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Great Smaller Museums of Europe

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review Scala, 2003. 272pp. £29.95

Among the 35 'great smaller museums' which James Stourton has chosen for this book are several with distinguished 20thcentury architecture - Louisiana, Kröller-M³ller, the Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, the Oskar Reinhart in Winterthur, Scarpa's Canova Cast Gallery and Piano's Beyeler Foundation. Many of the older buildings (including two by Soane) also deserve study in their own right. It is a little frustrating, then, that there is scant attention to architecture in either the photographs or the text.

Stourton's focus is on the works of art which the museums house - and it must be said that they are often superb. Few, however, are seen in situ, so there is seldom any sense of the building and its art works as an ensemble and, hence, the character of each museum remains elusive. But the book is attractively produced and may serve both as a stimulus to future visits and a souvenir. Left: the Mauritshuis at The Hague, home to 14 Rembrandts.

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