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This is a very fine collection and reflects more than just Rothko's colorfield paintings. There's a bit of biographical information and some nice commentary, but that isn't really the focus here. The beautiful reproductions are the real reason to purchase this book over other Rothko volumes. There are quite a few Rothko books around these days. Some have better commentary and criticism, while others have more extensive biographical information. What this Skira edition has going for it is the amazing reproductions.
I've seen a few complaints concerning the color and image quality. I'm not sure if these reviewers received, but my edition is stunning. When looking at Rothko reproduced, it's important to remember that he intensionally thinned his colors. Often when we see a Rothko reproduction, the color is too saturated - sometimes to the point that we might as well be looking at a Barnett Newman! Anyone who has had a chance to see a Rothko colorfield in all its glory will doubtlessly find this collection to be faithfully reproduced, and without enhancement.
My favorite feature of this book is the size. Naturally, it's woefully inadequate when compared to seeing one of his paintings in person, but since we don't all live near a major museum, this book will suffice. The size is large enough that the paintings begin to fill your field of vision, so long as you're holding it in front of you. With smaller reproductions, you don't get the same sense of space, and thus, you lose a great deal. This book (about one square foot) seems to strike a balance between size and affordability. Taschen will inevitably publish a massive four foot tall Rothko edition at some point, but even when they do, I sure won't be able to afford it!
If you're looking for a great collection representing each of Rothko's periods with uniformly excellent quality, this book is for you.
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This is the accompanying catalogue for a Rothko retrospective held at the Pallazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, in late 2007 early 2008. It is very complete and full of high-quality illustrations that cover the entire career of the artist.
Now, the text is specifically centered on an unusual aspect: Rothko viewed through an Italian lens. This study angle allows the authors to tackle such themes as the dual quality of Rothko's oeuvre -modern and at the same time anchored in tradition, especially and surprisingly, in Italian tradition (here the argument is buttressed by the study of one of Rothko's transitional sketchbooks that recall Renaissance roots)- the philosophy of the artist, his journeys through Italy ("the memory of Italy is glorious" he once said), and some more particular points such as his relationship with the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, and the critical reception of his works in Italy.
So many books are available on Mark Rothko that it is no small feat to have published one that brings new life to his oeuvre through a heretofore never studied aspect of it.
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