The Invention of Art by Larry Shiner
A Cultural History

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With The Invention of Art, Larry Shiner challenges our conventional understandings of art and asks us to reconsider its history entirely, arguing that the category of fine art is a modern invention—that the lines drawn between art and craft resulted from key social transformations in Europe during the long eighteenth century.

"Shiner spent over a decade honing what he calls 'a brief history of the idea of art.' This carefully prepared and—given the extent and complexity of what he's discussing—admirably concise, well-organized book is the result. . . . Shiner's text is scholarly but accessible, and should appeal to readers with even a dabbler's interest in art theory."—Publishers Weekly

"The Invention of Art is enjoyable to read and provides a welcome addition to the history and philosophy of art."—Terrie L. Wilson, Art Documentation

"A lucid book . . . it should be a must-read for anyone active in the arts."—Marc Spiegler, Chicago Tribune Books

About Larry Shiner

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Larry Shiner is a professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of The Secularization of History and The Secret Mirror.
Published September 1, 2001 by University Of Chicago Press. 352 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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He plausibly traces the 18th-century division between "so-called polite and vulgar arts" from a time when music, for example, was played at home or for "religious and civic occasions" to when it started to be played in concerts with no other goal than artistic enjoyment in and of itself: "On this...

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