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Social History of Art, The Hardcover – Import, 1951

3.9 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Routledge and Kegan Paul; 1St Edition edition (1951)
  • ASIN: B0000CI0QH
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 6.9 x 3.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,671,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
When I purchased The Social History of Art I had never intended to read it from cover to cover. It is, in fact, a bulky book, which covers the history of art from pre-historic to contemporary times. I thought it would be one of those books you place on your bedside table and from time to time, have a look at it, and read bits and pieces when you are sleepless in the small hours. Surprisingly, I started reading it from the very beginning and couldn't stop till I reached the final sentence. I still cannot make out how a single author managed to cope with such an ambitious project.
Unlike other books of art, which stick to the description of each style, and some artists' works as something divorced from other events that took place at the time when they were produced, this book contextualises all the art productions according to the philosophical principles that underlie them, establishing the necessary link with the historical panorama and the social and political backdrop at the time that each artist lived and produced his/her works. Above all, Hauser's The Social History doesn't stick to the analysis of the visual arts as most art books do, but on the contrary, his broad scope extends to literature, drawing, paintings and even films. Never had I dreamed of understanding art as I could understand after reading Hauser's book.
Besides, as an amateur admirer of art, I was thrilled to realise that I could read and grasp his meaning with no extra effort; even so, he never patronises the reader. After reading this book, I realised that concepts I had always taken at face value and had never disputed, had gone down the drain. To my surprise, artists such as Shakespeare and Michelangelo are, in his book, not Renaissance artists but Mannerist artists. So, you learn to evaluate the artists and classify them using a different criterion. Well, this book is good value for money!
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Format: Paperback
I have had the four volumes of Hauser's "Social History of Art" for many years. I picked them up while studying art history in college. I had refered to the books on specific topics but had never read the entire series of books. I finally got around to reading the first volume of four. Hauser's prose is densely inert. It's a very hard read. The books were translated from the Hingarian in 1950 and that may be part of the problem. I appreciate the comprehensive knowledge of Hauser but this is an academic work and not a stylistic success. It will probably take me months to complete the other volumes.
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