By Elizabeth Prettejohn
What will we suggest once we name a piece of artwork "beautiful"? How have artists replied to altering notions of the attractive? which fits of artwork were known as attractive, and why? basic and fascinating inquiries to artists and artwork enthusiasts, yet ones which are all too frequently missed in discussions of artwork today.
Elizabeth Prettejohn argues that we easily can't have enough money to disregard those questions. Charting over 2 hundred years of western paintings, she illuminates the important courting among our altering notions of attractiveness and particular artworks, from the works of Kauffman to Whistler, Ingres to Rosetti, Cezanne to Pollack. superbly illustrated with a hundred photographs--60 in complete color--Beauty and Art concludes with a hard query for the longer term: Why should still we care approximately attractiveness within the twenty-first century?
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Additional resources for Beauty and Art: 1750-2000 (Oxford History of Art)
1778 impossible—not only to mimic the paintings of the ancients, in Winckelmann’s view the best artwork ever made, yet to surpass the very phrases of that undertaking, to develop into ‘inimitable’. A drawing by way of the Swiss-born artist Henry Fuseli (1741–1825), The Artist in depression over the importance of historic Fragments , will be taken to symbolize visually anything of the trendy artist’s plight. not just are the items of historic sculpture large in scale in comparison to the tiny artist; they're the merest fragments of a human physique, the grandeur of that could merely be imagined. The dwelling artist may perhaps certainly ﬂinch, as a lot prior to the novel unfathomability of historical paintings as prior to the big job of attempting to rival it. but that used to be precisely what Winckelmann demanded, in writings that often addressed artists without delay. For Winckelmann the invention of the wonderful thing about Greek artwork used to be now not of in simple terms antiquarian curiosity: it used to be of significant value to the construction of recent good looks within the current and destiny. The visible paintings of the second one 1/2 the eighteenth century appears to be like to reply dramatically to Winckelmann’s problem. within the improvement that paintings historians have known as ‘neoclassicism’, artists started to reject Baroque complexity and Rococo frivolity in favour of inventive practices extra akin, even if in assorted methods, to the ‘noble simplicity and quiet grandeur’ of the vintage, in Winckelmann’s recognized phrases. although, this can be no uncomplicated subject of reason and influence; fairly, the hyperlinks among Winckelmann’s rules and modern paintings perform have been reciprocal. Winckelmann said his debt to the artists, ﬁrst in Dresden, then in Rome, who taught him to appear heavily at old paintings. while, within the Preface to the historical past, he asks: ‘What author has checked out good looks with an artist’s eyes? ’,24 he signifies that students and connois32 eighteenth-century germany: winckelmann and kant seurs have to research from practitioners’ visible talents. nevertheless, Winckelmann additionally anticipated his examine and writing to make a way more direct influence on artwork perform than such a lot paintings historians have even dreamed attainable. we've seen that for Winckelmann the great thing about historical artwork was once no longer immured long ago, yet comes alive in simple terms within the current, within the observer’s stumble upon with a specific paintings. Winckelmann’s personal writings could be visible as a method of creating the wonderful thing about historical artwork vibrant and communicable within the current day—in this feeling they ‘imitate’ the traditional artists in phrases. yet visible artists are able to do whatever comparable in the course of the production of recent works. all through his writings Winckelmann retains glossy artwork (that is, ecu paintings because the Renaissance, in addition to the paintings of his contemporaries) continuously in view. Already within the Reﬂections, the Renaissance artist Raphael is a key aspect of reference; he's the ﬁrst to ‘feel and to find nowa days the real personality of the ancients’. 25 Winckelmann writes of Raphael’s Sistine Madonna  as a latest recognition of the ‘noble simplicity and quiet grandeur’ of historical artwork: ‘Behold this Madonna, her face ﬁlled with innocence and outstanding greatness, in a posture of comfortable serenity!