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Ceramic, Art and Civilisation

Ceramic, Art and Civilisation

by Paul Greenhalgh


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In his major new history, Paul Greenhalgh tells the story of ceramics as a story of human civilisation, from the Ancient Greeks to the present day. As a core craft technology, pottery has underpinned domesticity, business, religion, recreation, architecture, and art for millennia. Indeed, the history of ceramics parallels the development of human society.

This fascinating and very human history traces the story of ceramic art and industry from the Ancient Greeks to the Romans and the medieval world; Islamic ceramic cultures and their influence on the Italian Renaissance; Chinese and European porcelain production; modernity and Art Nouveau; the rise of the studio potter, Art Deco, International Style and Mid-Century Modern, and finally, the contemporary explosion of ceramic making and the postmodern potter. Interwoven in this jourbaney through time and place is the story of the pots themselves, the culture of the ceramics, and their character and meaning. Ceramics have had a presence in virtually every country and historical period, and have worked as a commodity servicing every social class. They are omnipresent: a ubiquitous art. Ceramic culture is a clear, unique, definable thing, and has an internal logic that holds it together through millennia. Hence ceramics is the most peculiar and extraordinary of all the arts. At once cheap, expensive, elite, plebeian, high-tech, low-tech, exotic, eccentric, comic, tragic, spiritual, and secular, it has revealed itself to be as fluid as the mud it is made from.

Ceramics are the very stuff of how civilized life was, and is, led. This then is the story of human society's most surprising core causes and effects.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781474239707
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date: 03/11/2021
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 562,423
Product dimensions: 8.83(w) x 11.18(h) x 1.48(d)

About the Author

Paul Greenhalgh is Director of the Sainsbury Centre and Professor of Art History and Museum Strategy at the University of East Anglia, UK. He was previously Head of Research at the V&A Museum, London, and is the author of books including The Persistence of Craft (2002) and Art Nouveau (2000).

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Ceramic Continuum (2017)

1. What ceramic is

2. The Value of the Greek Potter (2500 – 300 BCE)

3. Rome and the Invention of Europe (300 BCE – 900 AD)

4. Renaissances in Tin. (900-1600)

5. China: the Love of White Gold (900-1900)

6. Salt, Cream, Pantheists, Goths, and Colonials (1600-1840)

7. The Rise of Style (1815-1940)

8. Naturalism, Symbolism, Modernism (1870-1950).

9. The Potter in the Studio (1920-2000)

10. Postmodernity, hybridity, plurality (1980-2010)

Afterword: So it goes…

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