The Preference for the Primitive: Episodes in the History of Western Taste and Art

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9780714846323: The Preference for the Primitive: Episodes in the History of Western Taste and Art

This is a study of the recurring phenomenon in Western art - the feeling that older, less sophisticated works of art are superior to later, more refined ones. It traces the history of debate from classical antiquity to radical primitivism.

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About the Author:

Among E. H. GOMBRICH's many writings are the international bestsellers "The Story of Art "and "Art and Illusion," He was director of the Warburg Institute of the University of London from 1959 to 1976.


'Gombrich is as usual masterly and vastly erudite.'

'The great gift he gave us was to make the living process of art understandable to us all. Rather than a dry cultural history, he made looking at art -- that perceptual experience -- an adventure.'

'Gombrich has done more than any other human being to draw people towards an enlightened understanding of art... Wearing his immense learning lightly, tackling abstract ideas without losing his readers in jargon, he has attracted a devoted following.'

'Ernst Gombrich was the most famous art historian in the world. His reputation was based less on a particular approach to the subject, or the mastery of a single period, than on the breadth of his interests and his skill at making the history of art interesting to a non-specialist public.'

'Take(s) on just about the weightiest and most controversial subject currently available for art-historical picking-over. For Gombrich to delay until his final book before taking on the appetite for perfectionism is akin to Michelangelo waiting until he was 92 before embarking upon the Sistine ceiling.'

'... did more than any other writer in the last 100 years to introduce a wider public to a love of art. Successive generations of students have been drawn to The Story of Art, his erudite survey of Western art, and his Big Idea: "There is no such thing as art -- there are only artists." An academic who stayed firmly outside his profession's charmed circle, his book was intended as a rallying cry against snobbery and elitism, and has remained a classic.'

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