The Beholder: The Experience of Art in Early Modern Europe, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Beholder

The Experience of Art in Early Modern Europe, 1st Edition

Edited by Thomas Frangenberg, Robert Williams


244 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138257887
pub: 2016-11-11
SAVE ~$11.99
Hardback: 9780754606796
pub: 2006-12-22
SAVE ~$33.00

FREE Standard Shipping!


One of the most significant developments in the study of works of art over the past generation has been a shift in focus from the works themselves to the viewer's experience of them and the relation of that experience both to the works in question and to other aspects of cultural life. The ten essays written for this volume address the experience of art in early modern Europe and approach it from a variety of methodological perspectives: concerns range from the relation between its perceptual and significative dimensions to the ways in which its discursive formation anticipates but does not exactly correspond to later notions of 'aesthetic' experience. The modes of engagement vary from careful empirical studies that explore the complex complementary relationship between works of art and textual evidence of different kinds to ambitious efforts to mobilize the powerful interpretative tools of psychoanalysis and phenomenology. This diversity testifies to the vitality of current interest in the experience of beholding and the urgency of the challenge it poses to contemporary art-historical practice.


’…The Beholder is a stimulating exploration of the role of the viewer that reminds us that what the beholder brings to the experience of art changes through time and is always affected by the receiver's culture.’ Renaissance Quarterly

’This is an excellent collection. …Overall, the volume should be well received and sought after by all serious students and researchers in the field of art history. No library should be without this volume.’ Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Thomas Frangenberg and Robert Williams; The heritage of Agatharcus: on naturalism and theatre in European painting, David Summers; Opening up Venus: nudity, cruelty and the dream, Georges Didi-Huberman; Michelangelo's works in the eyes of his contemporaries, Hubertus Günther; Bronzino's gaze, Robert Williams; Artist as beholders: drawings after sculptures as a medium and source for the experience of art, Raphael Rosenberg; Giovanni Battista Agucchi's programme for Ludivico Carracci's Erminia among the shepherds, Martina Hansmann; Georges de la Tour: the enigma of the visible, Dalia Judovitz; 'As if…': Pietro Francesco Zanoni on Filippo Gherardi's ceiling in S. Pantaleo, Rome, Thomas Frangenberg; Attention, hand and brush: Condillac and Chardin, Michael Baxandall; The reception of art in the oeuvre of Sir Joshua Reynolds: theory and practice, Giovanna Perini; Bibliography; Index.

About the Editors

Thomas Frangenberg is Lecturer at Leicester University, UK.

Robert Williams is Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

About the Series

Histories of Vision

Histories of Vision
Art history is not only an historical discipline, it is also the visual study of works of art. There is no naturally given, self-evident and transparent link between the object, its perception, its representation and its functions. Images are cultural constructions with their own poetics and histories, but vision as well has its histories. The aim of this series is to reconstruct these histories. It is devoted to the study of works of art considered as ways of seeing, viewing practices, and the various codifications of visual perception connected with the arts and artistic theories through the ages. The series not only covers painting and sculpture, but also architecture. Its scope is not limited to Western art, but includes in particular the ways in which non-Western art has been perceived in Western art history.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Criticism & Theory
ART / History / General