Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation

Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation

by E.H. Gombrich


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Considered a great classic by all who seek for a meeting ground between science and the humanities, Art and Illusion examines the history and psychology of pictorial representation in light of present-day theories of visual perception information and learning. Searching for a rational explanation of the changing styles of art, Gombrich reexamines many ideas on the imitation of nature and the function of tradition. In testing his arguments he ranges over the history of art, noticing particularly the accomplishments of the ancient Greeks, and the visual discoveries of such masters as Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt, as well as the impressionists and the cubists. Gombrich's triumph in Art and Illusion arises from the fact that his main concern is less with the artists than with ourselves, the beholders.

"Ernst Gombrich is indeed Master Scholar of the highest distinction. He has explored the mysterious links between perception and art--adding to both in the process, with a score of superb books on the history and philosophy of art. . . . [Art and Illusion's] riches can only be appreciated by careful reading, more than once." (Richard Gregory, Perception)

"[Sir Ernst's] own theory of perception, put forward in Art and Illusion . . . arguably his most important book, was controversial in almost every detail. But it brought the topic of the visual back to the centre of the history of the visual arts, from where it had been strangely displaced." (The Economist)

"I have learned a great deal from this volume, but what I shall remember about it is the author's warmth and wit, the fabulous range of his references and the richness of personality that lies behind the whole performance." (The New York Times)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780714842080
Publisher: Phaidon Press
Publication date: 06/28/2004
Edition description: REV
Pages: 412
Sales rank: 329,772
Product dimensions: 6.87(w) x 9.75(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

E. H. Gombrich was director of the Warburg Institute and Professor of the History of the Classical Tradition at the University of London, 1959-1976. He was born in 1909 in Vienna, where he studied the history of art under Julius von Schlosser and classical archaeology under Emanuel Loewy. He has been Slade Professor of Fine Art at both Oxford and Cambridge, Visiting Professor at Harvard, Spencer Trask Lecturer at Princeton, and Walker Ames Professor at the University of Washington. His best-known book, The Story of Art (1950) has been translated into thirteen languages.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface to the 2000 Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Introduction: Psychology and the Riddle of Style

Part One: The Limits of Likeness
Chapter 1: From Light into Paint
Chapter 2: Truth and the Stereotype

Part Two: Function and Form
Chapter 3: Pygmalion's Power
Chapter 4: Reflections on the Greek Revolution
Chapter 5: Formula and Experience

Part Three: The Beholder's Share
Chapter 6: The Image in the Clouds
Chapter 7: Conditions of Illusion
Chapter 8: Ambiguities of the Third Dimension

Part Four: Invention and Discovery
Chapter 9: The Analysis of Vision in Art
Chapter 10: The Experiment of Caricature
Chapter 11: From Representation to Expression


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