THE LATE MIDDLE AGES: Art and Architecture from 1350 to the Advent of the Renaissance, by Wim Swaan (Cornell University Press, $27.50). Reading this, even leafing through it, it is easy to believe that the greatest centuries of architectural achievement have passed with the Middle Ages. The extravagance of the style flamboyant, the high-minded Perpendicular, the mystical German designs, as well as the heady Moorish influence in Spanish architecture are explored in detail. There is, of course, less "pure" art in this handsome study, since the majority of medieval artistic endeavor was limited to the glorification of the Church (and failing that, the royalty), but there is enough to establish beyond question the dominance of the Dutch-born artists, many of whom emigrated to the Burgundian and French courts. The exultant "Last Judgement" of Rogier van der Weyden, the Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry by the Limbourg Brothers and "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" from the altarpiece at Ghent by Hubert and Jan van Eyck shine out among even the most striking pieces in this portable museum. Unfortunately, there are only 17 color plates, and these three masterpieces are not among them. Since Swaan has chosen to limit his exploration of the final flowering of the Gothic age to Northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, it is difficult to compare the contemporary achievements of the Italians, usually considered supreme. However, Swaan's text admirably brings together social, historical and artistic commentary in one of the most widely accessible art books of its type.