By Elizabeth Prettejohn
What can we suggest after we name a piece of artwork "beautiful"? How have artists replied to altering notions of the attractive? which goes of paintings were known as attractive, and why? basic and fascinating inquiries to artists and artwork fanatics, yet ones which are all too frequently neglected in discussions of paintings today.
Elizabeth Prettejohn argues that we easily can't manage to pay for to disregard those questions. Charting over 200 years of western paintings, she illuminates the very important dating among our altering notions of good looks and particular artworks, from the works of Kauffman to Whistler, Ingres to Rosetti, Cezanne to Pollack. superbly illustrated with a hundred photographs--60 in complete color--Beauty and Art concludes with a tough query for the longer term: Why may still we care approximately good looks within the twenty-first century?
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Additional info for Beauty and Art: 1750-2000 (Oxford History of Art)
For Venus displaying Aeneas and Achates how to Carthage , Kauffman selected an strange topic from Virgil’s Aeneid, one during which the feminine ﬁgure takes the major position. Venus is readily recognizable by means of her ‘liquid eyes’ (compare 6), and the draperies fall away to bare the rounded thigh that Winckelmann thought of the main seductive of girl attributes. Her low brow, along with her ﬂaxen hair curving over the temples, and her directly nostril and rounded chin additionally correspond to the kinds that Winckelmann identiﬁed within the most pretty Greek heads (often, in fact, male). Kauffman’s approach for developing an preferably appealing ﬁgure follows that attributed to the traditional artist Zeuxis and represented in one other of her work . in response to legend, Zeuxis imitated the main appealing positive aspects of diverse person ladies to shape a composite ﬁgure of ideal attractiveness. Kauffman, with assistance from Winckelmann’s researches, chosen the main appealing good points of historical statues, instead of dwelling types, to shape her personal ﬁgures. In her paintings the visible great thing about the feminine ﬁgure signiﬁes the the Aristocracy of the ﬁgure’s personality. as though via magic, a sort just about Kauffman’s excellent girl ﬁgure appeared to come alive in a tender Englishwoman, Emma Hart (1765–1815). 36 eighteenth-century germany: winckelmann and kant 17 Angelica Kauffman Zeuxis picking out versions for His portray of Helen of Troy, c. 1778 Drawings and work exhibit Hart with the low brow, deep-set eyes, straight-line proﬁle, and rounded chin of the Kauffman girl sort . Her good looks seemed compellingly corresponding to historic sculpture to Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803), British diplomatic envoy to Naples and an avid collector of classical antiquities. After becoming a member of Hamilton in Naples, Hart (Lady Hamilton after their marriage 18 Thomas Lawrence Portrait of Emma Hart, 1791 eighteenth-century germany: winckelmann and kant 37 19 Pietro Antonio Novelli Attitudes of girl Hamilton, 1791 in 1791) built a brand new paintings shape according to her ‘classical’ visual appeal. certainly, she could be referred to as the ﬁrst functionality artist, for she used her personal physique to create a always altering sequence of pictures, lots of which have been imitated from historic sculpture. those played photographs grew to become recognized because the ‘attitudes of woman Hamilton’ . The attitudes are, in fact, misplaced artistic endeavors, yet Goethe’s bright aesthetic reaction offers an concept of what they have been like: wearing [Greek drapery], she we could down her hair and, with a number of shawls, provides lots style to her poses, gestures, expressions, and so forth. , that the spectator can not often think his eyes. He sees what hundreds of thousands of artists may have beloved to precise learned prior to him in pursuits and mind-blowing transformations—standing, kneeling, sitting, reclining, critical, unhappy, playful, ecstatic, contrite, appealing, threatening, worried, one pose follows one other and not using a holiday. . . . In her, [Hamilton] has discovered all of the antiquities . . . even the Apollo Belvedere. 29 Hart’s performances were remembered mostly as gildings to her sexual reputation; she grew to become recognized to posterity because the mistress of Lord Nelson (1758–1805).