The Oxford Companion to Western Art

Front Cover
Hugh Brigstocke
Oxford University Press, 2001 - Art - 820 pages
This work replaces Harold Osborne's Oxford Companion to Art (1970), which has been continuously in print for thirty years. Though originally commissioned as a new edition of Osborne's book, it is effectively a completely new work, planned and written afresh for new generations of art lovers.Apart from a handful of classic articles by Harold Osborne mainly on aesthetics, and a few others which needed only minor change, the text is entirely new. Unlike Osborne, it focuses on Western art rather than the whole of world art, concentrating primarily on painting, sculpture, and the graphicarts, leaving architecture to be covered separately. With not only a tighter focus but also a greater extent than Osborne's, the new Companion offers far deeper coverage of the subject than previously; it includes many more artists and their works, and also pays proper attention to new topics ofinterest focused on patronage, taste, theory and criticism, materials and techniques, and the new art history. There are over 2600 entries, alphabetically arranged. Almost half of them cover artists, from classical times to the twentieth century. Other entries discuss art styles and movements, art forms (such as battle painting, landscape, caricature, or stained glass), specialist terms, and materials andtechniques in all media. There is strong emphasis on location as a focus for art: not only are there regional and cultural surveys, but also entries on specific places of importance such as Paris or Urbino; and, in addition, entries on museums and galleries are arranged under the their city headwordso that the reader can easily survey the major sites within a particular locality, such as New York, Boston, or Madrid. Patronage receives imaginative treatment: here, rather than focusing on a limited number of individual patrons, the Companion has entries on towns and cities as centres ofpatronage and collecting - such as Nuremberg, Dresden, or Prague. In addition, there is a novel series of entries on the critical fortunes of the art of the major European countries, covering, for example, patronage and collecting of Italian art in France, Spain, Britain, Germany and Central Europe,the USA, and in Italy itself. A further category of entry covers topics in the theory of art, such as iconography, perspective, and synaesthesia; and there is wide-ranging coverage too of art scholarship and criticism from Aristotle and Pausanius to Sartre, Panofsky, and Michel Foucault. All this issupplemented by entries on general topics as varied as reproduction, anatomy, guilds and confraternities, frames, and the conservation and restoration of paintings and sculpture. This is a work for everyone who loves art, whether actively engaged in the subject professionally or as one of the countless amateurs visting sites and cities, galleries, and exhibitions, churches, libraries, country houses, and palaces in pursuit of beauty and cultural enrichment.

About the author (2001)

Hugh Brigstocke is a Paul Mellon Research Fellow at the British School, in Rome. A former Curator at the National Gallery of Scotland, he was the first Editor in Chief of the Macmillan/Grove Dictionary of Art, and was the head of the Old Master Paintings Department at Sotheby's in London.

Bibliographic information