Greek Art A&i

Nigel Spivey, Author Phaidon Press $27.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7148-3368-2
With its new introductory art history series, Art & Ideas, Phaidon tries to find a foothold in a market already crowded by such series as Thames & Hudson's World of Art, Yale's Pelican History of Art and more recently Oxford's History of Art. Spivey, a journalist and lecturer in classical archeology at Cambridge, offers a wide-ranging, if usually dry, narrative of both the art and the cultural, political, social and religious institutions that formed it. In eight chapters, Spivey covers such territory as the prehistory of the Greek civilization and its roots in Mycenaean culture, the importance of myth, the creation of the polis (city-state), the development of theater, the ""colossal"" impression made by Alexander the Great and how all these elements made an impact on the development of the art of the period. He supports theories by using quotes from philosophers, weaving tales from the classic epics and providing pertinent historical facts. Relevant terms and concepts are explained and illuminated, and almost every spread in the book comes complete with an illustrated example of the art being discussed, making for nearly 200 photographs and illustrations in all. Although it is consistent with an introductory art history textbook, the admirably concise summary of the art and its context may find readers among travelers and others interested in a brief overview. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/07/1997
Release date: 07/01/1997
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