Methods & Theories of Art History provides an accessible introduction to the range of critical theories used in analyzing art.
Art historical theory is a forum of intense, often passionate debate. Aimed at students of art history, this book covers a broad range of approaches (presenting individual arguments, controversies, and divergent perspectives). This second edition has been updated to reflect recent scholarship in contemporary art.
The book begins by introducing the concept of theory and explains why it is important to art historical practice. Each of the book’s four core chapters presents a group of related approaches that are discussed and applied to one or more works of art. Methods & Theories of Art History ends with some practical ideas about writing theoretically driven art history papers.
Recommended by art history instructors as an accessible yet scholarly guide to all aspects of theory and criticism, it includes chapters on:
- Thinking about theory
- The analysis of form, symbol, and sign
- Art’s contexts
- Psychology and perception in art
- Taking a stance toward knowledge
- Writing with theory
As well as breakout sections on:
- The difference between theory and methodology
- Are works of art puzzles? Are art historian detectives?
- Do we “read” works of art?
- So what’s normal—or normative?
- Jungian archetypes
- Object relations theory and the nature of creativity
- The anxiety of influence
“This book gives you a starting point, no more and no less, in approaching theories of art-historical practice. It is neither encyclopedic nor exhaustive—I don’t know how it could be and not lose its usefulness as a reference, the kind of dog-eared book that you keep in a pile next to the computer” Anne D’Alleva
“Extraordinarily valuable” Amazon reviewer
“Better than any other Art History guide out there” Amazon reviewer
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