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New book on Gombrich

4 August 2014

Meditations on a Heritage: Papers on the Work and Legacy of Sir Ernst Gombrich

Paperback, 144 pages, 242 x 168 mm, 20 illustrations

London: Paul Holberton Publishing
PRICE: £20.00
ISBN: 978 1 907372 54 4

Edited by Paul Taylor

That Ernst Gombrich was one of the most important art historians of the 20th century would seem to go without saying. And so one might expect him to feature prominently in the numerous surveys, guides and introductions to the history and methods of art history produced during the past two decades. Precisely the opposite, however, is the case. One reason for this certainly was that Gombrich was an avowed enemy of ‘big ideas’, interested not in generalizations but in the specifics of individual cases. Avoiding jargon or rhetoric, standing for ‘common sense’, he always argued from clear premises, and his thought was also very wide-ranging. He never ‘owned’ a subject, remarking “It cannot be too often repeated that the best tribute one can pay a scholar is to take him seriously and constantly to reappraise his lines of argument.”

The importance of Gombrich’s work on the history of taste has yet to be fully recognised, and when it comes to the application of developments in psychology to the visual arts he has remained largely, among art historians, on his own. These essays assess the nature of his empiricism, the degree to which his ideas have been adopted, overturned or developed, and his contribution to the dialogue of art and perception.


Gombrich’s Search for Cultural History – Peter Burke

Gombrich and the Fathers of Art History – Harry Mount

Gombrich and the Middle Ages – Paul Crossley

Gombrich and ‘Warbugian’ Iconography – Elizabeth McGrath

Gombrich and the Idea of Primitve Art – Paul Taylor

Pattern and Portrayal: Remarks on the Concept of ‘Schema’ in Gombrich – Jeroen Stumpel

Beholders’ Shares and Languages of Art – John Kulvicki

Looking at Images and Reasoning about their Content: The Case of Shadow Depiction – Robert Casati

Gombrich and Leonardo: A Natural Affinity – Martin Kemp

Style in the Archive of E.H. Gombrich – Veronika Kopecky

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