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Face and mask: a double history

Face and mask: a double history

Belting, Hans, author; Hansen, Thomas S. (Thomas Stansfield), translator; Hansen, Abby J., 1945- translator

A cultural history of the face in Western art, ranging from portraiture in painting and photography to film, theater, and mass media This fascinating book presents the first cultural history and anthropology of the face across centuries, continents, and media. Ranging from funerary masks and masks in drama to the figural work of contemporary artists including Cindy Sherman and Nam June Paik, renowned art historian Hans Belting emphasizes that while the face plays a critical role in human communication, it defies attempts at visual representation. Belting divides his book into three parts: faces as masks of the self, portraiture as a constantly evolving mask in Western culture, and the fate of the face in the age of mass media. Referencing a vast array of sources, Belting's insights draw on art history, philosophy, theories of visual culture, and cognitive science. He demonstrates that Western efforts to portray the face have repeatedly failed, even with the developments of new media such as photography and film, which promise ever-greater degrees of verisimilitude. In spite of sitting at the heart of human expression, the face resists possession, and creative endeavors to capture it inevitably result in masks—hollow signifiers of the humanity they're meant to embody. From creations by Van Eyck and August Sander to works by Francis Bacon, Ingmar Bergman, and Chuck Close, Face and Mask takes a remarkable look at how, through the centuries, the physical visage has inspired and evaded artistic interpretation

Hardback, Book. English.
Published Princeton: Princeton University Press, [2017]
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Available: Newton Park

  • Newton Park – One available in Art Collection 704.942/BEL

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    00342183 Art Collection 704.942/BEL Standard Available


Statement of responsibility: Hans Belting ; translated by Thomas S. Hansen and Abby J. Hansen
ISBN: 0691162352, 9780691162355
Intended audience: Specialized.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Note: Translated from the German.
Physical Description: 270 pages : illustrations (black and white, and colour) ; 25 cm
Subject: Facial expression.; Facial expression in art.; Face.; Art and Design.; Face in art.; Emotions; Molder, Jorge; Masks.; Portrait photography; Masks; Portrait painting; Human figure
Uniform Title: Faces. English