Discourse on Sacred and Profane Images by Gabriele Paleotti, introduction by Paolo Prodi, translation by William McCuaig, Getty Research Institute '12 on glossy stock, $60, 368 pages, ASIN #160606116X. Index, bibliographical notes, table of contents, notes, b&w glossy images scattered through text.
The author frankly concedes at the outset that his reason for tackling such a massive task as editing and translating a work originally printed in Bologna in 1582 is that it may "have fallen into oblivion." The work as a whole comprises five books, although books 3 through 5 were never seen, either in Italian or in its Latin translation.
"There has indeed been considerable discssion of this work on the part of historians and art historians; Paolo Prodi writes in his introdction. "...not only does it foreground the relation between art history and religious, cultural, and political history, between images and the use made of them, but it also compels us to concretely rethink an entire epoch of transition conventionally denoted by the seqence Renaissance, Reformation, and Counter-Reformation."
This huge tome, which is largely narrative in spite of its focus on imagery, will be an asset not only to scholars but to lay readers in the field of art history. Paolo Prodi is the professor emeritus of modern history at the Universita di Bologna. William McCuaig is a translator living in Montreal and studied Renaissance literary history at the Warburg Institute, University of London.