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» » Art Theory: An Historical Introduction

Art Theory: An Historical Introduction by Robert Williams

Art Theory: An Historical Introduction
Art Theory: An Historical Introduction
Robert Williams
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Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (February 23, 2004)
328 pages
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Arts & Photography
History & Criticism
Art Theory: An Historical Introduction is a unique survey of Western thought about art from ancient times to the present. Provides a lucid and lively narrative geared to the needs of the general reader and beginning student. Covers the major periods of Western art history: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the early modern period (Renaissance and Baroque), the Enlightenment, the nineteenth century, early twentieth-century modernism, and postmodernism. Relates theory to the practice as well as to the intellectual- and cultural-historical currents of each period, thus demonstrating the value of an historical approach to theoretical issues. Includes an extensive bibliography that provides a useful and up-to-date guide to the primary sources and secondary literature and 93 illustrations.
  • Ndav
Art theory can be tough, but Williams makes it easier to understand by using simple language. His approach is more art historical than theoretical or philosophical. I think this is a weakness in a book bearing the title, "ART THEORY." Williams places the relevant art intellectual/theoretical ideas and conceptions into their historical contexts to show how the theory seems to motivate the art, but the connection can be tenuous. This wakens the book, making it more intellectual history than theory and how theory may be used to understand and perhaps generate art. It's also a bit windy at its weakest points.

Who should buy it: if required for a course, obviously, but don't read it in bed late at night unless you're out of Ambien. Otherwise, there are better options. If you are a great student or a lazy one, the graphic series " _______________ for beginners" has a great primer on art theory that is both fun and highly useful. Get through that and you should be able to write passable essays. Good students who think their way through it can fill in missing material from their course readings and come away with a sophisticated approach to theory to inform your own thinking.
  • Moralsa
This book is ALOT of words, and the language is a bit hard to understand. There is a good chance
You'll have to go back and read a section a few times before really knowing what the author is saying. I had to read it for my art senior seminar, so supplementing it with discussion and another book (for us it was Art Theory for Beginners by Osbourne) worked out incredibly well.
  • Purebinder
Thank you very much. I cetainly will look forward to doing more business with you in the near future. Joan
  • Kanrad
just found 4 pages missing from P181-184
  • Blackredeemer
This book is a great argument against the study of art theory. The author pontificates wildly and comes to conclusions supported by nothing but his own pomposity, as there is no logical thread connecting any two points of his arguments. He relies instead on flowery, but ultimately meaningless, prose.

In structure the book discusses a number of major art periods through history, but this is in no way an art history book. The author takes each of these epochs and relates them to his own opinions on art, which makes the text feel like a particularly fustian magazine editorial masquerading as a tomb of knowledge. Bear also in mind that approximately one third of this book is suggestions for further reading, introduction, and figures.

If you are interested in coherent studies of art theory stick to classics, such as Berger.
  • Friert
So far I found this book is such a great book on historical approaches to art theories. I wish the writer could update his writing to current art's theoretical issues.
It is obviously not a book with fancy images of artworks, but it is priceless book for accompanying student or general reader alikes in reading a chronological art history book.