On Beauty: A History of a Western Idea

Author(s): Umberto Eco

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On Beauty is neither a history of art, nor a history of aesthetics, but Umberto Eco draws on both these disciplines to define the ideas of beauty that have informed us from the classical world to modern times. In terms of form and style, On Beauty has been conceived for a vast and diverse readership. Packed with examples from painting, sculpture, architecture, film, photography, the decorative arts and literature, it offers a rich and intelligent panorama of this huge subject. In On Beauty Eco is at his most captivating and eclectic: we read not only of Botticelli and Michelangelo but of how much the fashion of the 1960s owes to ancient Egyptian dress, and how ancient Roman and eighteenth-century hairstyles have much in common. It makes the familiar new, and sheds a brilliant light on the unfamiliar. On Beauty is illustrated in full colour throughout and produced to the highest standards.


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Umberto Eco's first novel, The Name of the Rose (1982), was a huge bestseller worldwide. With his subsequent works of fiction, philosophy, literary criticism and semiotics, he has become one of Europe's outstanding thinkers. He is currently President of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Humanistici at the University of Bologna. Alastair McEwen is the translator of Antonio Tabucchi, Sandro Veronesi, Fleur Jaeggy and Alessandro Baricco.

Introduction. Comparative Tables. The Aesthetic Ideal in Ancient Greece. Apollonian and Dionysiac. Beauty as Proportion and Harmony. Light and Colour in the Middle Ages. The Beauty of Monsters. From the Pastourelle to the Donna Angelicata. Magic Beauty between the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. Ladies and Heroes. From Grace to Disquieting Beauty. Reason and Beauty. The Sublime. Romantic Beauty. The Religion of Beauty. The New Object. The Beauty of Machines. From Abstract Forms to the Depths of Material. The Beauty of the Media. Bibliographic References of Translations. Index of Authors. Index of Artists.

General Fields

  • : 9780857050205
  • : Quercus
  • : MacLehose Press
  • : 0.836
  • : July 2010
  • : 204mm X 148mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Umberto Eco
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : English
  • : 111.85
  • : very good
  • : 440
  • : 4-col illustrations