History of Art

History of Art

by Anthony F. Janson, H.W. Janson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780130197290
Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
Publication date: 12/28/2000
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 408
Product dimensions: 8.66(w) x 11.81(h) x (d)

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Chapter One


Prehistoric Art


THE OLD STONE AGE


When did human beings start creating works of art? What prompted them to do so? What did these earliest works of art look like? Every history of art must begin with these questions—and with the admission that we cannot answer them. Our earliest-known ancestors began to walk on two feet about four million years ago, but how they were using their hands remains unknown to us. Not until more than two million years later do we meet the earliest evidence of toolmaking. Humans must have been using tools all along, however. After all, apes will pick up a stick to knock down a banana or a stone to throw at an enemy. The making of tools is a more complex matter. It demands first of all the ability to think of sticks or stones as "fruit knockers" or "bone crackers," not only when they are needed for such purposes but at other times as well.

    Once humans were able to do this, they gradually discovered that some sticks or stones had a handier shape than others, and they put them aside for future use. They selected and "appointed" certain sticks or stones as tools because they had begun to connect form and function. The sticks, of course, have not survived, but a few of the stones have. They are large pebbles or chunks of rock that show the marks of repeated use for the same operation, whatever that may have been. The next step was to try chipping away at these tools-by-appointment in order to improve their shape. This is the first craft of which we have evidence, and with it we enter a phase of humandevelopment known as the Paleolithic, or Old Stone Age, which lasted from about 40,000 to 10,000 B.C.


Cave Art


CHAUVET. The most striking works of Paleolithic art are the images of animals incised, painted, or sculptured on the rock surfaces of caves. In the recently discovered Chauvet cave in southeastern France, we meet the earliest paintings known to us, dating from more than 30,000 years ago. Ferocious lions, panthers, rhinoceroses, bears, reindeer, and mammoths are depicted with extraordinary vividness, along with bulls, horses, birds, and occasionally humans. These paintings already show an assurance and refinement far removed from any humble beginnings. What a vivid, lifelike image is the depiction of horses seen in figure 28! We are amazed not only by the keen observation and the assured, vigorous outlines, but even more perhaps by the power and expressiveness of these creatures. Unless we are to believe that images such as this came into being in a single, sudden burst, we must assume that they were preceded by thousands of years of development about which we know nothing at all.


ALTAMIRA AND LASCAUX. On the basis of differences among the tools and other remains found there, scholars have divided up later "cavemen" into several groups, each named after a characteristic site. Of these it is the so-called Aurignacians and Magdalenians who stand out for the gifted artists they produced and for the important role art must have played in their lives. Besides Chauvet, the major sites are at Altamira, in northern Spain (fig. 29), and Lascaux, in the Dordogne region of France (figs. 30 and 31). At Lascaux, as at Chauvet, bison, deer, horses, and cattle race across walls and ceiling in wild profusion. Some of them are simply outlined in black, others filled in with bright earth colors, but all show the same uncanny sense of life. No less important, the style remains essentially the same between the two caves, despite the gap of thousands of years—testimony to the remarkable stability of Paleolithic culture. Gone, however, are the fiercest of beasts.

    How did this extraordinary art happen to survive intact over so many thousands of years? The question can be answered easily enough. The pictures never occur near the mouth of a cave, where they would be open to easy view and destruction, but only in the darkest recesses, as far from the entrance as possible (fig. 32). Some can be reached only by crawling on hands and knees, and the path is so intricate that one would soon be lost without an expert guide. In fact, the cave at Lascaux was discovered purely by chance in 1940 by some neighborhood boys whose dog had fallen into a hole that led to the underground chamber.

    What purpose did these images serve? Hidden away as they are in the bowels of the earth, to protect them from the casual intruder, they must have been considered far more serious than decoration. There can be little doubt that they were produced as part of a magic ritual. But of what kind? The traditional explanation is that their origin lies in hunting magic. According to this theory, in "killing" the image of an animal, people of the Old Stone Age thought they had killed its vital spirit; this later evolved into fertility magic, practiced deep within the bowels of the earth. But how are we to account for the presence at Chauvet of lions and other dangerous creatures that we know were not hunted? Perhaps initially cavemen assumed the identity of lions and bears to aid in the hunt. Although it cannot be disproved, this proposal is not completely satisfying. In addition to being highly speculative, it fails to explain many curious features of cave art.

    There is a growing consensus that cave paintings must incorporate a very early form of religion. If so, the creatures found in them embody a spiritual meaning that makes of them the distant ancestors of the animal divinities and their half-human, half-animal cousins we shall meet throughout the Near East and the Aegean. Indeed, how else are we to account for their existence? Moreover, such a hypothesis accords as well with the belief that nature is filled with spirits. This belief was found the world over in the ethnographic societies that survived intact until recently.

    The existence of cave rituals relating to both human and animal fertility would seem to be confirmed by a unique group of Paleolithic drawings found in the 1950s on the walls of the cave of Addaura, near Palermo in Sicily (fig. 33). These images, incised into the rock with quick and sure lines, show human figures in dancelike movements, along with some animals; and, as at Lascaux, we again find several layers of images superimposed on one another. Here, then, we seem to be on the verge of that fusion of human and animal identity that distinguishes the earliest historical religions of Egypt and Mesopotamia.


POSSIBLE ORIGINS. Some of the cave pictures may even provide a clue to the origin of this tradition of fertility magic. In a good many instances, the shape of the animal seems to have been suggested by the natural formation of the rock, so that its body coincides with a bump, or its contour follows a vein or crack as far as possible. We all know how our imagination sometimes makes us see many sorts of images in chance formations such as clouds or blots. Perhaps at first the Stone Age artist merely reinforced the outlines of such images with a charred stick from the fire. It is tempting to think that those who proved particularly good at finding such images were given a special status as artist-magicians so that they could perfect their image-hunting, until finally they learned how to make images with little or no help from chance formations, though they continued to welcome such aid.


Carved and Painted Objects


Apart from large-scale cave art, the people of the Upper Paleolithic also produced small, hand-sized drawings and carvings in bone, horn, or stone, skillfully cut by means of flint tools. The earliest of these found so far are small figures of mammoth ivory from a cave in southwestern Germany, made 30,000 years ago. Even they, however, are already so accomplished that they too must be the fruit of an artistic tradition many thousands of years old. The graceful, harmonious curves of a running horse (fig. 34) could hardly be improved upon by a more recent sculptor. Many years of handling have worn down some details of the tiny animal. (The two converging lines on the shoulder, indicating a dart or wound, were not part of the original design.)

    Some of these carvings suggest that the objects may have originated with the recognition and elaboration of some chance resemblance. Earlier Stone Age people were content to collect pebbles in whose natural shape they saw something that apparently rendered them "magic." Echoes of this approach can sometimes be felt in later, more fully worked pieces. The so-called "Venus" of Willendorf (fig. 35), one of many such female figurines, has a bulbous roundness of form that recalls an egg-shaped "sacred pebble." Her navel, the central point of the design, is a natural cavity in the stone. She and like carvings are often considered fertility figures, based on the spiritual beliefs of "preliterate" societies of modern times. Although the idea is tempting, we cannot be certain that such parallels existed in the Old Stone Age. Likewise, the masterful Bison (fig. 36) of reindeer horn owes its compact, expressive outline in part to the contours of the palm-shaped piece of antler from which it was carved. It is a worthy companion to the splendid beasts at Altamira, Lascaux, and Chauvet.

(Continues...)

Table of Contents

PREFACES AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS12
PRELUDE14
Introduction16
ART AND THE ARTIST16
LOOKING AT ART25
PART ONE The Ancient World44
Map48
CHAPTER ONE Prehistoric Art50
THE OLD STONE AGE50
THE NEW STONE AGE54
CHAPTER TWO Egyptian Art60
THE OLD KINGDOM60
THE MIDDLE KINGDOM71
THE NEW KINGDOM72
CHAPTER THREE Ancient Near Eastern Art78
SUMERIAN ART78
ASSYRIAN ART88
PERSIAN ART92
CHAPTER FOUR Aegean Art98
CYCLADIC ART98
MINOAN ART99
MYCENAEANART106
CHAPTER FIVE Greek Art110
GEOMETRICSTYLE111
ORIENTALIZING STYLE112
The Greek Gods and Goddesses113
ARCHAIC VASE PAINTING114
The Hero in Greek Legend117
ARCHAIC SCULPTURE118
ARCHITECTURE124
CLASSICAL SCULPTURE139
Music in Ancient Greece142
Theater in Ancient Greece146
CLASSICAL PAINTING151
FOURTH-CENTURY SCULPTURE154
HELLENISTIC SCULPTURE158
COINS162
CHAPTER SIX Etruscan Art166
CHAPTER SEVEN Roman Art176
ARCHITECTURE177
SCULPTURE188
PAINTING203
Theater and Music in Ancient Rome209
Primary Sources for Part One212
Timeline One220
PART TWO The Middle Ages224
Map228
CHAPTER ONE Early Christian and Byzantine Art230
EARLY CHRISTIAN ART233
The Liturgy of the Mass235
Versions of the Bible241
The Life of Jesus246
Biblical Church, and Celestial Beings248
BYZANTINE ART249
CHAPTER TWO Early Medieval Art270
CAROLINGIAN ART275
Guilds: Masters and Apprentices276
OTTONIAN ART282
CHAPTER THREE Romanesque Art292
ARCHITECTURE293
Monasticism and Christian Monastic Orders296
SCULPTURE304
PAINTING AND METALWORK313
Hildegard of Bingen316
CHAPTER FOUR Gothic Art320
ARCHITECTURE321
Medieval Music and Theater326
SCULPTURE344
PAINTING358
Primary Sources for Part Two382
Timeline Two396
PART THREE The Renaissance Through the Rococo402
Map406
CHAPTER ONE The Early Renaissance in Italy408
FLORENCE: 1400-1450409
CENTRAL AND NORTHERN ITALY: 1450-1500434
Early Italian Renaissance Theater and Music442
CHAPTER TWO The High Renaissance in Italy452
Theater and Music During the High Renaissance464
CHAPTER THREE Mannerism and Other Trends482
PAINTING483
Music and Theater in the Age of Mannerism486
SCULPTURE496
ARCHITECTURE498
CHAPTER FOUR "Late Gothic" Painting, Sculpture, and the
Graphic Arts504
RENAISSANCE VERSUS "LATE GOTHIC" PAINTING504
Music in Fifteenth-Century Flanders517
"LATE GOTHIC" SCULPTURE521
THE GRAPHIC ARTS 523 Printmaking524
CHAPTER FIVE The Renaissance in the North527
GERMANY527
Music and Theater in the Northern Renaissance535
THE NETHERLANDS539
FRANCE544
CHAPTER SIX The Baroque in Italy and Spain548
PAINTING IN ITALY549
Baroque Music in Italy558
ARCHITECTURE, IN ITALY560
Baroque Theater in Italy and Spain569
SCULPTURE IN ITALY564
PAINTING IN SPAIN569
CHAPTER SEVEN The Baroque in Flanders and Holland574
FLANDERS574
HOLLAND581
Music and Theater in Holland586
CHAPTER EIGHT The Baroque in France and England594
FRANCE: THE AGE OF VERSAILLES594
Baroque Theater and Music in France600
ENGLAND607
Baroque Theater and Music in England607
CHAPTER NINE The Rococo610
FRANCE610
ENGLAND616
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA621
Rococo Music622
Modern Harmony624
ITALY625
Rococo Theater628
Primary Sources for Part Three630
Timeline Three644
PART FOUR The Modern World650
Map656
CHAPTER ONE Neoclassicism and Romanticism658
NEOCLASSICISM658
PAINTING659
SCULPTURE664
ARCHITECTURE667
Neoclassical Theater667
Neoclassical Music670
THE ROMANTIC MOVEMENT672
PAINTING672
New Printmaking Techniques674
The Romantic Movement in Literature and Theater694
SCULPTURE698
Romanticism in Music702
ARCHITECTURE706
DECORATIVE ARTS712
PHOTOGRAPHY712
CHAPTER TWO Realism and Impressionism718
PAINTING718
Nationalism in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Music730
SCULPTURE734
ARCHITECTURE738
Realism in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Theater740
OTHER FIELDS743
CHAPTER THREE Post-Impressionism, Symbolism, and Art
Nouveau746
PAINTING 746 Music in the Post-Impressionist Era758
SCULPTURE 765 Theater in the Post-Impressionist Era766
ARCHITECTURE 768 PHOTOGRAPHY774
CHAPTER FOUR Twentieth-Century Painting780
PAINTING BEFORE WORLD WAR I780
EXPRESSIONISM 781 ABSTRACTION788
Music Before World War I790
Theater Before World War I795
FANTASY 796 REALISM799
PAINTING BETWEEN THE WARS800
Theater Between the Wars812
Music Between the Wars816
PAINTING SINCE WORLD WAR II818
Theater Since World War II824
LATE MODERNISM836
Music Since World War II838
CHAPTER FIVE Twentieth-Century Sculpture844
SCULPTURE BEFORE, WORLD WAR I844
SCULPTURE BETWEEN THE WARS847
SCULPTURE SINCE 1945855
CHAPTER SIX Twentieth-Century Architecture872
ARCHITECTURE BEFORE WORLD WAR I872
ARCHITECTURE BETWEEN THE WARS876
DESIGN883
ARCHITECTURE FROM 1945 TO 1980884
CHAPTER SEVEN Twentieth-Century Photography894
THE FIRST HALF-CENTURY894
PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1945908
CHAPTER EIGHT Postmodernism914
POSTMODERN ART916
ARCHITECTURE916
SCULPTURE923
PAINTING927
Postmodernism in Music and Theater928
PHOTOGRAPHY929
POSTSCRIPT: POSTMODERN THEORY931
Primary Sources for Part Four934
Timeline Four950
BOOKS FOR FURTHER READING956
GLOSSARY965
ART AND ARCHITECTURE WEB SITE GAZETTEER972
INDEX977
CREDITS999

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History of Art 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Janson's History of Art is still the best comprehensive survey of art history. Taking the student from ancient times when work was ceremonial, it covers the masters (Michelangelo, DaVinci, El Greco, Rembrandt, et al), it also addresses lesser known contemporaries of the greats. An excellent text for any beginning student of art history or one looking for an introduction to art appreciation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The fifth, revised edition of this classic remains the essential survey of western art. Anthony Janson deserves credit for updating and improving, but not changing, his father's original intention: to introduce students and general readers to the great achievements of western art from prehistory to (in its updated form) post-modernism in a highly perceptive, but friendly fashion. I am particulary relieved by the text's continued foundation in historical evidence rather than the ideology of the moment. Unlike a recent competitor survey which misleads the reader to believe that Renissance art began in northern Europe rather than in Italy (particularly Florence), Janson's text remains on solid scholarly ground. This book belongs on all art lovers shelves, be they students, art appreciators, or even historians. Magnificent color plates and the slipcased edition a real bonus!