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

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714846323
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.87 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 7
Ch. 1 Plato's Preferences 11
Interlude - Progress or Decline? 35
Ch. 2 The Ascendancy of the Sublime 43
Ch. 3 The Pre-Raphaelite Ideal 87
Ch. 4 The Quest for Spirituality 145
Ch. 5 The Emancipation of Formal Values 177
Interlude - New Worlds and New Myths 196
Ch. 6 The Twentieth Century 201
Ch. 7 Primitive - in what Sense? 269
App The Study of Antiquities 298
Notes 301
Index 312
Photographic Credits 323
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