On Beauty: A History of a Western Idea is neither a history of art, nor a history of aesthetics, but Umberto Eco draws on both these disciplines to define the ideas of beauty that have informed us from the classical world to modern times.
In terms of form and style, On Beauty has been conceived for a vast and diverse readership. Packed with examples from painting, sculpture, architecture, film, photography, the decorative arts and literature, it offers a rich and intelligent panorama of this huge subject.
In On Beauty Eco is at his most captivating and eclectic: we read not only of Botticelli and Michelangelo but of how much the fashion of the 1960s owes to ancient Egyptian dress, and how ancient Roman and eighteenth-century hairstyles have much in common. It makes the familiar new, and sheds a brilliant light on the unfamiliar. On Beauty: A History of a Western Idea is illustrated in full colour throughout and produced to the highest standards.