TASTE AND THE ANTIQUE: The Lure of Classical Sculpture, 1500-1900, by Francis Haskell and Nicholas Penny (Yale, $45). Fashions in art, like those in clothing, change rapidly for the most unlikely reasons. For instance, much Roman sculpture now seems to us rather florid, derivative and overdone. But from the Renaissance through the 18th century the same pieces were valued as highly as anything by Rodin or Henry Moore today. What did our ancestors see in these works? And when, and why, did they stop seeing it? Haskell, an authority on the evolution of taste, and Penny, expert on 18th-century art, treat these issues in a fascinating, scholarly exploration of artistic sensibility.
RODIN REDISCOVERED, edited by Albert E. Elsen (National Gallery of Art/New York Graphic Society, $42.50). Virtually everyone admires the sculpture of Rodin, whether for the erotic ecstasy of "The Kiss," the Old Testament agony of "The Prodigal Son," the lonely grandeur of "The Burghers of Calais," or the phallic monumentality of "Balzac." The recent Rodin exhibition at the National Gallery provided the occasion for this fine catalogue and essay collection.
HENRY MOORE SCULPTURE, with comments by the artist, edited by David Mitchinson (Rizzoli, $60). Probably the most admired sculptor of our day, Moore has here gathered his own photographs of his work since the 1930s. Rounded masses and vaguely human shapes, both pocked with hollows and nubs, often surrounding empty space, these chthonic works seem both alien and oddly maternal. Moore's photographs demonstrate his artistry with camera as well as stone and wood.