Art and its Obsrvers
What ties western art together? This extended essay attempts to distill some of the basic ideas with which artists and observers of their art have grappled, ideas worthy of ongoing consideration and debate. The fostering of visual creativity as it has morphed from ancient Greece to the present day, the political and economic forces underpinning the commissioning and displacement of art, and the ways in which contemporary art relates to past periods of art history (and in particular, the Renaissance), are among the topics broached. Architecture, drawings, prints, films, painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from Europe and the US are considered and examined, often including nonstandard examples, occasionally including ones from the immediate surroundings of the author (who is based in New England). Although this book is primarily geared to those who would like a brief introduction to some basic aspects of a visual tradition spanning thousands of years, students of aesthetics might also discover useful benchmarks in this concise overview. The author places the emphasis on how art has been used and loved (or sometimes despised or ignored) more than on which works should be most famous.