In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity's artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the motto, Everyone is an artist,” Spivey takes us on a quest to find out when and how we humans began to explore the deepest questions of life, using visual artforms. With the help of vivid color illustrations of some of the world's most moving and enduring works of art, Spivey shows how that art has been used as a means of mass persuasion, essential to the creation of hierarchical societies, and finally, the extent to which art has served as a mode of terror management in the face of our inevitable death. Packed with new insights into ancient wonders and fascinating stories from all around the globe, How Art Made the World is a compelling account of how humans made art and how art makes us human.
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About the Author
Nigel Spivey is a lecturer in Classics at Cambridge University. He has written several books on Greek and Etruscan art. He is the presenter of the BBC/PBS television series How Art Made the World,” which this book accompanies. He lives in Cambridge, England.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
How Art Made the World: A Journey to the Origins of Human Creativity based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Don't necessarily agree with some of the tenative conclusions that are being drawn; but largely an informative and fun read.
Nigel Spivey writes with eloquence and gentle humor and a rich understanding of his chosen topic - how art has informed life has informed art since the beginnings of history. This is one of those books that will appeal to all audiences, whether they be primarily interested in history, archeology, art, human studies, or mystery. It is all here in one splendid volume. Based on a British television series by the same title, Spivey wanders through the most primitive art known from cave drawings, to ornaments, to early 'sculpture' or god figures, into the Renaissance. With very generous pictorial examples he clearly demonstrates how from the very inception of 'art', as we know it, mankind has tackled with the Big Questions - creation, life, death, and gods to God. He shows panoramas of cave drawings which address 'us vs. them', hunting, procreation, fertility, and symbols to ward off evil, be those mythical beasties or Satan or elements of nature confined to diagram, and celebrations and funeral rites. The permutations seem endless. But in the end this book invites us to look at 'art' in a new way - as a manifestation of man's looking inward at himself, finding a rational universe out of his attempts to represent phenomena. It was then, it is now, and hopefully it ever shall be - Art. Wonderful book. Highly recommended! Grady Harp