Ideal Beauty : A Western Phantasy

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-15
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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The concept of ideal beauty, which originates with Plato, reemerges at the end of the eighteenth century to inspire a so-called new classicism, ruling one of the richest--and most controversial--periods in French art. Here Régis Michel explores the renewed quest for ideal beauty as played out in drawings by artists ranging from Michelangelo and Raphael to Anne-Louis Girodet, Jacques-Louis David, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. He traces the fortunes of new classicism from its genesis in Johann Joachim Winckelmann's vision of a pure Greek canon to its overthrow by the forces of naturalism and absolutism. For the English translation of this remarkable art-historical study, first published in French in 1989, the author has added a critical introduction that deploys the anti-Enlightenment arguments of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish to link ideal beauty to social control.

Author Biography

Regis Michel is a chief curator at the Musee du Louvre.
Simon Pleasance is an independent translator specializing in texts on art and architecture.
Fronza Woods is an independent translator and a filmmaker.

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