Nearly 1,000 color and black-and-white illustrations, book is an in-depth look at the design process and the evolution of the automobile from the first self-propelled vehicle to the future of green cars. -- Good Morning America's coveted `Anchor Picks: Year's Best Coffee Table Book'
This hefty silver slab of a book is the catalog for a major show about the history of automobile design mounted by the Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, or MART for short. Gabriella Belli, the book's editor, is the museum's director.
Rovereto, the museum's home north of Verona, is a not unpleasant drive on the autostrada from Milan or Turin, but if you didn't happen to be in Italy between Dec. 2, 2006, and May 1, 2007, the show is preserved here by Skira, the venerable art publisher.
Some 70 or so cars are captured in photographs, and the book includes essays on such subjects as coachbuilding and engine evolution as well as biographies of auto-world figures, beginning with Karl Benz and ending with Ugo Zagato, the coachbuilder. The cars include everything from a Model T to the Z.Car by the architect Zaha Hadid.
The American reader will especially benefit from encountering a history of the automobile from the European perspective, and an Italian one at that. There is more about the Lancia Aurelia than the Ford Mustang, and our memory of Chrysler's first minivans is balanced by a recollection of the Renault Espace of about the same time.
It is not necessarily a "truer" history, but it is a history in which readers can encounter such colorful figures as the wonderfully named Mario Revelli de Beaumont. He was a visionary of the early 1930s when his extraordinary drawings anticipated the minivan with a jelly bean of a vehicle that looked like the Stout Scarab.
He also dreamed up the hatbox-shaped Revelli Taxi, a design worthy of Bruce McCall, the New Yorker's cover genius. PHIL PATTON -- The New York Times December 2007
Gabriella Belli is the Director of the MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (MART).