What do we mean when we call a work of art 'beautiful'? How have artists responded to changing notions of the beautiful? Which works of art have been called beautiful, and why? Fundamental and intriguing questions to artists and art lovers, but ones that are all too often ignored in discussions of art today.
Prettejohn argues that we simply cannot afford to ignore these questions. Charting over two hundred years of western art, she illuminates the vital relationship between our changing notions of beauty and specific works of art, from the works of Kauffman to Whistler, Ingres to Rossetti, Cézanne to Jackson Pollock, and concludes with a challenging question for the future: why should we care about beauty in the twenty-first century?