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Synopsis

This collection of brief but insightful essays, though always returning to the author’s central conviction that the quality of artistic endeavour depends not on individuals of genius but on the attitude of the public towards art itself, examines a wide variety of unique but related issues: the relationship between natural and artistic beauty; the genius of Da Vinci and Nicholas Poussin; the influence of femininity on European art; the importance of good criticism; art as a social phenomenon; the role of the passions; and a range of associated topics.

First published in 1919, A. Clutton-Brock’s reflections on the nature and function of art bear the marks of the deep anxieties following the First World War, and can thus speak to a generation similarly faced with uncertainty.

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