This original and inspiring book offers clear and wide-ranging introduction to the arts of painting and sculpture, to the principal artistic print media, and to the visual arts of modernism and post-modernism. Covering the entire history of art, from Paleolithic cave painting to contemporary art, it provides foundational guidance to the basic character and techniques of the different art forms, to the various genres of painting in the western tradition, and to the techniques of sculpture as they have been practiced over several millenia and across a wide range of cultures. Throughout the book, Harrison discusses the relative priorities of aesthetic appreciation and historical inquiry, and of the importance of combining the two approaches. Written in a style that is at once graceful, engaging, and personal, as well as analytical and exact, this illuminating book offers an impassioned and timely defense of the importance and value of the first-hand encounter with works of art, whether in museums or in their original locations. Designed to be useful and attractive to students and teachers of art, art history, and aesthetics, the book will appeal also to the interested general reader and to those visitors to museums and exhibitions who welcome guidance to the objects on display, and to the means of gaining the maximum pleasure and instruction from them. The 250 color illustrations, each with generous, informative captions, include both well-known works and a host of less familiar examples from different cultures and periods.
Charles Harrison is Emeritus Professor of the History and Theory of Art, The Open University. He is the author of numerous books including English Art and Modernism 1900–1939 and, most recently, Since 1950: Art and Its Criticism (page 32). He is co-author of French Painting in the Nineteenth Century, Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction, and Modernism in Dispute.