Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation
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About the Author
Sir Ernst Gombrich was one of the greatest and least conventional art historians of his age, achieving fame and distinction in three separate spheres: as a scholar, as a popularizer of art, and as a pioneer of the application of the psychology of perception to the study of art. His best-known book, The Story of Art - first published fifty years ago and now in its sixteenth edition - is one of the most influential books ever written about art. His books further include The Sense of Order (1979) and The Preference for the Primitive (2002), as well as a total of 11 volumes of collected essays and reviews.
Gombrich was born in Vienna in 1909 and died in London in November 2001. He came to London in 1936 to work at the Warburg Institute, where he eventually became Director from 1959 until his retirement in 1976. He won numerous international honours, including a knighthood, the Order of Merit and the Goethe, Hegel and Erasmus prizes.
Gifted with a powerful mind and prodigious memory, he was also an outstanding communicator, with a clear and forceful prose style. His works are models of good art-historical writing, and reflect his humanism and his deep and abiding concern with the standards and values of our cultural heritage.
'Gombrich has done more than any other human being to draw people towards an enlightened understanding of art... Wearing his immense learning lightly, tackling abstract ideas without losing his readers in jargon, he has attracted a devoted following.'
'Ernst Gombrich was the most famous art historian in the world. His reputation was based less on a particular approach to the subject, or the mastery of a single period, than on the breadth of his interests and his skill at making the history of art interesting to a non-specialist public.'
'... did more than any other writer in the last 100 years to introduce a wider public to a love of art. Successive generations of students have been drawn to The Story of Art, his erudite survey of Western art, and his Big Idea: "There is no such thing as art -- there are only artists." An academic who stayed firmly outside his profession's charmed circle, his book was intended as a rallying cry against snobbery and elitism, and has remained a classic.'