Art in Theory 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas

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9780631200659: Art in Theory 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas

Art in Theory 1815-1900 provides the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collection of documents ever assembled on nineteenth-century theories of art.

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The ideas of some of the most influential artists, writers and thinkers of our times about 19th century art are collected in this vast collection of essays. Collectively they tackle difficult issues like the definition of Modern art and tracing the history of aesthetics. Schopenhauer addresses originality and genius, Karl Marx tackles the modern condition, Sir William Newton and Charles Baudelaire struggle with the new notion of photography as art. An 1881 essay by Juis-Karl Huysmans in which he writes of Degas's Little Dancer as "the only genuinely modern experiment in sculpture that I have yet encountered" is a notable inclusion in this volume which includes literally hundreds of texts (many of them translated into English in order to be included in the anthology) that address the artistic issues of the era as well as the social, historical and cultural elements that impacted it. The editors are noted art historians and philosophers who do an excellent job of introducing each chapter as well as the individual pieces of writing where necessary. Art in Theory is an essential reference for students of art as well as anyone interested in the cultural development of the 19th century.

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Art in Theory 1815-1900 provides the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collection of documents ever assembled on nineteenth-century theories of art. Like its highly successful companion volume, Art in Theory 1900-1990, also edited by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, its primary aim is to provide students and teachers with the documentary material for informed and up-to-date study. Its 260 texts, clear organization and considerable editorial content in this anthology furnish a vivid and indispensable introduction to the history of the art of the period. The anthology is also invaluable to anyone interested in the wider cultural debates of the nineteenth century, and in the development of modern aesthetic theories.

Harrison, Wood and Gaiger collect writings by artists, critics, philosophers and literary figures, some reprinted in their entirety, others excerpted from longer works. Among the major themes treated are concepts of genius and originality, modes of landscape painting, approaches to Realism, the question of Modernity and debates over Impressionism, theories of optics and color, the aesthetics of photography, and the rise of photography. Each section is prefaced by an essay that situates the ideas of the period in their historical context, while relating theoretical concerns and debates to developments in the practice of art. Each text is briefly introduced by an outline giving the circumstances of its original appearance and indicating its relevance to the development of modern artistic theory. An extensive bibliography is also provided.

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Harrison, Charles, Wood, Paul, Gaiger, Jason
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