The Preference for the Primitive: Episodes in the History of Western Taste and Art

The Preference for the Primitive: Episodes in the History of Western Taste and Art

by E.H. Gombrich


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This book is a study of a recurring phenomenon in the history of changing taste in the visual arts, namely the feeling that older and less sophisticated (i.e. 'primitive') works are somehow morally and aesthetically superior to later works that have become soft and decadent. Gombrich traces this idea back to classical antiquity and links it both with Cicero's observation that over-indulgence of the senses leads to a feeling of disgust, and with the profoundly influential metaphor comparing the development of art to that of a living organism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780714841540
Publisher: Phaidon Press
Publication date: 08/19/2002
Edition description: REV
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 7.25(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Sir Ernst Gombrich was one of the greatest and least conventional art historians of his age, achieving fame and distinction in three separate spheres: as a scholar, as a popularizer of art, and as a pioneer of the application of the psychology of perception to the study of art

Table of Contents

Chapter 1.Plato's Preferences11
Interlude--Progress or Decline?35
Chapter 2.The Ascendancy of the Sublime43
Chapter 3.The Pre-Raphaelite Ideal87
Chapter 4.The Quest for Spirituality145
Chapter 5.The Emancipation of Formal Values177
Interlude--New Worlds and New Myths196
Chapter 6.The Twentieth Century201
The Lure of Regression (1)235
The Lure of Regression (2)243
Chapter 7.Primitive--in what Sense?269
Appendix.The Study of Antiquities298
Photographic Credits323

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