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The Invention of Art: A Cultural History

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The Invention of Art: A Cultural History Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

We take enormous comfort in the notion that art began in ancient Greece, or maybe even the Renaissance, and that its progress can be traced through a long series of masterpieces. We believe even more firmly in the idea that art is transcendent and universal. With The Invention of Art, Larry Shiner challenges these articles of faith and invites us to reconsider the history of art entirely. He argues that the category of fine art is a modern invention-that the lines drawn between art and craft resulted from key social transformations in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

The idea of fine art was inextricably linked to the development of new market economies and the rise of the middle classes, both constituting enormous changes in Western culture. During this period, the art museum, a place where art could be viewed, digested, and contemplated, first came into being. Meanwhile, critics became less interested in how art and literature functioned, and more fascinated with art's aesthetic worth. At the same time, the performance of classical music shifted from places of worship and political ceremonies to more secular and commercial venues where it could be listened to silently. And accompanying these institutional changes was the dissolution of the patronage system for producing art and the advent of a new market system supported by consumers.

The Invention of Art traces the rich tradition of opposition to these institutions. Shiner looks at works by thinkers as varied as Hogarth, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Emerson, Marx, Dewey, and Benjamin. Ultimately, he shows how the modern system maintains its dominance through the assimilation of artists and musicians who resist it, and the distinctions it draws between artists and artisans, and high art and the crafts.

Synopsis:

With The Invention of Art, Larry Shiner challenges our conventional understandings of art and asks us to reconsider its history entirely, arguing that the category of fine art is a modern invention—that the lines drawn between art and craft resulted from key social transformations in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

"Shiner spent over a decade honing what he calls 'a brief history of the idea of art.' This carefully prepared and—given the extent and complexity of what he's discussing—admirably concise, well-organized book is the result. . . . Shiner's text is scholarly but accessible, and should appeal to readers with even a dabbler's interest in art theory."—Publishers Weekly

"The Invention of Art is enjoyable to read and provides a welcome addition to the history and philosophy of art."—Terrie L. Wilson, Art Documentation

"A lucid book . . . it should be a must-read for anyone active in the arts."—Marc Spiegler, Chicago Tribune Books

Synopsis:

With The Invention of Art, Larry Shiner challenges our conventional understandings of art and asks us to reconsider its history entirely, arguing that the category of fine art is a modern invention—that the lines drawn between art and craft resulted from key social transformations in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

"Shiner spent over a decade honing what he calls 'a brief history of the idea of art.' This carefully prepared and—given the extent and complexity of what he's discussing—admirably concise, well-organized book is the result. . . . Shiner's text is scholarly but accessible, and should appeal to readers with even a dabbler's interest in art theory."—Publishers Weekly

"The Invention of Art is enjoyable to read and provides a welcome addition to the history and philosophy of art."—Terrie L. Wilson, Art Documentation

"A lucid book . . . it should be a must-read for anyone active in the arts."—Marc Spiegler, Chicago Tribune Books

About the Author

Larry Shiner is a professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of The Secularization of History and The Secret Mirror.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface

Introduction

The Great Division

Words and Institutions

PART I: BEFORE FINE ART AND CRAFT

Overview

1. The Greeks Had No Word for It

Art, techne, ars

The Artisan/Artist

2. Aquinas's Saw

From "Servile" to "Mechanical" Arts

Artificers

The Idea of Beauty

3. Michelangelo and Shakespeare: Art on the Rise

Opening up the Liberal Arts

The Changing Status of Artisan/Artists

The Ideal Qualities of the Artisan/Artist

Shakespeare, Jonson, and the "Work"

A Proto-Aesthetic?

4. Artemesia's Allegory: Art in Transition

The Artisan/Artist's Continuing Struggle for Status

The Image of the Artisan/Artist

Steps toward the Category of Fine Art

The Role of Taste

PART II: ART DIVIDED

Overview

5. Polite Arts for the Polite

Constructing the Category of Fine Art

The New Institutions of Fine Art

The New Art Public

6. The Artist, the Work, and the Market

The Separation of the Artist from the Artisan

The Ideal Image of the Artist

The Fate of the Artisan

The Gender of Genius

The Ideal of the "Work of Art"

From Patronage to the Market

7. From Taste to the Aesthetic

Learning Aesthetic Behavior

The Art Public and the Problem of Taste

The Elements of the Aesthetic

Kant and Schiller Sum Up the Aesthetic

PART III: COUNTERCURRENTS

Overview

8. Hogarth, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft

Hogarth's "Hedonist Aesthetics"

Rousseau's Festival Aesthetic

Wollstonecraft and the Beauty of Justice

9. Revolution: Music, Festival, Museum

The Collapse of Patronage

The Revolutionary Festivals

Revolutionary Music

The Revolution and the Museum

PART IV: THE APOTHEOSIS OF ART

Overview

10. Art as Redemptive Revelation

Art Becomes an Independent Realm

The Spiritual Elevation of Art

11. The Artist: A Sacred Calling

The Exalted Image of Artists

The Descent of the Artisan

12. Silences: Triumph of the Aesthetic

Learning Aesthetic Behavior

The Rise of the Aesthetic and the Decline of Beauty

The Problem of Art and Society

PART V: BEYOND ART AND CRAFT

Overview

13. Assimilation and Resistance

The Assimilation of Photography

Varieties of Resistance: Emerson, Marx, Ruskin, Morris

The Arts and Crafts Movement

14. Modernism, Anti-Art, Bauhaus

Modernism and Purity

The Case of Photography

Anti-Art

The Bauhaus

Three Philosopher-Critics on the Division of Art

Modernism and Formalism Triumphant

15. Beyond Art and Craft?

"Primitive Art"

Crafts-as-Art

Architecture as Art

The Photography-as-Art Boom

The "Death of Literature"?

Mass Art

Art and Life

Public Art

Conclusion

Notes

References

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226753423
Author:
Shiner, L. E.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Author:
Shiner, L. E.
Location:
Chicago
Subject:
General
Subject:
History - General
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Fine Arts
Subject:
Arts
Subject:
General Art
Subject:
Arts -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Arts -- History.
Subject:
Art - General
Edition Description:
1
Series Volume:
6
Publication Date:
20010931
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
87 halftones, 3 line drawings, 5 tables
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism

The Invention of Art: A Cultural History New Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226753423 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
With The Invention of Art, Larry Shiner challenges our conventional understandings of art and asks us to reconsider its history entirely, arguing that the category of fine art is a modern invention—that the lines drawn between art and craft resulted from key social transformations in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

"Shiner spent over a decade honing what he calls 'a brief history of the idea of art.' This carefully prepared and—given the extent and complexity of what he's discussing—admirably concise, well-organized book is the result. . . . Shiner's text is scholarly but accessible, and should appeal to readers with even a dabbler's interest in art theory."—Publishers Weekly

"The Invention of Art is enjoyable to read and provides a welcome addition to the history and philosophy of art."—Terrie L. Wilson, Art Documentation

"A lucid book . . . it should be a must-read for anyone active in the arts."—Marc Spiegler, Chicago Tribune Books

"Synopsis" by ,
With The Invention of Art, Larry Shiner challenges our conventional understandings of art and asks us to reconsider its history entirely, arguing that the category of fine art is a modern invention—that the lines drawn between art and craft resulted from key social transformations in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

"Shiner spent over a decade honing what he calls 'a brief history of the idea of art.' This carefully prepared and—given the extent and complexity of what he's discussing—admirably concise, well-organized book is the result. . . . Shiner's text is scholarly but accessible, and should appeal to readers with even a dabbler's interest in art theory."—Publishers Weekly

"The Invention of Art is enjoyable to read and provides a welcome addition to the history and philosophy of art."—Terrie L. Wilson, Art Documentation

"A lucid book . . . it should be a must-read for anyone active in the arts."—Marc Spiegler, Chicago Tribune Books

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