To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
History of Beauty Paperback – September 21, 2010
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
He is the author of several bestselling novels, The Name of The Rose, Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of The Day Before, and Baudolino. His collections of essays include Five Moral Pieces, Kant and the Platypus, Serendipities, Travels In Hyperreality, and How To Travel With a Salmon and Other Essays.
He has also written academic texts and children's books.
Photography (c) Università Reggio Calabria
Top Customer Reviews
This is a sumptuous, unusually high quality coffee table book. While its over 400 photographs are extremely engaging, the introductions and essays Eco provides are absorbing and just as illuminating as the pictures. Eco lists himself as editor, but that is false modesty. His writing here is excellent, erudite and informative and provides a lot of food for thought as one peruses the visuals.
As is to be expected from Eco, his essays cite philosopher that run the gamut from Aristotle and Plato through to Xenophon (though I did not see any Dostoyevsky references though that dark soul was seemingly compulsive about the mesmerizing qualities of beauty) and thusly provide an all encompassing review of differing concepts of what is beautiful by both geographically and chronologically.
This is a rich, beautiful book that will please the dedicated reader as well as the casual surfer who might flip through it.
If you want to upgrade the ambiance of your coffee table, this would be an excellent choice.
Reading Umberto's insights and looking at great art..what a wonderful way to spend a morning at starbucks!
This work on the history of beauty is aimed at a general audience rather than a specialised one, and as such it abounds more in beautiful works of art and illustrations rather than scholarly analysis of art itself. However, it still contains an excellent history of the idea of beauty, and how artists through the ages have tried to implement somewhat abstract ideas, while philosophers and theologians have abstracted from art to apply artistic and creative terms to entities such as Platonic Forms or God.
One of the most interesting developments in the history of beauty was the identification of beauty with reality as it was in itself. Platonists identified the beautiful with the Good or the One, and Christians planted these ideas onto God. The notion that God was the most beautiful entity that existed, that God could be represented in art, and also that the cosmos in many ways is God's work of Art, expressed itself in many great works of art, poetry and architecture in the medieval period.
With the Renaissance, the concept of beauty became more grounded in human and earthly realities, and one sees far more focus on the beauty of material objects, nature, and people, as they are rather than their ideal nature. Art becomes more and more focused on the material world until the 20th century when in the era of late capitalism, art itself has become a consumable commodity and the chief virtue of art seems to be to cause pleasant feelings to arise in the consumer (something Andy Warhol satirises a lot in his works of art). Yet even in this period, artists still manage to create works of creative beauty which capture both the beautiful and the ugly, as we now see them.
This work is essential reading for anyone curious about Art and its history, and its relation to abstract ideas.
The chapters cover such things as the aesthetic ideal in ancient Greece, light and color in the Middle Ages, magic beauty between the 15th and 16th centuries, and romantic beauty. The reader and observer sees that the depiction of beauty has both changed and remained constant over the centuries. The symmetry, the color, the poetry might change with the art form while it is clear that the characteristics of the human bodies (both female and male) have not changed.
History of Beauty would make a wonderful coffee table book in any home except maybe those who find the naked body distasteful.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a beautifully bound book, even next to its original hard cover release. It's nice and compact without compromising the quality of the photographs. Read morePublished 3 months ago by pab009
Amazing book that takes us through history and the different perceptions of beauty. Very interesting.Published 4 months ago by Tullio Tramazaygues
A beautiful book. I misplaced mine (loaned it to someone? or it's someplace where it will show up? or? Read morePublished 13 months ago by Scrambler
A well written and interesting book but you had better have very good eyes. The largest text is about 1/16 inch high but some is even smaller this, both sizes are used throughout... Read morePublished 14 months ago by GlevumGuy.
Really wonderful book, indeed, but I wonder if I received a reduced pocket version? Because the -- already sans-serif -- typography is so small -- way too tiny --, it makes you... Read morePublished 15 months ago by L. Howard
An entire book on beauty, illustrated with thousands of images, without a single non-Caucasian, other than Chairman Mao. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Timothy Hallinan