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Visual Thinking Paperback – Deluxe Edition, April 16, 2004


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Visual Thinking + Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye + The Power of the Center: A Study of Composition in the Visual Arts
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Printing edition (April 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520242262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520242265
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Groundbreaking when first published in 1969, this book is now of even greater relevance to make the reader aware of the need to educate the visual sense, a matter so harmfully neglected in the present system."—Peter Selz, author of Nathan Oliveira

"Freud argued that a cogent thought process, to say nothing of conscious intellectual work, could not exist amidst the unruliness of visual experience. Over the last half century in a sequence of landmark books, Rudolf Arnheim has not only shown us how wrong that is, he has parsed the grammar of form with uncanny acuity and taught us how to read it. Few books continue to speak to the generations after them; Visual Thinking is one of those rare exceptions."—Jonathan Fineberg, author of Art Since 1940

From the Back Cover

"Groundbreaking when first published in 1969, this book is now of even greater relevance to make the reader aware of the need to educate the visual sense, a matter so harmfully neglected in the present system."-Peter Selz, author of Nathan Oliveira "Freud argued that a cogent thought process, to say nothing of conscious intellectual work, could not exist amidst the unruliness of visual experience. Over the last half century in a sequence of landmark books, Rudolf Arnheim has not only shown us how wrong that is, he has parsed the grammar of form with uncanny acuity and taught us how to read it. Few books continue to speak to the generations after them; Visual Thinking is one of those rare exceptions."-Jonathan Fineberg, author of Art Since 1940

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mariya on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
The above phrase is the conclusion I came to after reading this book at the library. I am not in art education, but there are many things I wanted to underline and think about in application to the theory of creativity, use of technology in education, visual literacy. I think different people would find different things to think about in this book. Arnheim wrote a masterpiece that catalyzed a paradigm shift in his area (just like Freud or Simon & Newell).

The book is written pretty clear, I would not say it is difficult to read (English is my third language).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Generally Booked on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Instead of going on & on about the wealth of useful information in this book, I will say this:
There is reason 100 different books cite this book - this book contains art psychology research relavent to a wide variety of fields. More importantly, this information is as relevant to life today as the day it was written. Thought-provoking perspective of creativity.
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By HeartsofHavoc on June 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Frankly, I haven't gotten all the way through and was just skimming it for my thesis, but it was a good resource to have!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David on November 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
I had the good fortune to hear Dr. Arnheim lecturing; his lecture style was simpler, and easier to understand. German does not translate well into English, word for word, one must take the spirit, and distill it. The writing is a bit thick, in this book, which is why there are only 4 stars, not 5. Some books are worth slogging through, however, and this one is. Thick as the language may be, it is still quite seminal. I do wish the author had read and applied lessons from Art of Readable Writing, written by a contemporary, or say Crystal Clear Writing. Then again, Harry Potter books could stand to be better edited, but it doesn't matter, people flock to read the books, because they like what is communicated. Neville Goddard, in The Law & the Promise, noted that part of the role of humans is to create imagery- or intent. This book is more practical than it appears, at first. Aristotle noted that all thought is visual.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kawika Heftel on December 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book gave me great insight on how the brain processes visual cues and what the differences are between different types of thinkers' approaches to problems. It had interesting tidbits on how completely different images can be linked by abstract principles as well. For me, this novel gave me some inspiration as to how to use abstract ideas and abstract forms in my artwork to achieve my purposes. It opened my eyes to just how powerful an image can be as it "operates" on the brain of the viewer. Both the structure of the sentences and the vocabulary used were a little overwhelming for me at times, but overall, it was a very helpful book.
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