To the extent that any art historian becomes "famous," Sir Ernst Gombrich is the most famous art historian in the world. He is the author of the seminal work The Story of Art, a staunch champion of the traditional canon, and a perceptive analyst of artistry and illusion. This massive collection includes essays, excerpts from the groundbreaking Art and Illusion, autobiographical notes, and reflections on artists from Raphael to Saul Steinberg. Gombrich is not a modernist, and he has been criticized for his misunderstanding of abstract painting; but his conceptions of art encompass modern psychology and history, the study of gesture and ornament, and the social history of art. Above all, Gombrich stands against sweeping generalizations, maintaining that works of art "are not the results of some mysterious activity, but objects made by human beings for human beings."
Professor E.H. Gombrich is acknowledged as one of the most influential scholars and thinkers of the 20th century. His writings include three major narrative works - "The Story of Art", "Art and Illusion" and "The Sense of Order" - and ten volumes of collected essays and reviews. This anthology presents a selection from all these books, as well as six pieces which have previously not been published by Phaidon. This work contains discussions on the nature of representation, the psychology of perception, the interpretation of images and the problems of theory and method. Other topics include social and cultural history, connoisseurship, iconography, symbolism and meaning in art, relativism, tradition, conservatism, and the idea of progress.
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