This book is intended not only to portray an image of the Vikings but to show something of the culture of the Scandinavian countries in which they were settled in the four centuries before they burst on the European scene.
The genius of Giotto is nowhere more evident than in the fresco cycle of the Arena chapel in Padua. This masterpiece is lavishly, albeit somewhat idiosyncratically, documented in this corpus of 239 color photographs. Among the disconcerting elements of the book's design are the use of unnecessarily small illustrations of individual scenes, the lack of margins around the full-page reproductions, and unidentified and often unpaginated details. Basile's introductory discussions are competently founded on up-to-date scholarship. He provides a useful summary of the restoration and conservation history and terse but footnote-encumbered considerations of the work's dating, purpose, iconographic sources, and formal elements. Too little is said, however, about the compositional and expressive qualities of the narrative scenes. Recommended only for comprehensive art history collections.-- Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York