Joseph Wood Krutch : Herbal


The cover may not look so inviting but inside this book are lovely woodcut reproductions from the 16th century.  I found this book in the Science stacks while examining some reference books for display. This book, by naturalist Joesph Wood Krutch looks at theories and discoveries of Herbalists from ancient times to present day. 100 plants and 6 creatures are detailed within.


Herbalists were the fathers of medicine, pharmacology and horticulture and herein lies their many beliefs in text and illustration. Beautifully detailed are lettuce, mistletoe, juniper, nasturtiums, oats, and nutmeg along with many other plants. Included are illustrations of animals these herbalists felt could be used in treatment of disease. Herein lies a beautiful book.


“The illustrations in this book are taken from the woodcuts in Pierandrea Mattioli’s huge folio volume, Commentaries on the Six Books of Dioscorides, issued in Prague in 1563 and Venice in 1565.  The work was first published in 1544 and appeared in some fifty editions in several languages, but all of those prior to 1563 had very much smaller plates.


It is not known who made all of these monumental drawings and cut them in wood but most of them are generally attributed to Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck. However, on the Orange plate (page 113) the initials WS appear in the lower left corner, indicating that at least one other craftsman was involved.  In any case, these are certainly among the finest Herbal illustrations ever printed and are obviously, for the most part, based upon observation rather than being copies of copies, as was so often the practice up to that time.”

You can view this book in the Science Division. It is a reference book and must be used in the library.

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Expired Library Books


We see many torn, shredded damaged books here at Central. Some fall apart on their own and others get damaged accidentally. Photographer, Kerry Mansfield, who claims not to be a a big reader, has photographed some of these discarded items that she buys from from other libraries. She may not be a big reader but she finds the molded and damaged book to be of interest enough to photograph it. Her photographs turn the abandoned book into an artifact complete with mold, mildew, tears, margin scribbles or broken bindings. The New York Times’ Lens Blog, has a slide show where you can view her photographs.

She started out photographing children’s books and books for teens, such as the well known Dr. Seuss book, “Hop on Pop,” and obscure ones like Evelyn Sibley Lampman’s “The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek.” She then turned her camera to books for adults like  Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” You see them on the Lens Blog.


Sharon Core: Early American

Are the works of Sharon Core paintings or photographs? One
thing is certain, they are beautiful, and they are photographs. To write about
this new book of her photographs, called
, one must understand the work of American artist Raphaelle Peale.

To create her realistic photographs, Sharon Core looked to American still-life painter Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825)
for inspiration. Core created these old-master styled photos with fruit she
grew, and with period porcelain and table settings she has collected to duplicate the
works of Peale. American painter Raphaelle Peale was the son of well-known
artist, Charles Wilson Peale. The elder Peale is best known for his painting,
The Artist in His Museum
The Artist in His Museum
The younger
Peale’s work was quite different from his father’s and his contemporaries.
Raphaelle was drawn to the quietness of the still life, he creates
almost an
austere or
melancholy atmosphere within his paintings. 
Peale avoided any suggestion of opulence as often
seen in 17th century Dutch still life. 
By the age of twenty-one, Raphaelle Peale was
recognized as America’s first and leading still life painter
and between
1812 and 1825 he painted over one hundred of them.
Most of Peale’s paintings are small in scale. He left a legacy of vibrant jewel like still
lifes depicting objects such as fruit, vegetables, and meat.
Peale’s paintings differ from his contemporaries with the strange
atmosphere he has created within them. His still lifes take on a strange
quality, they seem to take on the artist’s own body. American art scholar, Alexander
Nemerov has written extensively on the younger Peale and he seems to feel the
still life objects are imitations of Peale’s own body. Nemerov writes “Raphaelle’s
paintings simulate the artist’s own physical existence projected into the objects
of perception.”
Core’s photographs depict the younger Peale’s work down to
the last detail. It took her many long hours to track down the seeds necessary
to grow the heirloom species depicted in Peale’s work.  She had to hunt down through flea markets and
Ebay the Chinese porcelain and tableware prevalent in his canvases. 
Core has made note of the strange physical characteristics
in Peale’s work that scholar Nemerov has noted. 
Peale placed scars and bruising on his objects almost to make them extensions of his own body so Core has made sure we see slight
traces of life in these in inanimate objects, such as bruises, scars, and the rotting flesh of the food.  Some fruit seem to caress another piece through a “finger”
as seen in Lemons, (plate 18 in the book).  In the photograph
Apples in a Porcelain Basket (plate 6) we can almost see an “eye”
depicted as a rotting area on one of the apples. Brian Sholis who wrote the essay for the
book, Early American, says, “ they display the physical presence and variety of
human bodies.”
Core has paid close attention to the lighting Peale used and
how he placed his objects. From Peale’s paintings to Core’s photographs the
diffused lighting source is not known and the backdrops seem to disappear. Compositionally
Core has placed the objects exactly life Peale’s, objects are centered and tend
to be arranged in pyramids. Peale placed his objects very close to the viewer
so one could see all of their detail and Core has followed this compositional detail
as well.
As much as Core seems to depict Peale’s work down to the
last detail such as securing the exact same piece of porcelain Peals used she
has used his work as mimesis for her work. Peale used flat canvas and paint to give dimensionality
to his work while Core uses her camera to make the dimensional objects in front
of her to look like flat yet highly detailed reproductions of Peale’s work.

Read more:

The American Pioneer of Still Life by Edward J. Sozanski


Art Show: Sharon Core by Vicky Lowry

In Focus: Sharon Core 

Sharon Core Early American
Raphaelle Peale Still Lifes



Fashion: From Jazz to Vogue’s Eye

Two new fashion books have arrived in the Art Division. One covers the glamorous world of 1920s fashion and the other celebrates the role the fashion editor has played at Vogue for 120 years.


Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, retraces the work of Vogue’s legendary fashion editors including Pally Mellen, Babs Simpson, and Grace Coddington. These women collaborated with photographers, designers and stylists to create the fantasy world (for most of us anyway) of fashion. The book focuses on Vogue‘s dazzling archive of images that have had an impact on fashion, music, and culture. This book is lavish in its design and photographs. These editors had and still do have a vision when it comes to presenting the world of high fashion.


The 1920s was one of the most stylish and influential fashion periods full of feathers, beads, sequins, and anything to over indulge in. After all this was a time of highly decorated Erte dresses and Art Deco.

Dressed to Kill: Jazz Age Fashion, brings us into that legendary elegant world of the 20s. This collection of photographs comes from Virginia, the most fabulous renowned antique clothing store in London. Many stylists, designers, models and museums use this store as their go to place for dresses, coats, and accessories from this time period. All are carefully preserved offering inspiration from this glittering time to all who are looking for the craftsmanship and ornamentation of this important fashion period. This is a lavish book, full of exquisite photographs. Indulge!


Basketball Season @ the Library

Local basketball junkies have every reason to be excited about another great season for our area’s best college basketball team. The Syracuse Orangemen Men’s Basketball program is off to another great start this season– currently ranked 6th in the nation and now heading into Big East showdowns with the likes of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Georgetown Hoyas.
Your public library is also keeping pace with your sports reading demands. One of our newest books is titled, Color Him Orange: The Jim Boeheim Story, authored by award-winning sports columnist and best-selling local author Scott Pitoniak. Pitoniak identifies the sources of Basketball Hall of Fame coach’s fierce competitive drive and loyalty to Syracuse.
The book also examines the people who shaped Boeheim as a person and a coach, the great players he has coached, and his incredible devotion to raising money in hopes of eradicating cancer—which claimed both of his parents’ lives, and has also victimized Boeheim himself.
Yep, that’s right. Two huge wins the last two games and now this team has catapulted to #3 in the nation. But are they really that good?

Despite the naysayers, the Syracuse Men’s Basketball Team has won 8 straight games and seems to be getting all the bounces and breaks. It has compiled a record of 18 wins against just one defeat (79-83 loss to Temple at MSG) as of Jan.22, 2013. And, the Orange has already won three conference road games, including a win at then-No.1 Louisville a few days ago. Impressive, don’t you think? Not so fast.

If you truly bleed Orange, you know your team’s loss to Temple was as horrendous as a loss can be—this is a team that was beaten by Canisius in its own gym.  And, the Orange has trailed in the second half of its last four games. It’s recent play caused head coach Jim Boeheim to publicly say, “If we don’t get better, we’re going to lose in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.” And that quote followed Syracuse’s dramatic 57-55 win over No. 21 Cincinnati last night in a highly publicized game. Kinda scary if you’re a Syracuse fan—but it’s something we have had to learn to live with all these years.

Speaking of all those great years of SU ball, why not revisit some of those glorious times by checking out our collection of Syracuse Basketball books here at the Central Library.

Anyway, it’s safe to say long-time SU fans have been down this road before and know perfectly well what Coach Beoheim is trying to do. The Hall of Fame coach has seen it all and done it all– been there and done that. No matter what you think, serious fans a have to ask the question whether he is just trying to motivate his guys or does he really believe that they have a long way to go before they get to the Final Four? (By the way, the Final Four is begins April 6 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.)

If we know Boeheim like we do, he is going to keep his players, fans and the media guessing to the last possible minute of the last game day of this season. And, all we can do for now is fasten our seatbelts and hope it’s not that bumpy of a ride.

Other basketball titles of interest include: