New PDF release: A Basic History of Art


The main thorough, cogent, and lavishly illustrated survey of paintings within the Western culture, Janson's historical past of artwork has now been thoroughly redesigned and up-to-date to make it the last word visually and intellectually interesting source for this day. Timelines; thesaurus; bibliography; index. 1,266 illustrations, greater than 775 in complete colour.

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The Egyptian style of representing the human figure, then, seems to have been created specificallv for the purpose of conveying in visual form the majesty of the divine king. It must have originated among the artists working for the royal court. And it never lost its ceremonial, sacred flavor, even when, in later times, it had to serve other purposes as well. Ordinary mortals act, { Tomb of Ti. This style was soon adopted for nonroyal tombs in the Old Kingdom. The hippopotamus hunt in figure 29, from the offering chambers of the architectural overseer Ti Saqqara, at cause of is of special interest to us be- landscape setting.

Invention of writing makes a conve- nient landmark, for the absence of written is surelv one of the kev differences between prehistoric and historic societies. But as soon as we ask whv this is so. we face some records intriguing problems. First of all. how valid is the distinction between prehistoric and historic? Does it mereh express a difference in our knowledge of the past? (Thanks to the event to be memorable, centuries. Collectivelv. it memorable events have caused the ever-quickening pace of change during the past five millenniums, which begin with what we call the ancient world.

Royal mastabas grew to conspicuous size and soon developed into step pyramids. The earliest is probably that of King Zoser (fig. 31), a step pyramid suggestive of a stack of mastabas as against the smooth-sided later examples at Giza. Pyramids were not isolated structures in the middle of the desert, but rather were part of vast funerary districts, with temples and other buildings that were the scene of great religious celebrations dur- ing the pharaohs lifetime as well as after. The funerary district around the Step Pyramid of King Zoser is the most elaborate of these: enough of its architecture has survived to make us understand why its creator, Im- hotep, was deified in later Egyptian tradition.

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A Basic History of Art by ANTHONY F. JANSON' 'H.W. JANSON

by Christopher

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