Skip to main content


A History of art, by H.B. Cotterill

PREFACE THE scheme of this volume differs from that of its predecessor in so far as each Part deals with a single nation, whereas in the former volume the subject was divided not so much according to nations as to eras, such as the pre-Hellenic, Hellenic, Hellenistic, Roman, Early Christian, Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic.

The reason will be apparent if one remembers that in the first volume the time covered was more than four thousand years, and that during those forty centuries one people succeeded another as a great world-power, whereas the period here treated is only about four centuries, and by the beginning of this period the chief nations of Europe, although all more or less directly inheritors of the same Hellenic art, had begun to develop distinct characteristics, artistic as well as political.

It is true that during these four centuries several waves of influence, of which that of the Italian Renaissance was perhaps the most important, spread over the greater part of Eu…
Recent posts

History of art, by Wilhelm Lübke

PREFACE. THE INCREASED INTEREST shown in works of sculpture and painting during the last twenty years may be perceived by various favourable symptoms. This interest is not merely shown by delight in beauty of form, but it is combined with that deeper attraction towards historical knowledge which pervades our time. After Kugler, in his 'Handbook to Art History,' had for the first time traversed the whole grand field of art, and represented it in distinct outline, and Schnaase, in his 'History of the Plastic Arts,' had profoundly investigated and cleverly displayed the connection of artistic creations with the innermost life of nations and epochs, the desire for acquaintance with this historical progress of the arts was· awakened in cultivated circles, 'and at the same time the conviction gained ground that the enjoyment of a work of art was materially increased by the understanding of its historical existence.

In the meanwhile, inquiry extended over all branches a…

History of art: Modern Art, by Elie Faure

INTRODUCTION Margaritas ante porcos

THE French Revolution is the last step in the movement inaugurated by the Renaissance. It is marked by the reformation of social metaphysics and of morality, but in the depths of instinct it is destined, without doubt, to define the individual. It is the violent act which over- comes the last resistance offered by the monarchical system to the investigation which, five centuries earlier, had been outlined by the masons of the French com- mune and definitely begun by the artists of Italy. The corporations being broken up, the right of association being impaired, and the theoretical equality of social rights and of taxation being won, the social analysis is effected. The philosophic analysis of Kant, which carried to its logical conclusion the effort of Descartes, of Spinoza, of Bayle, of Montesquieu, of Leibnitz, of the English sensualists, of Voltaire, of Diderot, and of Rousseau, as well as the psychological tragedy lived through by Montaigne, by C…

An elementary history of art, architecture, sculpture, painting

PrefaceThe fine arts once played a very important part in the refined and intellectual life of this country; but since the close of the middle ages they have been undervalued and neglected among us. Happily at the present day many signs of a revival are presenting themselves, and art is now in much greater danger of being misunderstood than forgotten. Classical languages are no longer the only instruments of culture, and literary attainments have now ceased to be considered—as they for long were—the sole objects of a cultivated man's ambition ; for causes of an almost opposite nature have largely directed attention to science and to the arts. The marvellous advances, brilliant discoveries, and splendid attainments of our foremost natural philosophers have been among the most powerful of the influences which have secured for scientific research so large a share of public attention. In other words, we have cared for science because it is living and growing under our eyes.

With art …

Preface to the Lives, by Giorgio Vasari

I know it is an opinion commonly accepted among almost all writers that sculpture, as well as painting, was first discovered in nature by the peoples of Egypt; and that some others attribute to the Chaldeans the first rough carvings in marble and the first figures in relief; just as still others assign to the Greeks the invention of the brush and the use of colour. But I would say that design, the basis of both arts, or rather the very soul which conceives and nourishes within itself all the aspects of the intellect, existed in absolute perfection at the origin of all other things when God on High, having created the great body of the world and having decorated the heavens with its brightest lights, descended with His intellect further down into the clarity of the atmosphere and the solidity of the earth, and, shaping man, discovered in the pleasing invention of things the first form of sculpture and painting.* Who will deny that from man, as from a true model, statues and sculptures…

Principles of Art History, by Heinrich Wölfflin

We have said that the development of perception is psychologically apparent- that is, systematic. But then how was art, as an independent entity such as this, able to merge with the course of the broader history of spirit? Now art, in the full sense of the word, is not actually something we have addressed in our deliberations. The decisive element, the material world, has not been touched upon, and this includes not only the question of the (morphological) forms in which an age builds but also how man perceives himself and how he confronts worldly things intellectually and emotionally. Thus the problem is reduced to whether our history of seeing can really be called a history in its own right. Clearly that is only the case to a limited extent. Their sensual and spiritual nature means that these internal processes have always been part of the more comprehensive general development of every period. They are not separate, nor do they proceed at will. Bound up as they are with material, …