The Informed Eye: Understanding Masterpieces of Western Art

The Informed Eye: Understanding Masterpieces of Western Art

by Bruce Cole
     
 

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Here is a beautiful and beautifully straightforward book about the essential principles of art and art history. In The Informed Eye, Bruce Cole introduces the reader to the properties, concepts, and meanings of Western art through a series of concise, specific explorations (one might call them case studies) of a single work of art or a group of related works. These

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Overview

Here is a beautiful and beautifully straightforward book about the essential principles of art and art history. In The Informed Eye, Bruce Cole introduces the reader to the properties, concepts, and meanings of Western art through a series of concise, specific explorations (one might call them case studies) of a single work of art or a group of related works. These paintings, sculptures, and buildings from widely varying cultures and times are all major representatives of the scope and diversity of Western culture, from the dawn of ancient civilization to our own time. Mr. Cole explains how art is made, how it functions in society, and how it embodies the ideas and ideals of the cultures in which it was produced. Profusely illustrated with full-color and black-and-white photographs and drawings, The Informed Eye will show the reader how Western art embodies timeless, universal meanings which ennoble those who view it with a critical understanding. And it will enhance the sheer pleasure of looking at and understanding art. The book includes 32 different artists and 128 illustrations, 73 in color.

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Editorial Reviews

University Of Virginia
Exemplary...a judicious, beautifully wrought overview of the Western tradition in art.
— Paul Barolsky
Virginia Quarterly Review
Wonderfully concise, jargon free, and accessible...a Baederker to the uninitiated and a ready reference to the cognoscenti.
Library Journal
In Vaizey's Art: The Critics' Choice, art historians have selected their favorite works of Western art or those they deem the most influential from Antiquity through the present. Concise overviews of each period provide a good introduction for the novice and a handy brush-up for those familiar with the material. As with any personal "best of" listing, there's bound to be arguments over the merits of what was selected and what omitted. In general, however, most of the icons of Western art are present--it's only when the authors move into the later 20th century that the choices become debatable. In contrast, Cole's The Informed Eye is the focused aesthetic opinion of a single art historian. Covering roughly the same time period, Cole provides rough thumbnail sketches of artists' lives and the creation of their work, which he then places in the larger context of Western art history. Cole builds persuasive arguments for each "masterpiece" he selects; as in Vaizey's work, there are no major surprises. Both volumes are appropriate for newcomers to art history seeking a quick introduction as well as for more seasoned viewers in search of an aesthetic debate, and they complement each other stylistically: Cole's train of thought is more coherent, while Vaizey's book presents more color illustrations in a larger format. Recommended particularly for public libraries with an interest in art and architecture.--Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Art historian Cole uses a progression of concise, specific explorations of individual works of art or groups of related works to explore the defining characteristics of great art. In his considerations of 32 masterpieces of painting, sculpture, and architecture, he looks into the role of the artist, the function of the art object, its place in the social context of its time, and its connection to the art that preceded it. He shows how the West has continually and consciously shifted from the anonymous artist and realistic style that dominated most of its history to the current "cult of the artist" that allows for today's personalized abstractions. Abundantly illustrated in color and b&w. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781566632782
Publisher:
Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.45(d)

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What People are saying about this

Paul Barolsky
Exemplary...a judicious, beautifully wrought overview of the Western tradition in art.
— University of Virginia
Andrew Ladis
A gem...the most useful book of its kind!
— Franklin Professor of Art History, University of Georgia
Douglas Lewis
Superior and triumphant...The Informed Eye should be persuasively employed as a manual for the importance of the visual arts in the Western tradition.
— Curator of Sculpture, National Gallery of Art

Meet the Author

Bruce Cole is Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts, Professor of Comparative Literature, and chairman of the Department of the History of Art at Indiana University. He has written widely on Italian Renaissance art, and his many books include The Renaissance Artist at Work and, most recently, Titian and Venetian Painting.

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