The representation of the form of objects and of space in painting, from paleolithic through contemporary time, has become increasingly integrated, complex, and abstract. Based on a synthesis of concepts drawn from the theories of Piaget and Freud, this book demonstrates that modes of representation in art evolve in a natural developmental order and are expressions of the predominant mode of thought in their particular cultural epoch. They reflect important features of the social order and are expressed in other intellectual endeavors as well, especially in concepts of science. A fascinating evaluation of the development of cognitive processes and the formal properties of art, this work should appeal to professionals and graduate students in developmental, cognitive, aesthetic, personality, and clinical psychology; to psychoanalysts interested in developmental theory; and to anyone interested in cultural history -- especially the history of art and the history of science.
"Begin an encounter with this giant on any random page, and you begin -- with an unexpected delight -- a most exciting adventure that will exhilarate you with new insights and understanding of the complex and yet logical relationship of humanity's psychological development to the concrete representations in visual art of the resulting world view. That this ambitious volume was a labor of love is evident from the first page, and its articulate readability and intriguing content encourage you to devour every page.
"This is an art history book, but written for psychologists -- and at the same time, a psychology book written for art historians. It is a must for anyone wanting to better conceptualize the integration of art and the cultural psyche."
—Imagination, Cognition and Personality
"…a monumental, awe inspiring and profoundly scientific work of great inner beauty."
University of Chicago
"This is a bold and extraordinary study. The Blatts have thoroughly integrated three separate bodies of knowledge -- art, history, psychoanalysis, and the psychology of cognition. They have achieved this with uncompromising scholarship and rigor. Reading this book is an intellectual adventure. This work is destined to be a landmark in interdisciplinary studies."
Columbia University, author of Michelangelo: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Man a