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The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt: The Body of the Public Hardcover – 1 Jul 1986

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Examines the opinions of Reynolds, Barry, Blake, and Fuseli in regard to the function of painting in modern society.

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flawed brilliance 27 Feb. 1999
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Format: Hardcover
Though Barrell's interpretation of Reynolds's shifts in political alleigence during the course of the Discourses is sometimnes strained, there is no doubt that his central thesis concerning the 'body of the public' in 18th century art theory is profoundly important and illuminating. Barrell's discussion of aesthetic and poltical theories is always brilliant, provocative and intellectually stimulating. Alas, when he abandons the 'civic' discourse of the eighteenth century to address the world of Blake and Hazlitt he gets into a bit of a mess. His comments on Blake are eccentric to say the least. Neverthless, he does force us to radically rethink our attitudes to all the figures discussed here. This book is indispensable.
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