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At once engaging, personal, and analytical, this book provides the intellectual resources for the critical understanding of art
Charles Harrison’s landmark book offers an original, clear, and wide-ranging introduction to the arts of painting and sculpture, to the principal artistic print media, and to the visual arts of modernism and post-modernism. Covering the entire history of art, from Paleolithic cave painting to contemporary art, it provides foundational guidance on the basic character and techniques of the different art forms, on the various genres of painting in the Western tradition, and on the techniques of sculpture as they have been practiced over several millennia and across a wide range of cultures. Throughout the book, Harrison discusses the relative priorities of aesthetic appreciation and historical inquiry, and the importance of combining the two approaches. Written in a style that is at once graceful, engaging, and personal, as well as analytical and exact, this illuminating book offers an impassioned and timely defense of the importance and value of the firsthand encounter with works of art, whether in museums or in their original locations.