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Critical Terms for Art History Paperback – 25 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (25 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226571688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226571683
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.3 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robert S. Nelson is a Distinguished Service Professor of Art History and History of Culture at the University of Chicago. Lately he has edited "Visuality before and beyond the Renaissance: Seeing as Others Saw" and is currently working on a book about the modern lives of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Richard Shiff is the Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art and director of the Center for the Study of Modernism at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of "Cezanne and the End of Impressionism: A Study of the Theory, Technique, and Critical Evaluation of Modern Art."

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First Sentence
This essay is a schematic history of the problem of representation, written with an eye toward explaining how it came to be possible to use this term in some of the ways we now do. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By The Book Thief on 11 Dec 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent companion for the art history student or anyone interested in thinking about art. The book is divided into essays on broad notions such as 'body' (written by amelia jones) or 'social history of art' (written by craig clunas). I feel like this book is almost a cheat sheet because the authors of each essay usually outline the arguments and key thinkers on each topic. This is a great introduction to the issues and a very clear indicator of where the reader can go to think about the topic in more depth without having to trawl through mounds of books to find a few key theories about the topic which they are interested in. I am currently writing an essay of the use of the artists body in certain art works and Amelia Jones has provided the tools with which I can begin my research, eliminating ideas and writers which I previously might have read only to find that they weren't necessary for my argument. I am really grateful to have been recommended this book in my undergraduate degree and I now use it extensively during my postgraduate work.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BluePinkGreen on 5 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really useful book. Excellent selection of current, relevant and highly quotable texts. Always one of the first things I pick up when researching a new topic.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Artsreadings on 23 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is an essential read for anybody who wants to discuss seriously about the history of art and has vague ideas about big words attached to the discourse of art history.
Every author who contributed to the edited volume provides food for thought about concepts which often appears in everyday chats and columns but are often mistreated or misunderstood.
The essays collected in this volume are very valuable to offer a special insight about various concepts and provide a standing point from where the reader can move forward.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This arrived promptly and was in good condition. I haven't finished reading it yet but it seems enjoyable so far.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Good book for exploring criticism topics 25 Sep 2000
By Matthew Maldre - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you interested in reading about particular themes in contemporary art. This book covers a whole slew of art crit terms.
Each individual term is explored by its own essay. Each essay is written by a different author (mostly in the 80s and 90s). These essays are around 14 pages long, so these terms are explored rather in depth. The writing is so thick in this book it takes a good chainsaw to hack through 'em. But the effort is well worth it.
Here's the terms explored: Representation, Sign, Simulacrum, Word and Image, Narrative, Context, Meaning/Interpretation, Originality, Appropriation, Art History, Modernism, Avant-Garde, Primitive, Ritual, Fetish, Gaze, Gender, Modes of Production, Commodity, Collecting/Museums, Value, Postmodernism/Postcolonialism, and Figuration
My favorite essay so far is the one on Simulacrum.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in art criticism. It provides some interesing viewpoints.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
where art history and philosophy intersect, 17 July 2007
By paedagogue - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
you will find books such as this one. A Ph.D. is not required to understand it, but it will give you an intellectual workout, as it is not a beginner's handbook. You need to have read some art history (beyond the "what, where, when, who" level), and some art criticism, to see the rationale behind its chapter headings. It is also not a book about works of art as such, but about the special terms and concepts used in current interpretive writing on the "fine" arts (primarily arts of Western European derivation, but the contributors are sensitive in handling the cultural bias of their sources). ALL of the authors are distinguished authorities on the topics they discuss. I think it is a strength of this book that they do not share a homogeneous intellectual background, or ideological bias, and also that they are not all the same age, but made their greatest contributions at different points in the recent (roughly, between 1970 and 1990) "crisis" of art historical writing. The most useful feature of this book, to my mind, is that it provides carefully argued contextual analysis of critical terms which either 1) have a long history of use (and therefore need unpacking before we can grasp the "unconscious"--sometimes contradictory--values they impose on the works to which they're applied), or 2) have been recently introduced to enable an informed critique of traditional art history. The cumulative effect of the various essays is to demistify some of our more cherished assumptions about the value of art: its timeless messages, its inspired origins, its spiritual uplift, its higher expressiveness/beauty/perfections. In other words, if you hope for a "feel-good" treatment of art critical standards, this is not your book. And yet, if you can accept that making and using works of art are social activities, and like the other products and customs of human societies, are constantly in flux even as they depend for their existence on inherited techniques, formulas, and ideals, then this book will provide a wonderful "relief map" of the intellectual foundations of current art history/art criticism.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Learning the rules of the game 23 July 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Most of these essays are written by extremely prominent art historians and critics, such as WJT Mitchell, Homi Bhaba, the late Michael Camille, Jas' Elsner, and Nina Kallmyer. Each writer explores a "charged" term currently used in art criticism, such as "representation," "social art history," "ugliness," and "beauty." In each essay, the writer explores the meaning of the term by applying it to a single work of art. Though the essays vary in difficulty, each is ultimately very rewarding. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of art criticism. An absolute must for journalists, art critics, and students.
Great Book 2 July 2013
By T. Connelley - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a great Art History book with many engaging articles in it. I had to have it for my theories and research class and I liked it a lot.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Average 15 Sep 2012
By AHist - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My book was definitely still suitable for my needs but it had more handwritten notes in the margin than I would have expected. Also the index was falling out.
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