Painting and Reality


This product is currently sold out.

Please fill in the form below if you'd like to be notified when it becomes available.

By Étienne Gilson

Painting and Reality

The midpoint of the twentieth century, as with the present day, saw no shortage of scholarship on the subject of art. In Painting and Reality, delivered in 1955 for the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Étienne Gilson makes what is in many ways a unique contribution to that vast body of literature. Addressing the problem of what a philosopher can learn from painting, Gilson makes the center of his perspective the work of art in and of itself paired with its relationship to the world of natural reality (ontology) and to the beholder (phenomenology). From this metaphysically robust vantage point, he develops a vision of art as both an investigation into and an affirmation of reality.

If one attempted to belittle the arts by saying that, in creating, they imitate nature, the answer should be that…the arts create many things by themselves. Where something is lacking, they supply it, because they own beauty.(Plotinus)

Étienne Gilson (1884–1978) was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy and one of the premier Catholic intellectuals of the twentieth century. Over the course of his illustrious career, he founded the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, was elected to the Académie française, and wrote over one hundred and seventy books.

Paperback: 360pp.

ISBN: 978-1950970728