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Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation
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Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,516 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Described by Kenneth Clark as 'one of the most brilliant books of art criticism that I have ever read', Art and Illusion is a classic study of image-making. It seeks to answer a simple question: why is there such a thing as style? The question may be simple but there is no easy answer, and Professor Gombrich's brilliant and wide-ranging exploration of the history and psych ...more
Paperback, 6th Edition, 412 pages
Published April 17th 2002 by Phaidon Press (first published 1960)
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This book attempts to answer the question, if artists throughout time have attempted to portray the world 'realistically', why are there so many different styles? Why, for example, did the Egyptians portray people as partially sideways and partially frontward? Must we assume that they literally saw people like that?
Gombrich argues that the Greeks fundamentally changed the course of art. Under them, it became more casual, art for art's sake, instead of magical images filled with power. Over time,
Aug 30, 2007 Afshi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: art/psych nerds.
Shelves: enjoyed
Really interesting, and easy to read (although a little too wordy at times). Also kind of fun. The book spans through the history of art, and even though the author highlights some of the major artists in each period and analyzes their art using different theories in visual psychology, he also does an in depth analysis of the viewer. I was especially interested in the sections about Klee and Durer. Kind of brings new insight to traditional ideas about looking at art.
Arte e ilusión me ha parecido un ensayo muy interesante. Plantea preguntas inteligentes, ofrece respuestas razonadas y, lo que es mejor todavía, genera nuevas preguntas. La cuestión de fondo es la representación realista de la naturaleza y cómo se ha llegado a ella. Parece una cuestión sencilla, que se explicaría sin problemas sumando logros técnicos. Sin embargo, Gombrich recuerda que cada etapa de la historia está relacionada con un tipo de arte y esta relación no es casual. la representación ...more
Adriano Bulla
Professor Gombrich's lesser known 'Art and Illusion' is, in my opinion, as seminal as his 'The Story of Art'; unlike its bigger sister, this text focusses on how perception of the physical world has been influenced, over the centuries, though I would say it zooms in on the last millennium of our civilisation, by our metaphysical understanding of existence. In this respect, it is academically more praiseworthy if less encyclopaedic than 'The Story'. From how a Medieval mind perceived a rhinoceros ...more
A nice and sincere attempt, but Gombrich does not quite solve the issue he raises. Okay, he attacks and succeeds in relativizing (naive) realism. Styles and tactics of representation change from one period to another. Sure. But the real question is why a given system of representation changes to another--and this mechanism of switching is something I assume Gombrich himself recognized, struggled, but could not articulate well. At least not here. That is why this book fails in the end to account ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 14, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gombrich fans
Recommended to Erik by: Janny Marie Willis
Shelves: art
This was one of many books left behind when my girlfriend/roommate in Union Theological Seminary moved out. She had been a student at Barnard College and I imagine this was one of their texts. Likely, it constituted my introduction to theories of visual perception and may have been read in conjunction with Neale's course in psychology.
Dem Buch fehlt sehr wenig, um fünf Sterne verdient zu haben. Sehr empfehlenswert, wenn man schon so weit ist, dass man sich fragt wie Gestaltungsabsicht, technische Möglichkeiten und Gestaltungswille in der Kunst interagieren.
The most amazing art book ever. Gombrich is a brilliant man and every artist should read it, especially those working with representational imagery.
Karen Tannenbaum
In my opinion, the greatest book on psychology and art. Ernst Gombrich was a genius. Read this at University and I still refer to it.
Not Gombrich at his finest, some exciting bits of writing, but as a whole he's a bit unclear about the whole thing.
Oct 14, 2014 Sue is currently reading it
Phew! Making my way slowly through. I do like it, but I'm not very consistent with it!
Luke Penkett
Read this a long time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It helped to widen my mind.
Jan 27, 2013 Lori marked it as to-read
1/27/13 Book Review interview with Alain de Botton
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Edition irrelevant.2005-06-08
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Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, OM, CBE (30 March 1909 – 3 November 2001) was an Austrian-born art historian, who spent most of his working life in the United Kingdom.

More about E.H. Gombrich...
The Story of Art A Little History of the World Art, Perception, and Reality Meditations On a Hobby Horse and Other Essays On the Theory of Art Symbolic Images: Studies in the Art of the Renaissance - vol. II

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