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Medusa's Menagerie: Otto Marseus van Schriek and the Scholars Hardcover – 7 Sep 2017
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"It is part of the charm of these paintings that they are as much works of Marseus's imagination as of scientific observation. This is what is so beguiling about his art--one can see in it changing modes of thought at work, a gradual groping toward a world of scientific accuracy, even as the arrangement of the lush, unearthly plants and the animals, with their wonderful, quizzical expressiveness, seems to spring from the mind of the painter, presented for maximum visual appeal and delight." --Chris Carroll "New York Review of Books "
About the Author
Gero Seelig is curator of Netherlandish paintings at the Staatliches Museum Schwerin in Schwerin, Germany. The Staatliches Museum Schwerin represents the artistic memory and foundation for cultural identity of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 1 reviews
Edward A. Mainzer
Marseus and the Reader Deserve Better
17 December 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Otto Marseus (1619/20-1668) of Amsterdam produced a distinctive body of still lifes, particularly dark images of forest floors populated with snakes, lizards and moths. His work is rarely seen in the U.S., which is unfortunate since viewing his best pieces leaves a lasting impression. Thus this volume, the catalogue of an exhibition presented at two smaller European venues in 2017 (which I regrettably did not see), held much promise. Unfortunately, despite being nicely printed on glossy stock with many full-color illustrations, the book is a disappointment, failing to bring the artist to life or to deeply probe his contributions beyond noting at various points that in the seventeenth century far from being distinct disciplines art and science were frequently linked and that aspects of that connection can be seen in Marseus' work. Although the core text runs just over 200 pages (there is also a bibliography, checklist of works in the exhibition at the initial venue and index), the fact that the table of contents lists over 40 chapter or section headings is indicative of the fragmentation and lack of focus. Some "sections" contain no more than a single page of text, and although all of the illustrations are numbered, not all of the textual references to them use the image number or tile making linking them difficult; perhaps most reflective of the gaps in the book’s production, one work is reproduced twice, as two separate figures! Otto Marseus deserves a major monograph; unfortunately, this is not it.