Art Theory - An Historical Introduction 2e
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Indispensable reading for both art lovers and students, Art Theory, 2nd Edition explores Western thought about art from ancient times to the post-modern period. Wide-ranging and exceptionally balanced in its analysis, Art History relates theory to the practice as well as to the intellectual and cultural-historical currents of each period.

  • This new edition expands the original to include more indepth coverage of contemporary art.
  • Newly updated bibliography and suggestions for further reading
  • Six chapters covering the major periods of Western art history: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the early modern period (Renaissance and Baroque), the Enlightenment, the nineteenth century, early twentieth-century modernism, and postmodernism.
  • Geared to the needs of the general reader and beginning students


Robert Williams is Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Art Theory and Culture in Sixteenth-century Italy: From Techne to Metatechne.



1. Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

2. The Early Modern Period.

3. The Enlightenment.

4. The Nineteenth Century.

5. The Early Twentieth Century.

6. Postmodernism.

Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading.



"[Art Theory] is a first-class introduction to the subject, revealing an unusual historical range, a command of diverse and often difficult ideas, and a natural flair for seeing the point--of art and of theory . . . Robert Williams has written a book I will keep on my shelf for rereading and I look forward to further works by him." John Haldane inThe Art Book