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Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?: On the Modern Origins of Pictorial Complexity

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Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?: On the Modern Origins of Pictorial Complexity Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What is it about modern life that makes us see enigmas and puzzles in images? Has our world become more complex or are we struggling to make meaning where there is none?

With bracing clarity, James Elkins explores why images are taken to be more intricate and hard to describe in the twentieth century than they had been in any previous century. Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles? uses three models to understand the kinds of complex meaning that pictures are thought to possess: the affinity between the meanings of paintings and jigsaw-puzzles; the contemporary interest in ambiguity and levels of meaning; and the penchant many have to interpret pictures by finding images hidden within them. Elkins explores a wide variety of examples, from the figures hidden in Renaissance paintings to Salvador Dali's paranoiac meditations on Millet's Angelus, from Persian miniature paintings to jigsaw-puzzles. He also examines some of the most vexed works in history, including Watteau's meaningless paintings, Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, and Leonardo's Last Supper. Consistently intriguing and challenging, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?is not an exploration of what is the truth about paintings, but why the most interesting paintings are puzzles.

Book News Annotation:

Elkins (art history, School of the Art Institute of Chicago) draws on theoretical sources ranging from Carlo Ginzburg to Jacques Derrida to explore why 20th century art critics read more into paintings than earlier critics did.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

With bracing clarity, James Elkins explores why images are taken to be more intricate and hard to describe in the twentieth century than they had been in any previous century. Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles? uses three models to understand the kinds of complex meaning that pictures are thought to possess: the affinity between the meanings of paintings and jigsaw-puzzles; the contemporary interest in ambiguity and 'levels of meaning'; and the penchant many have to interpret pictures by finding images hidden within them. Elkins explores a wide variety of examples, from the figures hidden in Renaissance paintings to Salvador Dali's paranoiac meditations on Millet's Angelus, from Persian miniature paintings to jigsaw-puzzles. He also examines some of the most vexed works in history, including Watteau's meaningless paintings, Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, and Leonardo's Last Supper.

Synopsis:

With bracing clarity, Elkins explores why images are taken to be more intricate and hard to describe in the 20th century than they had been in any previous century. 50 illustrations.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780415919425
Author:
Elkins, James
Publisher:
Routledge
Author:
Elkins
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Painting
Subject:
Art
Subject:
Psychology
Subject:
Criticism
Subject:
Communication in art.
Subject:
Criticism - General
Subject:
Painting - General
Subject:
Techniques - Painting
Subject:
Criticism -- Theory.
Subject:
Painting -- Psychology.
Subject:
Art-Theory and Criticism
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Publication Date:
19990131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
302
Dimensions:
8.99x6.03x.79 in. 1.21 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Architecture » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Painting » General
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Reference
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Theory and Criticism
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
History and Social Science » Economics » General

Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?: On the Modern Origins of Pictorial Complexity New Trade Paper
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$45.50 Backorder
Product details 302 pages Routledge - English 9780415919425 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , With bracing clarity, James Elkins explores why images are taken to be more intricate and hard to describe in the twentieth century than they had been in any previous century. Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles? uses three models to understand the kinds of complex meaning that pictures are thought to possess: the affinity between the meanings of paintings and jigsaw-puzzles; the contemporary interest in ambiguity and 'levels of meaning'; and the penchant many have to interpret pictures by finding images hidden within them. Elkins explores a wide variety of examples, from the figures hidden in Renaissance paintings to Salvador Dali's paranoiac meditations on Millet's Angelus, from Persian miniature paintings to jigsaw-puzzles. He also examines some of the most vexed works in history, including Watteau's meaningless paintings, Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, and Leonardo's Last Supper.
"Synopsis" by , With bracing clarity, Elkins explores why images are taken to be more intricate and hard to describe in the 20th century than they had been in any previous century. 50 illustrations.
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