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Description - Why are Our Pictures Puzzles? by James Elkins

What is it about modern life that causes us to see so much complexity in the visual image? In Why are our Pictures Puzzles? , James Elkins argues that the intricate meanings that are assigned to pictures are less a matter of insight than a symptom of our culture - a kind of excessive desire for understanding and a demand for clear solutions. He contrasts the abundant writings of contemporary scholars with writers from the ancient Greeks to the eighteenth century, and questions why earlier writers were satisfied with describing a picture in a few sentences. In his analysis, Elkins brings a wide variety of examples to bear, including detailed accounts of some of the most contentious works in art history, including Watteau's "meaningless" paintings, Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, and Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper. Why are our Pictures Puzzles? is an intriguing book which challenges our perceptions and questions our beliefs about art.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780415919425
ISBN-10: 0415919428
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Routledge
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 28-Jan-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - James Elkins

James Elkins is Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of many books, including What Painting Is (Routledge, 1998) and The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing (1996).

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