A Short Guide to Writing about Art

Sylvan Barnet died this past January at age 89. I was familiar with this name as the author of the research and writing guide for students of art history that I had used as an undergraduate in art history. Some 35 years after the 1st edition was published, it is still being used by students studying art history. In fact, we have multiple copies of the latest edition in Marquand Library, although I see that yet a newer edition has been released since we obtained the last one, with a new section on “Virtual Exhibitions.” At least a dozen such guides have now been published within the “Short Guide Series,” published by Pearson. I learned from Barnet’s New York Times obituary that Barnet was a Shakespeare scholar who taught writing and literature at Tufts University for thirty years. He had a successful career as an author and editor of numerous reference and study guides on art, literature and writing. He and his partner William C. Burto, also an English professor, went on to amass a notable collection of Japanese and Korean art. Their collection was ultimately donated in full to four major U.S. art museums.

Short Guide to writing about art

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