Illuminated manuscripts, a photograph of Walt Whitman, and even a lock of Nathaniel Hawthorne's hair: these are just a few of the treasures in the vast collection of books, letters and memorabilia that Isabella Stewart Gardner amassed.
Gift at the Gardner offers an eclectic array of books: from art history to poetry, beautifully bound literary classics and more, start your own literary collection with our featured titles today!
On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds. Jacqueline Woodson’s lyrical text and Rafael Lopez’s dazzling art celebrate the extraordinary ability to lift ourselves up and imagine a better world.
Written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López
Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2022
9.44 x 0.39 x 10.81 inches
A transporting and illuminating voyage around the globe, through classic and modern literary works that are in conversation with one another and with the world around them
Inspired by Jules Verne’s hero Phileas Fogg, David Damrosch, chair of Harvard University’s department of comparative literature and founder of Harvard’s Institute for World Literature, set out to counter a pandemic’s restrictions on travel by exploring eighty exceptional books from around the globe. Following a literary itinerary from London to Venice, Tehran and points beyond, and via authors from Woolf and Dante to Nobel Prize–winners Orhan Pamuk, Wole Soyinka, Mo Yan, and Olga Tokarczuk, he explores how these works have shaped our idea of the world, and the ways in which the world bleeds into literature.
To chart the expansive landscape of world literature today, Damrosch explores how writers live in two very different worlds: the world of their personal experience and the world of books that have enabled great writers to give shape and meaning to their lives. In his literary cartography, Damrosch includes compelling contemporary works as well as perennial classics, hard-bitten crime fiction as well as haunting works of fantasy, and the formative tales that introduce us as children to the world we’re entering. Taken together, these eighty titles offer us fresh perspective on enduring problems, from the social consequences of epidemics to the rising inequality that Thomas More designed Utopia to combat, as well as the patriarchal structures within and against which many of these books’ heroines have to struggle—from the work of Murasaki Shikibu a millennium ago to Margaret Atwood today.
Around the World in 80 Books is a global invitation to look beyond ourselves and our surroundings, and to see our world and its literature in new ways.
By David Damrosch
Published by Penguin Press, 2021
6.48 x 1.3 x 9.54 inches
Inspired by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s collection, a beautifully produced and illustrated miscellany of fascinating facts, definitions, and quotes relating to the world’s most famous playwright.
A Shakespeare Motley is a delightful cabinet of Shakespearean curiosities, arranged in alphabetical order, that will inform, enthuse, intrigue, and amuse anyone who wants to know more about the life and work of the world’s best-known author. Drawing unusual connections, this ingenious guide will show you what Hamlet’s Ophelia has to do with The Tempest and Twelfth Night, and how a stage direction speaks to Elizabethan treatment of bears. With entries ranging from “apothecary” to “zephyr,” this succinct book is full of captivating details illuminating all corners of Shakespeare’s world.
The volume is illustrated throughout with images taken exclusively from the archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Readers will quickly gain a vivid, authentic sense of Shakespearean times, from the fascination of falconry to the elegance of eglantine and the resonances of ring-giving.
Accessible yet also full of expert insight and knowledge, this is a wonderful window on the ideas and influences that may have informed Shakespeare’s work. A perfect gift for theater lovers, anglophiles, and all those fascinated by the life and work of the playwright.
By the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Published by Thames & Hudson, 2020
5.8 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
After six centuries, self-portraiture shows no sign of losing its ability to capture the public imagination. Self-portraits have the power to illuminate a range of universal concerns, from identity, purpose, and authenticity, to frailty, futility, and mortality.
In this new volume in the Art Essentials series, author Natalie Rudd expertly casts fresh light on the self-portrait and its international appeal, exploring the historical contexts within which self-portraits developed and considering the meanings they hold today. With commentaries on works by artists ranging from Jan van Eyck, Francisco Goya, and Vincent van Gogh, to Frida Kahlo, Faith Ringgold, and Cindy Sherman, this book explores the emotive and expressive potential of self-portraiture. The Self-Portrait also considers a wide range of materials available for self-expression, from painting and photography to installation and performance. In the process, the book explores the central question of why artists return to the self-portrait again and again. In her vibrant and timely text, Rudd dissects this and other important questions, revealing the shifting faces of individuality and selfhood in an age where we are interrogating notions of personal identity more than ever before.
By Natalie Rudd
Published by Thames & Hudson, 2021
6.5 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
Giorgio Vasari’s The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, written in 1550 and 1568, is a classic text of cultural history. This monumental assembly of artists’ lives from Giotto to Michelangelo paints a vivid picture of the progression of art in the hands of individual masters.
This illustrated stand-alone edition of Vasari’s Life of Raphael offers a new translation of this rich and remarkable life, elegantly rendering Vasari’s literary text in modern terms. A work of authoritative skill and precision, this new translation preserves Vasari’s exciting narrative, alongside beautifully reproduced color illustrations. Editors Paul Joannides and Rick Scorza bring together the original and expanded Italian editions from 1550 and 1568 with succinct commentary drawing upon their expert knowledge of Raphael’s career. This fascinating and accessible read is published in the five hundredth anniversary year of Raphael’s death.
By Paul Joannides and Rick Scorza
Published by Thames & Hudson, 2020
5.7 x 7.7 in
The landmark photographic survey of the human body at a moment when body image and body politics are being redefined.
In a world of selfies and body shaming, Photoshopping and gender fluidity, body image has never been more at the forefront of popular cultural dialogue. Body is a definitive, democratic statement at a time when our fixation with images of the human form is greater than ever before.
Curator and art historian Nathalie Herschdorfer brings together over three hundred and fifty images created predominantly in the twenty-first century that explore our relationship with the body. This watershed publication presents work from major names in art photography, including Bettina Rheims, Lauren Greenfield, Cindy Sherman, Viviane Sassen, and Sally Mann, alongside others whose fashion work has shaped our view of the human form, such as Solve Sundsbo and Daniel Sannwald. Interwoven with these major works are images that explore the numerous other ways in which we have represented the body, and the ways in which imaging of the body has been used, shared, and changed over the last quarter-century.
Capturing the complex and often paradoxical relationship we have with our bodies—from fantasy to reality and curiosity to obsession—Body is a timely homage to, and introspection of, the human form as it sits in our current culture.By Nathali Herschdorfer
Dedicated to the work of contemporary Black artists from around the world, this book is an exuberant introduction to artists from Africa and of African descent for young readers.
Written by award-winning Black children’s author Sharna Jackson, this engaging book introduces young readers to twenty-six contemporary artists from Africa and of the African diaspora, working in everything from painting, sculpture, and drawing to ceramics, installation art, and sound art.
These include prominent American artists Kerry James Marshall, Faith Ringgold, portraitist to Michelle Obama Amy Sherald, and Kehinde Wiley; British Turner Prize–winning painters Lubaina Himid and Chris Ofili; renowned South African visual activist and photographer Zanele Muholi; Nigerian sound artist Emeka Ogboh; Sudanese painter Kamala Ibrahim Ishaq; Kenyan-British ceramicist Magdalene Odundo; Afrofuturist-inspired performance artist Harold Offeh; and moving image artist Larry Achiampong, among others.
Sharna Jackson’s experience as an award-winning children’s author combined with the curatorial expertise of Dr. Zoe´ Whitley, co-curator of the groundbreaking exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” make this an essential introduction to Black artists working today. This volume will serve as revelation to a new generation of aspiring young artists.
By Sharna Jackson and Zoé Whitley
Published by Thames & Hudson
7.1 x 0.8 x 9.8 inche
A vibrant photographic anthology that presents the work of a generation of image makers who are forging new visions of Africa.
Africa State of Mind gathers together the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across the continent, exploring Africa as a psychological space as much as a geographical one. Both a summation of new photographic practice from the last decade and a compelling survey of the ways in which contemporary African photographers are engaging with ideas of “Africanness,” Africa State of Mind is a timely collection of those photographers seeking to capture the experience of what it means to “be African.”
Presented in four thematic sections―“Hybrid Cities,” “Inner Landscapes,” “Zones of Freedom,” and “Myth and Memory”―each part presents selections of work by a new wave of African photographers who are looking both outward and inward: capturing life among the sprawling cities of the continent, turning the continent’s history into the source of resonant new myths, and exploring questions of gender, sexuality, and identity.
With over 300 photographs by more than fifty photographers, Africa State of Mind is a mesmerizing survey of the most dynamic scenes in contemporary photography and an introduction to the creative figures making them.
By Ekow Eshun
Published by Thames & Hudson, 2020
9.1 x 1.2 x 11.4 inches
An in-depth guide to Venetian culture and history through its houses of worship
Begun in 2014 by Ecuadorian-born, New York–based photographer Alejandro Merizalde (born 1979), 100 Churches of Venice and the Lagoon documents religious temples from every sestiere of Venice and the smaller towns of the Venetian lagoon. What began as a small challenge of photographing just the Grand Canal’s churches quickly grew in scope to include every neighborhood in the city. From Murano to Burano and Torcello, from Pellestrina to Chioggia, and deep into the northern lagoon to areas such as Lio Piccolo and Treporti, Merizalde photographed their respective churches whether they remained in service or were deconsecrated or repurposed. The layout of these images emphasizes the facade, relying on subtle repetitions for aesthetic continuity and balance. An essay by Marina Gasparini Lagrange combines her experience living in Venice with a poignant historical perspective.
By Alejandro Merizalde with contributions by Marina Gasparini Lagrange
Published by Damiani, 2021
9.06 x 9.06 inches
In this primer accompanying Adam Pendleton’s MoMA show, the artist behind “Black Dada” fuses musical counterpoint with the aesthetics of protest
Adam Pendleton draws on visual culture and historical archives to explore the ways in which context influences meaning. Referencing a broad range of artistic and cultural currents―including Dada, Minimalism and Black Power―Pendleton reconfigures words, forms and images to provoke critical questioning.
Published to accompany Pendleton's installation at the Museum of Modern Art, this reader serves as a primer and handbook to the exhibition and features a number of photocopied textual and visual sources, many of which directly relate to the concept, content and programming of the exhibition. The project questions the notion of the museum as repository and addresses the influence that mass movements, including those of the last decade such as Black Lives Matter and Occupy, could have on the exhibition as form. Drawing on the work of figures as disparate as Glenn Gould, Michael Hardt and Ruby Sales, Who Is Queen? seeks to explore the nexus of abstraction and politics.
Edited by Alec Mapes-Frances with introduction by Stuart Comer, and contributions by Adrienne Edwards, Mario Gooden, Danielle A. Jackson, Lynne Tillman
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2021
This visually stunning survey of birds, chronicling their scientific and popular appeal throughout the ages and around the world, showcases the remarkable diversity of species in the avian kingdom, from tiny hummingbirds to ostriches taller than humans, and icebound penguins to tropical macaws.
With its content curated alongside an international panel of ornithologists, art historians, wildlife photographers, conservationists, and curators, this extraordinary book includes illustrations and artwork of all styles, with works by a diverse and often surprising range of creators from many different backgrounds, including: John James Audubon; Robert Clark; Mark Dion; Charley Harper; Barbara Kruger; Edward Lear; Ustad Mansur; John Ruskin; Joel Sartore; Sarah Stone; and Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe.
Arranged in thoughtfully paired juxtapositions, it reveals how artists, illustrators, ornithologists, and photographers – from ancient Egypt to the present – have captured the spirit, likeness, character, and symbolism of birds. Including Tweety pie paired with the Twitter bird; birds as 300-foot desert carvings or 2-inch-tall ivory statuettes; bird bones, bird bank notes, sculptures and birds shaped as beds, the book’s three hundred visually stunning entries span four thousand years of fine art, photography, ornithological drawings, popular culture, and scientific discovery from all corners of the globe to create the ultimate celebration of the winged world.
By Phaidon Editors with introduction by Katrina Grouw and Jen Lobo
Published by Phaidon Press, 2021
10.25 x 1.5 x 11.8 inches
The sequel to Pendleton's acclaimed Black Dada Reader, compiling an anti-canon of radical experimentation and thought
In 2011, artist Adam Pendleton (born 1984) assembled Black Dada Reader, a compendium of texts, documents and positions that elucidated a practice and ethos of "Black Dada." Resembling a school course reader, the book was a spiral-bound series of photocopies and collages, originally intended only for personal reference, and eventually distributed informally to friends and colleagues. The contents―an unlikely mix of Hugo Ball, W.E.B. Du Bois, Adrian Piper, Gertrude Stein, Sun Ra, Stokely Carmichael, Gilles Deleuze―formed a kind of experimental canon, realized through what Pendleton calls "radical juxtaposition."
By Thomas Hirschhorn, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Joan Jonas Lorraine O'Grady, and Joan Retallack
Published by DABA/Koenig Books, 2021
8.03 x 1.81 x 10.63 inches
An artist's book exploring the language of protest
A new artist's book by Adam Pendleton (born 1984), As Heavy as Sculpture follows Pendleton's 2021 installation of the same title, exhibited at the New Museum in New York. The book collects, repeats and processes over 80 source collages, incorporating drawings, sketches, writing and marks, often in combination with images.
Much of the language in the collages is drawn from the protests against police brutality that swept the US in 2020: Pendleton has transcribed slogans sprayed on walls and windows, combining them with his own improvised language as well as photographs of art objects and artifacts (sculptures, masks and figures). The work points to the poetic pressure that uprisings place on language itself, compressing it in some cases into the barest of forms: simple sequences like “ACAB” or “1312,” further reducible to the elements “A, B, C,” “1, 2, 3.”
In parallel with these operations of decomposition and recomposition, the collages in As Heavy as Sculpture have been duplicated, laid out across 30 sheets and folded into book signatures, creating new displacements and cuts. This folding is in effect a chance operation, a procedure of recombination and translation, resulting in arrangements of images not planned out in advance.
By Adam Pendleton
Published by D.A.P., 2021
6.5 x 8.74 inches
From the beginning of human history, individuals across cultures and belief systems have looked to the sky for meaning. The movement of celestial bodies and their relation to our human lives has been the central tenant of astrology for thousands of years. The practice has both inspired reverence and worship, and deepened our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
While modern-day horoscopes may be the most familiar form of astrological knowledge, their lineage reaches back to ancient Mesopotamia. As author Andrea Richards recounts in Astrology, astronomy and astrology were once sister sciences: the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid at Giza was built to align with constellations, Persian scholars oversaw some of the first observatories, and even Galileo cast horoscopes for the Medicis. But with the Enlightenment and the birth of exact science, the practice moved to places where mystery was still permitted, inspiring literature, art, and psychology, and influenced artists and thinkers such as Goethe, Byron, and Blake. Later movements like the Theosophists and the New Agers, would thrust the practice into the mainstream.
Edited by Jessica Hundley, this vibrant visual history of Western astrology is the first ever compendium of its kind, exploring the symbolic meaning behind more than 400 images, from Egyptian temples and illuminated manuscripts to contemporary art from across the globe. Works by artists from Alphonese Mucha, Hilma af Klint to Arpita Singh, and Manzel Bowman are sequenced to mirror the spin of the planets and the wheel of the zodiac. With a foreword by legendary astrologer Susan Miller and wisdom from new interviews with astrologers like Robert Hand, Jessica Lanyadoo, and Mecca Woods, Astrology celebrates the stars and their mysterious influence on our everyday lives.
By Andrea Richards; edited by Jessica Hundley; illustrated by Alphonese Mucha, Hilma af Klint to Arpita Singh, and Manzel Bowman; forward by Susan Miller
Published by Taschen, 2020
7.2 x 1.7 x 9.7 inches
Full of tragic heroes, intoxicating love stories, and the unstoppable force of fate, there is no conflict more iconic than the Trojan War. Troy is the story of the epic battle retold by Fry with drama, humor, and vivid emotion. Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, Helen, their lovers, and their mortal enemies all burn bright in Fry's compelling prose. Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.
By Stephen Fry
Published by Chronicle Books, 2021
7.7 x 1.2 x 9.55 inches