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Arrest and Movement Art of the Ancient Near East
Arrest and Movement Art of the Ancient Near East
Item Details
Arrest and Movement Art of the Ancient Near East

Association copy - Signed F/fly by Thomas Brown Wilber, Princeton, May 10, 1954

Author: H. A. Groenewegen Frankfort
Illustrations: Illustrations & Fold Out
Dated: 1951
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Edition: 1st
Size: 8vo
Binding: Hardcover Dust Jacket
Type: Art
Subject: Art Ancient Near East
Provenance: Hill House

Notes & Literature: This book developed out of a desire to account for the eccentricities of spatial rendering in Near Eastern works of art. The most common explanations, such as the lack of knowledge of perspective and-more subtle and more hypothetical-the respect of early artists for the two-dimensional character of the surface, appeared unsatisfactory. For if one analyses and compares particular types of pre-Greek art, it will be seen that idiosyncrasies of spatial rendering, entirely consistent in themselves, not only vary in different regions but ?re, in fact, essential to the character of each style. It would have been justifiable merely to register such idiosyncrasies, but I was tempted to ask if they might not have a significance beyond the field of art proper; in other words, if they should not be capable of interpretation in cultural rather than aesthetic terms. The question, though legitimate, has obvious dangers. For once one admits that the problem of space in art need not be limited to a study of formal characteristics; that this problem cannot be entirely divorced from that of time; and even that the question of the relation between art, life and thought is here particularly insistent, then the crucial problem must be faced: how can this relation be made explicit? For there is no short cut from formal analysis to cultural interpretation. Nor is it helpful to call to aid the content of the scenes depicted, if by this term we mean a mere paraphrase of supposed actions and situations, which by the very nature of this art ?re often enigmatic, as we shall see. In trying to penetrate, however, beyond the apparent content of the scenes with the help of historical material in the widest sense, of speculative thought, of social and religious preoccupations; in trying to reconstruct what might-for lack of a better word-be called the implicit meaning of the scenes, I found that the unexpected happened: both significance and formal peculiarities proved strictly correlated as soon as they were seen under the aspect of their space-time implications.

Condition Report: Very Good
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