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e-book The Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss

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An introduction by John-Paul Stonard explores how art history has been forged by these outstanding contributions to scholarship, as well as by the dialogues and ruptures between them. The book is supplemented by contextual essays summarising the achievements of each art historian and offering a detailed publication history of their texts, with suggestions for further reading.


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Enlivening debates and questioning the very status of art history itself, The Books That Shaped Art History is a concise and brilliant overview of the discipline and an invaluable resource for students, teachers, bibliophiles and all those interested in visual culture and its histories.

Whereas many books introducing art history do so from the perspective of theories and methods, the points of embarkation for this volume are rather the landmark publications that have shaped the subject, as well as the personalities and stories behind those contributions. The approach Stonard outlines in the introduction is excellent because it informs on several different levels: the content of the books, the authors whose achievements were all outstanding, the historical and cultural importance within the context of the works, and the experts in each field who elucidate their subjects so meaningfully.

It will also clarify if necessary the title of a recent book on the nude in art in more recent times: The Naked Nude by Frances Borzello.

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I now look forward to chasing up the authors of these two chapters, particularly Boris Groy. One is the emergence of new technical means of image production and distribution, the other is a shift in our understanding of art, a change of the rules used for the identification of what is and what is not art. But the other, drawn by Panofsky himself and underlined by Susie Nash in her chapter on him, is more general.

The Renaissance, for example, was based on a creative misunderstanding of classical antiquity. A great deal of 19th-century art derived from an incorrect assessment of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

The Books that Shaped Art History: From Gombrich and Greenberg to Alpers and Krauss

And so on. The point is more to be interesting than to be correct though it is nice to be that too. As for artists, they like to be mysterious. When Vasari tried to get a closer look at a sculpture Michelangelo was working on, the great man dropped the lamp he was holding, leaving the historian and critic in total darkness. Ross Clark. Douglas Murray. Bruce Anderson.

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    August 31, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. Should be the first book you read when approaching an art history survey, great resource I always go back to. March 19, - Published on Amazon. Excellent reference. September 19, - Published on Amazon. It was the perfect gift for my sweetheart who loves art!

    June 11, - Published on Amazon. Frequently, it is difficult for novices to really understand and appreciate a masterpiece; this is as true for works of scholarship as it is for works of art.

    Book Review - A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich

    This book helps guide readers -- especially first-time readers such as undergraduate art history majors -- into a greater and more nuanced understanding of the works of scholarship that have shaped subsequent generations' ways of seeing. Although a term such as "artist's artist" might be seen as disparaging or indicative of a limited appeal, in fact with the advent of mass higher education and the museum-industrial complex, formerly esoteric interests can become widely popular.