sculpture the clay rendering of which was destroyed by invading armies before it could" be cast in bronze) and a drawing of some of the figures of "The Last Supper." Conspicuously absent in the collection are most of his famous anatomy studies. Drawn as he dissected cadavers a form of scholarship that could have cost him his life, had he been caught, in 15th Century Italy the drawings are still among the most accurate of medical illustrations. The two drawings pre sented here are not very informative, and freshman art students, who are often required to study them, will sorely miss the rest. The Bellini drawings are something of a disappointment, although they are probably as well reproduced as one could expect. While they are a good representation of his work, many are so faded that it is difficult to get much out of them. There are some interesting perspective studies and a wonderfully elaborate drawing of the Crucifixion, however. One advantage the Bellini book has over the Leonardo book is a section of notes for each of the 50 plates. prices The Dore book is the most lavish of the three and easily my favorite. It contains 208 steel engravings, selected dm of 618 he did to illustrate the Italian Renaissance epic poem, "Orlando Furioso." The engraving style is strictly Victorian yet handled with such imagination and tuergy it looks more like Frank Franzetta than Thomas Nast. Hopeless romantics jnd advertising departments looking for clip art should have a field day with this amazing collection of castles and caves, dragons and dungeons, witches and whirlwinds that only someone of Gustave Dore's genious could hope to produce.