ORNAMENT DESIGNS IN SEARCH OF A SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION
Perspective : actualité en histoire de l'art,
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Van Eck, C. (2020). ORNAMENT DESIGNS IN SEARCH OF A SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION. Perspective : actualité en histoire de l'art, https://doi.org/10.4000/perspective.13884
The three books under review here all throw important new light on the complex history of ornament in the West. Claire Guest's study of the understanding of ornament in the Renaissance is an ambitious and highly learned attempt to recover the pre-history of concepts before the emergence of Kantian aesthetics. Guest goes back to the beginning of Western thought on ornament, in the Old Testament, in Greek Platonic, Aristotelian and Sophistic thought, and in Scholasticism, to retrieve a conception of ornament and beauty that is not predicated on a relational concept of beauty, and still resonates with the Greek idea that ornament is the splendor of truth and beauty. Rémi Labrusse's book looks at the history of ornament after the Kantian moment. It is an equally dense, highly sophisticated study of 19th-century attempts to rethink ornament, its design and history, in the face of the challenges posed by the emergence of an awareness of the global nature of human art and ornament-making, and the radical changes on artistic production imposed by the Industrial Revolution. It is a fundamental new departure. Moving to the 20th century, the volume Histories of Ornament. From Global to Local, edited by Gülru Necipoglu and Alina Payne, questions the Modernist paradigm, or rather, rejection of ornament, inspired by the resurgence of surface ornament in the work of contemporary architects such as Herzog & De Meuron or Farshid Moussavi. All three books are distinguished by a fundamental questioning of received opinions about ornament as something added to the object it adorns, and therefore expendable, and show in different ways that the question of ornament lies at the heart of human art and material culture.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/perspective.13884
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/337318
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