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Abbeville Press

Art in History (Hardcover) by Larry Silver

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Art in History provides an illuminating overview of humanity's long tradition of creation, from the earliest cave paintings to contemporary installations.By relating works of art -- primarily painting, sculpture, and graphics, but also major architectural monuments -- to the societies in which they were created, Dr. Silver intensifies the reader's understanding of humanity's most famous and enduring images. Each chapter surveys a historical era, presenting its major figures against a background of social forces that helped shape their creativity. Non-Western cultures are included as counterpoints, and a careful balance is established between long-acknowledged masters and those whose achievements have been recognized only recently. From Publishers Weekly A dazzling survey of painting, sculpture and architecture from the paleolithic cave paintings of Lascaux to contemporary earthworks, this lavishly illustrated text provides a historical and contextual view of art in its social and political milieu. We see, for example, how a flourishing urban mercantile economy undergirded the realism of Flemish painter Jan van Eyck, and appreciate the apocalyptic visions of Wassily Kandinsky and Max Beckmann in the context of WW I and its aftermath. Silver, an art history professor at Northwestern University, focuses on Western art but includes numerous insets tracing parallel developments in Africa, Asia, Central America and the Soviet Union. Also admirable is his substantial coverage of women artists, from the 17th-century Florentine painter Artemisia Gentileschi to photorealist Audrey Flack. Full of shrewd independent judgments, crammed with profiles of artists plus 600 plates (213 in color), this chronicle illuminates how art functions in and for its culture. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal A bold new entry in the Western art history textbook sweepstakes, this survey offers an interesting alternative to the staid yet reliable old standards, Helen Gardner's Art Through the Ages (o.p.) and H.W. Janson's History of Art (Abrams, 1991. rev. ed.). While the traditional approach of both Janson and Gardner takes in the vastness of art history by confidently placing everything within the nomenclature of schools and epochs, Silver shifts his focus to the art that flourished in "centers of wealth and power" throughout recorded history. In his preface, Silver maintains that the volume's lack of comprehensiveness is compensated for by the additional space devoted to each artist or landmark. This is a somewhat empty point, however, since any survey--this included--is by nature a superficial enticement. At times one longs for the encyclopedic thoroughness of Janson and Gardner, a longing that becomes justified upon realizing some of Silver's conspicuous omissions: Etruscan art is completely missing, as are all 19th-century American Realist painters and most modern photography. Ultimately, the question is which approach will more likely capture the minds of first-year non-art majors: Silver's well-written and slightly more beefy analysis, or the more superficial--and more complete--standards. As an important upgrading of art historical documentation, Silver's book is a useful acquisition for all large collections. - Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., Cal. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • EAN: 9781558596054
  • Package Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Languages: English
  • Author: Silver, Larry
  • Brand: Abbeville Press
  • Edition: First Edition
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Stock: Ex-library w/ minor wear
  • Number Of Pages: 496
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press
  • Release Date: 15-10-1998