Here is Professor Stokstad's response to Dominique's and
Zak's letter to her pointing out a wrong attribution of an image in her
from Marilyn (as my niece says, there really is an "Aunty M"
email made my day. It means a lot to me to hear from students and to
realize that there are alert people out there. That you would be
visiting Florence thinking about art and ART HISTORY makes me jealous (I
was just in Sicily and Rome, so I shouldn't complain).
I can tell you that I found that Fra Angelico mistake too. And in the
"second edition, revised" I corrected it. I had planned to use
the painting in the cell, and I wrote the text for that one, so it
didn't work out either when the picture researchers put in the
other version. They didn't know any better - and they
didn't tell me. Believe it or not. I often do not get to see the final
version of the book before it goes to press.
Pearson/Prentice Hall is a huge company and having a book published by
them is very much like what making a movie must be like. The author is
just one piece of the pie - specialized people get the illustrations and
permissions to publish (I send a list of illustrations I want, of
course, and I have learned that I must send a photocopy of the image
too, but even then things go wrong - as you have discovered). Content
specialists check on the facts. Editors read the text for clarity and
grammar and so forth. Others specialize in designing the book, and there
are even specialists in cover design (one time a cover designer put a
picture on the cover that was NOT in the book! - said it didn't matter
because the cover was so beautiful - I was horrified, but then the cover
won second prize in a national competition held in NY. Ouch!) You get
the idea. Dozens of people work in publicity, marketing, sales.
And by the way, when you are thinking about careers for yourself,
remember publishing - there are lots of interesting and worthwhile jobs
that you might not have thought about. And just think of the people all
over the country (and hearing from you makes me want to say, "all
over the world") where your work can make a difference.
Yours is the first email I am replying to after spending the last 6 days
in Houston, at the national meeting of AP teachers. I spoke to 3
different groups of AP Art and Art History teachers. Did you take the
exam. I hope you get a 5, you deserve it.
Best wishes for a great future.
again. I realized that there was more to the message than showed on the
screen at first.
on getting a 4. That is very good for a 10th grader. I'm
impressed. I bet your teacher is proud too.
Dear Professor Stokstad,
We are two 10th grade students taking an Advanced Placement Art
History course at Heidelberg High School, in Heidelberg, Germany, and we
are using your textbook, Art History, Second
While we were studying Chapter 17, Early Renaissance
(Volume 2), we studied Fra Angelico’s Annunciation located in the
Monastery of San Marco in Florence. The text states that this fresco is
located in the east corridor, Cell Number 3. Our AP Art History teacher,
however, noted in class that he had remembered seeing the fresco at the
top of the stairs upon entering the cloister, not in one of the cells.
Luckily we had studied the Italian Renaissance before
our Spring Break and were able to convince our parents to let us take a
trip to Italy (Florence, Sienna, and Pisa) on our own. While we were in
Florence we made a special point of visiting San Marco and discovered
(verified) that the Annunciation by Fra Angelico that is pictured
in your text is indeed located at the top of the stairs (see attached
photo FraA-Staircase), and not in Cell No. 3 as stated in the text
(That's Dominique with Fra Angelico).
We then proceeded to Cell No. 3 and found that there was
another Annunciation by Fra Angelico (see attached photo FraA-Cell),
but not the one pictured in your text. We thought this should be brought
to your attention, so future Florentine tourists should not be confused.
We would also like you to know that we carried Volume
two of your text with us throughout our visit and referred to it many
times. Our teacher has what he calls his Art History mantra: "You
have to know in order to see." We want to thank you for helping us
see more than we ever would have without your help.
Thank you for your time,
Two students from Heidelberg High School,
Zak M & Dominique S
p.s We just got our AP Art History test scores back, and
we both scored a 4. Our teacher says that's quite good for 10th graders.
We tracked down your E-mail address at the University of
Kansas web site. We hope you don't mind.