Art in Theory, 1815-1900 provides the most wide-ranging and comprehensive collection of documents ever assembled on nineteenth-century theories of art. Its primary aim is to provide students and teachers with the documentary material for informed and up-to-date study.
Its 260 texts, clear organization and considerable editorial content in this anthology furnish a vivid and indispensable introduction to the history of the art of the period. Art in Theory, 1815-1900 is also invaluable to anyone interested in the wider cultural debates of the nineteenth century, and in the development of modern aesthetic theories.
Harrison, Wood and Gaiger collect writings by artists, critics, philosophers and literary figures, some reprinted in their entirety, others excerpted from longer works. Among the major themes treated are concepts of genius and originality, modes of landscape painting, approaches to Realism, the question of Modernity and debates over Impressionism, theories of optics and color, the aesthetics of photography, and the rise of photography.
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 text is briefly introduced by an outline giving the circumstances of its original appearance and indicating its relevance to the development of modern artistic theory. An extensive bibliography is also provided.