The Art of Seeing

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9780130481337: The Art of Seeing

This best-selling exploration of traditional and contemporary art and artistic media focuses on art from the artistsÕ point of view. KEY TOPICS: Using an engaging, readable style, this book quotes artists themselves who explain what they were trying to do in their art. Emphasizing aesthetics and art techniques, the book also covers the philosophical foundations, elements and principles of design, and technical considerations of each artistÕs medium. It offers broad coverage of all media as well as traditional and contemporary art, multicultural and non-Western art, art by women, Òoutsider artÓ, and computer graphics. It also covers such traditional and contemporary topics as creativity, encaustic, fresco, wood engraving, computer art, graphic design, photography, Xerox and FAX art, video art, conceptual art, performance art, earthworks, installation pieces, and folk art. Finally, the book includes maps with timelines showing the regions where major trends in Western art were developed and the site of major art and artworks while the timeline gives a global historical context for the evolution of Western art. The fourth edition of The Art of Seeing has been revised to include a new chapter on computer graphics including art on the Internet. It also includes boxes dealing with controversies such as censorship, race and gender criticism, restoration of paintings, protection of famous works, and art as an investment. The first chapter has been revised to provide a clear and provocative introduction to the understanding of art. And the final chapter now examines four major works of art in depth: PicassoÕs Guernica, RodinÕs Gates of Hell, MichelangeloÕs Sistine ChapelCeiling, and Moshe SafdieÕs Vancouver Library Square. There are also two new artists boxes including Stephen Alcorn on printmaking and John Lyle on ecologically-oriented landscape design. An essential art reference for every reader interested in art, especially art professionals and collectors.

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From the Publisher:

Extensively revised and expanded, this best selling exploration of traditional and contemporary art and artistic media focuses on art as seen from the artists' point of view treating artistic techniques and introductory aesthetic principles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

We are very excited to present this fifth edition of The Art of Seeing, for more than ever before, it brings readers closer to an informed understanding of the fine and applied arts of the world. Many new features now extend the scope of this understanding.

New Features of this Edition

One major new feature is a series of 10 boxes, "The World Seen." Each examines an art form that has been highly developed in a particular time and place, such as the brush and ink paintings of Sung China, the precious metalwork of Tsarist Russia, the ivory work of the kingdom of Benin, and the gold-embroidered saris still produced in contemporary India. The social and cultural factors that led to these heights are examined along with the exceptional skillfulness of the arts.

Another new feature is the addition of discursive material to many of the captions. This new material augments the text discussions by giving related information about the content and context of the work. Many captions now include interesting quotations from the artists about what they were attempting to do, such as Op Artist Bridget Riley's explanation, "For me nature is not landscapes, but the dynamism of visual forces—an event rather than an appearance," thus deepening understanding of the work at hand.

Yet another new feature is 15 illustrated chapter opening vignettes. Each displays a work that is in some way emblematic of the entire topic to be discussed. These give a taste of what is to follow and an introduction to looking at that aspect of art.

Some 68 new works of art have been introduced in this edition, from famous historical works such as Monet's Waterlilies paintings to the state-of-the-art computer simulation of Dinosaur and Frank Gehry's groundbreaking Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. As before, the new works are taken from varied cultures and historical periods, and include many pieces by women, from historical artists such as Berthe Morisot to significant contemporary artists such as Alice Aycock, Ann Hamilton, and Renee Stout.

The special feature boxes on Art Issues have been updated, and two new boxes of this type added: "Mixing Art and Politics: The Films of Leni Riefenstahl," and "Are there Limits to the Restorer's Art?" Both in the text and in these special boxes, we have attempted to explore many areas of controversy on the contemporary art scene.

Further enriching ways of understanding art, we have added to Chapter 1 a new section on various models for art criticism—formalist, expressivist, and instrumentalist. Throughout the text, new material on content and context has been added to the more formalist investigations.

As before, we try to give insights into art from the artist's point of view. Artists' own words about their work are a treasure trove for the student of art appreciation. We have therefore developed two new feature boxes in which artists speak at length about some facet of their work related to the subject under discussion. Some of these are developed from our personal communications with the artists, some from historical documents.

The Nature of this Book

As before, we have taken considerable effort in The Art of Seeing to make art come to life. The language we use is vigorous and down-to-earth, with numerous quotations from the artists themselves to help explain, in their own words, what they were trying to do. Unfamiliar words are carefully defined when they are first used and also in an extensive illustrated glossary at the end of the book. Pronunciation aids have been added to words in the glossary which may be unfamiliar to students. There is also a guide to artists' names that are difficult to pronounce.

Art in The Art of Seeing is a stimulating, exciting visual gallery. The illustrations for each concept are clearly related to the text and carefully described. There are some 609 illustrations, 300 of them in color, many reproduced at full-page size. They are taken from all the visual arts, from painting and sculpture to clothing and industrial design. Use of such a global variety of illustrations from both fine and applied arts, old and new, allows us to broaden tastes in art and to demonstrate the underlying principles, elements, and issues in art, no matter what form it takes.

In Chapter 15, which traces the development of Western art, the discussion is enhanced by maps and timelines. The six maps show the regions where major trends in Western art developed and indicate key artistic centers, with insets of important buildings and monuments. Each map is accompanied by a timeline giving a global historical context to the evolution of Western art, up to the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Its Organization

Part 1 of The Art of Seeing lays the foundation for understanding the aesthetic aspects of a work of art. In Chapter 1, we develop an initial vocabulary and an intellectual framework for considering artworks: the creative impulse, the varying forms and content of its manifestation, critical opinion of the results, and, with time, recognition of the greatness of some works. Chapter 2 is devoted to extensive analysis of the visual elements with which the artist works: line, shapes, form, space, texture, light, color, and time. Chapter 3 covers the subtle organizing principles by which these elements are used in a work of art.

The next two parts of the book approach art through the materials and techniques used by the artists. By revealing the difficulties of each method, we hope to enhance appreciation of the artists' accomplishments in the face of the intractabilities of their media. Part 2 covers two-dimensional techniques and media: drawing, painting, printmaking, graphic design, photography, photocopy, fax, film, television, video, and computer graphics. Part 3 covers three-dimensional media: sculpture, crafts, industrial design, clothing design, architecture, interior design, environmental design, and the performing arts.

Part 4 approaches art as it exists in time. We first offer a concise approach to historical styles in Western art. Some 48 major movements, from prehistoric to contemporary, are covered, with an illustrated timeline on pages 430 and 431 as an aid to understanding how the distinctly different aesthetic movements are related in time. In addition, six maps show close-ups of particular periods so that one can see where the major artists of the time were working, in the context of major world events.

The final chapter is a unique, in-depth examination of specific works of art, including their evolution in time. It approximates the actual experience of encountering a work of art, drawing on all levels of appreciation developed in the book, in order to analyze and respond to four masterworks.

Acknowledgements

Many people have helped us to revise and update The Art of Seeing, especially Maria Lewis, Frank Ballard, David Smalley, Sal Scalora, Sharon Booma, Janet Cummings Good, and Michelle Brand. Each edition has been extensively reviewed, but our reviewers for this fifth edition have been particularly helpful with specific and general comments which guided our revisions. We would like to express our special gratitude to Herbert R. Hartel Jr., John Jay College, City University of New York, and, Ted Kerzie, California State University, Bakersfield. As always, Bud Therien of Prentice Hall and now Kimberly Chastain have been enthusiastic and supportive, and the brilliant and dedicated staff of Calmann and King – especially Melanie White, Elisabeth Ingles, Kate Tuckett, Damian Thompson and Bridget Tily – have worked hard to deal with the intricacies of all the changes in this edition. Annette Zelanski has been as always generous with her help and loving support. The second author also wishes to thank His Holiness Baba Virsa Singh for his blessings and inspiration.

We feel that these improvements will be very helpful to all those who seek an educated, sharpened sense of art appreciation. Our own appreciation grows each time we approach this book.

Paul Zelanski
Mary Pat Fisher

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