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Book received: Robert Bagley, Gombrich among the Egyptians and Other Essays in the History of Art

14 October 2015

Bagley cover 400 dpi

Gombrich among the Egyptians and Other Essays in the History of Art

Robert Bagley

  • $60.00 hardcover (9780692397145)
  • paperback not available
  • Published: October 2015
  • Subject Listing: Art History
  • Bibliographic information: 208 pp., 160 illus., 72 in color, 9 x 12 in.
  • Distributed for: Marquand Books


6              Acknowledgements

9              Introduction

23           Styles, Periods, and the Life Cycle of the Goblin

49           The First Paper Assignment

75           Meaning and Explanation

103         Interpreting Prehistoric Designs

121         Shang Ritual Bronzes: Casting Technique and Vessel Design

143         What the Bronzes from Hunyuan Tell Us about the Foundry at Houma

157         Ornament, Representation, and Imaginary Animals in Bronze Age China

175         Gombrich among the Egyptians:

The History of Art as a Contest between Seeing and Knowing

205         Figure Credits

In this collection of essays, five previously published and three new in this volume, a western historian of Chinese art examines the received ideas of art history from the vantage point of another culture. On the premise that what we feel a need to explain and how we explain it alike depend on what we assume to be normal, the essays all adopt a comparative approach. Whatever body of material is taken as case study-Gothic churches, Egyptian reliefs, Chinese bronzes, Insular gospel manuscripts-the problems addressed are of broad general relevance to the discipline. They include the nature of art history’s styles and periods, iconography as explanation, the rationale for art historical description, technical studies and the artistic imagination, and histories of representation. Clear and accessible, this book will interest anyone concerned with the conduct of art historical scholarship and the origins and consequences of its practices.

Robert Bagley is professor emeritus in the department of art and archaeology at Princeton University. His recent publications include the chapter on art in the fourth volume of The Cambridge World History.

“Since the late 1970s, the field of art history has been characterized by self-scrutiny that has, ironically, too often encouraged methodological self-satisfaction; these essays, in contrast, permit no intellectual complacency. The author does not hesitate to challenge fundamental concepts, principles, and practices, both those that have been explicitly articulated and those that have gone unquestioned. The criticisms he offers are neither trivial nor self-serving; they are often blunt, but they are justified. His book will engage all historians of art-professionals and advanced students-who are interested in the intellectual foundations of our discipline as well as scholars whose work involves more general intellectual history.”
-A. A. Donohue, Rhys Carpenter Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Bryn Mawr College

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