Why does art matter to us, and what makes it good? Why is the role of imagination so important in art? Illustrated with carefully chosen colour and black-and-white plates of examples from Michaelangelo to Matisse and Poussin to Pollock, Revealing Art takes us on a compelling and provocative journey.
Kieran explores some of the most important questions we can ask ourselves about art: how can art inspire us or disgust us? Is artistic judgement simply a matter of taste? Can art be immoral or obscene, and should it be censored? He brings such abstract issues to life with fascinating discussions of individual paintings, photographs and sculptures, such as Michelangelo's Pieta, Andres Serrano's Piss Christ and Francis Bacon's powerful paintings of the Pope.
He also suggests some answers to problems that any one in an art gallery or museum is likely to ask themselves: what is a beautiful work of art? and can art really reveal something true about our own nature?
Revealing Art is ideal for anyone interested in debates about art today, or who has simply stood in front of a painting and felt baffled.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Is Art Sacred? 2. Beauty Resurrected 3. Revealing Art 4. Art and Morality 5. The Truth in Humanism
Matthew Kieran is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Leeds, UK. His is the co-editor of Imagination, Philosophy and the Arts (2003) and the editor of Media Ethics (1998), both published by Routledge.
'...the arguments set out in this even-handed and intelligent book provide welcome clarification of a subject which all too often falls prey to muddled and prejudiced thinking.' - The Art Newspaper
'...Kieran is a philosopher with the nerve of an art critic, who, in the manner of Arthur Danto, comfortably exchanges his roles...Revealing Art brings forth with vivid detail the durable effects of artworks and makes strong case for the power and complexity of art' - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism
'...a model of how to write analytical philosophy in a plain and accessible style without sacrificing philosophical precision or a winning literary style. It will be accessible, interesting and stimulating to undergraduates and teachers within a number of disciplines and indeed to a general reader with a curiosity in why we value art. Many basic and complex positions are explained, defended and criticised so that any reader will be prepared for further discussion of individual positions with a sound basis of their attractions and pitfalls. I would recommend this book to anyone, and especially to those with an interest and knowledge of visual art but less immersion in the philosophical literature that surrounds them.' Journal of Visual Art Practice
'Revealing Art is a lively exploration of questions concerning value in art. Matthew Kieran presents a series of engaging arguments illuminated by examples drawn from across the history of European visual art, from the Roettgen PietÃ to Poussin's The Adoration of the Golden Calf to Gillian Wearing's Signs series... As a result, the book will have something to offer to specialists and non-specialists alike.' - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews