What Painting Is

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Overview

Unlike many books on painting that usually talk about art or painters, James Elkins’ compelling and original work focuses on alchemy, for like the alchemist, the painter seeks to transform and be transformed by the medium.

In What Painting Is, James Elkins communicates the experience of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history. Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in her or his studio - the smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colours will mix, and how they will look.

Written from the perspective of a painter-turned-art historian, What Painting Is is like nothing you have ever read about art.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415926621
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 464,451
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James Elkins is Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of many books, including The Poetics of Perspective (1994), The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing (1996), Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing(1997) and Why are Our Pictures Puzzles? forthcoming from Routledge.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2002

    A literary insight into the act of painting.

    As an artist i felt that Elkin makes numerous accurate descriptions and successful depictions of what it is to paint and use paint as an artistic tool. His comparison to alchemy may be the most natural of all intreptations of the actual act of painting. The act of painting, which can be so difficult to describe to those unfamilar with the physical presence of brushes and the livelihood of a studio, are presented in a hands-on manor by Elkin. This book not only gives the reader an insight into the thought processes of artist, it also gives an insight into the moments that conscience thought may cease to exist. It will undoubtly change the way the reader looks at or creates art.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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