Art in Theory, 1648-1815 provides a wide-ranging and comprehensive collection of documents on the theory of art from the founding of the French Academy until the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Its primary aim is to provide students and teachers with the documentary material for informed and up-to-date study.
Its 240 texts, clear principles of organization and considerable editorial content offer a vivid and indispensable introduction to the art of the early modern period. Harrison, Wood and Gaiger have collected writing by artists, critics, philosophers, literary figures and administrators of the arts, some reprinted in their entirety, others excerpted from longer works .A wealth of material from French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Latin sources is also provided, including many new translations. Among the major themes treated are early arguments over the relative merits of ancient and modern art, debates between the advocates of form and color, the beginnings of modern art criticism in reviews of the Salon, art and politics during the French Revolution, the rise of landscape painting, and the artistic theories of Romanticism and Neo-classicism.
Each section is prefaced by an essay that situates the ideas of the period in their historical context, while relating theoretical concerns and debates to developments in the practice of art. Each individual text is also accompanied by a short introduction. An extensive bibliography and full index are provided.