Anne D’Alleva defines theory as “the process of formulating research questions” and methodology as “the process of trying to answer these questions”. She asserts that methods and theories have changed art history as an academic discipline enormously over the past twenty years. Having been a student in the heyday of Wölfflin’s and Panofsky’s influence decades ago I cannot but agree with her. I must admit that I feel like someone from a lost generation when I try to embark on theories like semiotics, structuralism and other more recent theories. Nevertheless I have tried to grasp the basics of these theories. Whatever I may have achieved it must be thanks to D’Alleva’s mastery of the subject and her ability to convey her knowledge to the reader. But be warned: If you want to achieve something from the reading of this book you should be aware of D’Alleva’s advice: Follow the so called SQ3R process (Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review). And keep the book at hand to delve into when necessary for your research.
This is a fantastic book for any art student. Just starting a module at OU about modern art of 20th century and this is the best background you could have to any art course, undergraduate or otherwise. I shall be looking out for more publications by this author.
There is no need to advertise this book. The author is an eminent content expert and an experienced teacher with a very modern approach to the subject matter. I've lost my previous copy of this book (as there were many people willing to read it but the last one was not so willing to get it back to me) and I didn't wait a single day to order another one. Anne D'Alleva is my guru of art history!