Here's the review I recently posted on Amazon for a wonderful new book developed at the New York Academy of Art, a degree-granting college that focuses on the figure and values formal anatomical skills, representation and a culture of mastery:
"A great resource for anyone interested in figurative art, especially for those creating it. Much of it reads like art history, yet for once it is art history written by people who actually paint and sculpt -- this gives it real authority in my view. Dense reading -- you often have to unpack phrase-by-phrase but you are always rewarded for it, unlike much of the dense but largely meaningless stuff inflicted on us in some of the art magazines or academic journals. Everyone here is connected to the New York Academy of Art, so the book occasionally acts a little bit like a 'day on campus' with detailed how-to technique bits sprinkled in among the essays. Mostly I appreciated reading thoughtful artist-professors discussing the subtle alchemy through which figurative art transforms from stale, old academic into vibrant contemporary art form. This is one I expect to read and re-read for years."