Art History

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By Paul Smith, Carolyn Wilde

The significant other offers an obtainable severe survey of Western visible artwork conception from assets in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance inspiration via to modern writings.

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Extra resources for A Companion to Art Theory (Blackwell Companions in Cultural Studies)

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Its themes were drawn from biblical and classical sources. Thus in his introduction of the istoria as the proper object of the art of painting, Alberti furthered the appropriation of a Classical culture by aligning the teachings of Cicero with the stories of Ovid. Because of its erudite subject matter istoria is thus elevated above portraiture and still life, and its status contrasted particularly with genre painting, or subjects from everyday life, which did not have the same thematic depth. By 1669, in the preface to his lectures to the French Academy, André Félibien, was to speak explicitly of the hierarchy of genres.

Antiquity did not have the concept of Fine Art. Not until the eighteenth century was there such a concept to distinguish Fine Art from other human activities, such as craft or science, and their products. Before that, there were no artistic concepts and no language to describe, explain and interpret the production and uses of works of art in a modern sense. But, of course, people have always made paintings and sculptures, played music and danced, told stories and dramatized them in various ways.

Perspectival space opens up opportunities for the imaginative visualization of experience in new ways, ways that accord with different material interests and economic orders, or different conceptions of humanity itself. (For a discussion of this point in terms of the conflicts between figural and discursive elements of the work, with several examples, see Bryson, 1981, pp. ) On his return to Florence in 1434, when composing the Treatise, Alberti had been particularly impressed by Masaccio’s work.

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