BY DAVID CRAWEORD
The Holy Land in Old Prints and Maps, by Zev Vilnay (Rubin Mass. Jerusalem, 16 dollars 50 cents).
THIS is a sumptuous volume of over 500 plates, depicting the Holy land, its places, sites. people, and pilgrims in every imaginable context. taken from prints, engraved tombstones, wall-paintings, photographs, vessels and seals.
Indeed. the variety of objects from which those pictures arc taken, and the multitude of different ways in which even so simple .a thing as the street-plan of the ancient city of Jerusalem is shown make the hook as much a history of the reactions to Palestine of Western visitors, Crusaders, pilgrims, Victorian travellers, as a record of the Holy Land itself.
The translation from the Hebrew. of the General Survey which introduces the plates, and of the comments which accompany them, is carefully done into perfect English. This is in pleasing contrast to what one so often has to put up with in foreign art-books, and is indicative of the thoroughness one has conic to expect from the Israelis.
The survey itself is a useful. brief guide to the monuments of the Holy Land, and to the travellers and writers whose work furnishes a modern continuation of the Assyrian bas-relief and Greek mosaic maps which open the book's pictorial record.
Perhaps the nineteenth-century prints are of the greatest human interest. Sacred buildings are credited with a spaciousness which does not appear in the Palestinian representations. A drawing of W. H. Bartlett's of a Christian family in Jerusalem is a conscious attempt at imitating the classical poses of Renaissance Art, and is all of a piece with Crusader art which depicts both land and people ip terms of mediaeval Europe.
This is a book which will give pleasure for years to anyone who can afford to buy it.