The Transfiguration of the Commonplace

The Transfiguration of the Commonplace : A Philosophy of Art

4.12 (377 ratings by Goodreads)
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Arthur C. Danto argues that recent developments in the art world, 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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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 15.24mm | 263g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • None
  • 0674903463
  • 9780674903463
  • 358,226

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.
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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
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Review quote

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 * 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 * 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 *
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About Arthur C. Danto

Arthur C. Danto was Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University.
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Rating details

377 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 41% (154)
4 38% (142)
3 15% (58)
2 5% (17)
1 2% (6)
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