Derek Matravers introduces students to the philosophy of art through a close examination of eight famous works of twentieth-century art. Each work has been selected in order to best illustrate and illuminate a particular problem in aesthetics. Each artwork forms a basis for a single chapter and readers are introduced to such issues as artistic value, intention, interpretation, and expression through a careful analysis of the artwork. Questions considered include what does art mean in contemporary art practice? Is the artistic value of a painting the same as how much you like it? If a painting isn't of anything, then how do we understand it? Can art be immoral? By grounding abstract and theoretical discussion in real examples the book provides an excellent way into the subject for readers new to the philosophical dimension of art appreciation.
Derek Matravers is Professor of Philosophy at the Open University and a Bye-Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Introduction 1. What is Art? [Yves Klein, Anthropometries] 2. The Value of Art [Lucian Freud, Hotel Bedroom] 3. Expression [Mark Rothko, Black on Maroon] 4. Forgeries, Copies and Variations [Gerhard Richter, Dead 2] 5. Intention and Interpretation [Louise Bourgeois, Maman] 6. Beauty and Ugliness [Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of the Crucifixion] 7. Art and Knowledge [Edward Hopper, Nighthawks] 8. Art and Morality [Balthus, Therese Dreaming]