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The Uses of Images: Studies in the Social Function of Art and Visual Communication
In this volume Professor Gombrich returns to themes that have long preoccupied him in his study of visual imagery of all kinds. Central to these essays is a consuming interest in the functions of images, and how these functions - and the images - change over time. In wide-ranging studies of both "high" and "low" art, from fresco painting, altar painting,...
In this volume Professor Gombrich returns to themes that have long preoccupied him in his study of visual imagery of all kinds. Central to these essays is a consuming interest in the functions of images, and how these functions - and the images - change over time. In wide-ranging studies of both "high" and "low" art, from fresco painting, altar painting, the International Gothic Style and outdoor sculpture to doodles, pictorial instructions, caricature and political propaganda, Gombrich discusses the role of supply and demand, competition and display, the "ecology" of images and the idea of "feedback" in the interplay of means and ends, as developing skills in turn stimulate new demands. He also explores further aspects of the uses of images in essays on the hanging of pictures and on the use (or misuse) of images as historical evidence. Gombrich writes in a clear style, without losing his reader in jargon, and in this volume he discusses some of the most fundamental and contentious issues: how and why does art change and develop?; what does the idea of "progress" mean in art?; and can art be used as evidence of the "spirit" of an age? His answers emerge not through abstract formulations but through an empirical and undogmatic attempt to understand what has actually happened in the history of art.
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