The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art

The Transfiguration of the Commonplace: A Philosophy of Art


By (author) Arthur Coleman Danto

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  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 208mm x 14mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 15 March 1983
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 0674903463
  • ISBN 13: 9780674903463
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 225,699

Product description

Mr. Danto argues that recent developments in the artworld, in particular the production of works of art that cannot be told from ordinary things, make urgent the need for a new theory of art and make plain the factors such a theory can and cannot involve. In the course of constructing such a theory, he seeks to demonstrate the relationship between philosophy and art, as well as the connections that hold between art and social institutions and art history. The book distinguishes what belongs to artistic theory from what has traditionally been confused with it, namely aesthetic theory and offers as well a systematic account of metaphor, expression, and style, together with an original account of artistic representation. A wealth of examples, drawn especially from recent and contemporary art, illuminate the argument.

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Author information

Arthur C. Danto is Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.

Review quote

One of the most philosophically interesting books to date in the philosophy of art. Concerned with defining 'work of art'...Danto demonstrates an enviable breadth of knowledge in both philosophy and art history. The result is a volume that is certain to be at the center of discussion in this area in the coming years. -- Marcia M. Eaton Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism This book is a long meditation on Brillo boxes putting themselves forward as-works-of art, or, 'gerrymandered' (Danto raids everywhere for his brilliant figurations) by interpretation into expressiveness, into metaphoricality. Malraux proposes seeing art as a metamorphosis performed by museums and juxtaposition and time (history). Danto proposes art as a metaphor of the commonplace. Art makes obvious things odd; it paradoxicalizes the ordinary. It defamiliarizes. Danto is fun...Buy it and read. Commonweal By focusing on the question 'How do banal objects become transfigured into works of art?,' the author exposes the definitive qualities of a work of art...The book contains an excellent discussion of 'style' in art. Danto both builds on and challenges some of the basic tenets of Nelson Goodman...This book will be heard of for some time to come. Choice

Back cover copy

One of the most philosophically interesting book to date in the philosophy of art. Danto demonstrates an enviable breadth of knowledge in both philosophy and art history.

Table of contents

*1. Works of Art and Mere Real Things *2. Content and Causation *3. Philosophy and Art *4. Aesthetics and the Work of Art *5. Interpretation and Identification *6. Works of Art and Mere Representations *7. Metaphor, Expression, and Style * Index