The book is erudite, eclectic with strong individuality emanating from the powerful intellect and personality of the author.
The structure is consistent within and between chapters and comprises three distinct but interwoven elements:a succint text by the author, colour pictures lavishly illustrating the points made by the author in the text and excerpts from the sources used by the author belonging to both eponymous and anonymous authors. These excerpts were invariably, meticulously and eclectically selected and fascinating in their own right due to their engaging writing style varying from the naive during the Dark Ages to the progressively sophisticated from the Renaissance onwards and in that they provide the character of the aesthetics and the ideal of beauty of the particular era they refer to, as well as the cultural and social context in which the works of art were created.
The book covers the entire spectrum of artistic creation from the classical Greek antiquity to the end of the twentieth century and beyond.
In the ensuing I shall present a sample of the writing of the author relating to classical Greece and a sample of chapters comprising the book.
Regarding classical Greece we are not merely presented with the familiar serene harmony, understood as order and measure, expressed in a Beauty that Nietzsche called Apollonian but also with the less familiar and disquieting, Dionysiac Beauty, which was not expressed in apparent forms, but over and above appearances. This was the joyous and dangerous Beauty, antithetical to reason and often depicted as possession and madness:it is the nocturnal side of the mild Attic sky, populated by initiation mysteries and obscure sacrificial rites, like the Eleusinian rites.
Chapters include 'The Aesthetic Ideal in Ancient Greece', 'Beauty as Proportion and Harmony', 'Light and Colour in the Middle Ages', 'Magic Beauty between the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century', 'From Grace to Disquieting Beauty', 'Reason and Beauty', 'The Sublime', 'Romantic Beauty', 'The Religion of Beauty', 'From Abstract Forms to the Depths of Material', and 'The Beauty of the Media'.
The book is intellectually stimulating, visually attractive and possesses literary merit. It should fascinate and fulfil even the more discriminating reader.