Painting as an Art

Richard Wollheim, Author Princeton University Press $85 (384p) ISBN 978-0-691-09964-4
Wollheim notes that De Kooning crammed his pictures with the infantile experiences of sucking, touching, biting, excreting and swallowing. The expressionist's violent paintings are about the body as locus of sensation and emotion; they remind us that, as children, we felt threatened by our own natural bodily functions. Penetrating insights like these pepper the difficult lectures presented here along with some 400 illustrations. Wollheim, a philosopher of esthetics, offers a psychological theory of how pictures transmit meaning: artists act as agents, inducing in the mind of the spectator the mental states that compel them to paint. The author's favorites include Manet, Picasso, Titian, Bellini, Ingres, Poussin. These essays will help readers identify the unrepresented ""internal spectator'' lurking in some pictures; with other paintings, one discovers how the artist wanted the external spectator to feel. Wollheim delivered this set of lectures at the National Gallery of Art. (January)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1987
Release date: 12/01/1987
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-691-01892-8
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