History of Beauty by Umberto Eco

History of Beauty

Now in paperback, Umberto Eco’s groundbreaking and much-acclaimed first illustrated book has been a critical success since its first publication in 2004. What is beauty? Umberto Eco, among Italy’s finest and most important contemporary thinkers, explores the nature, the meaning, and the very history of the idea of beauty in Western culture. The profound and subtle text is lavishly illustrated with abundant examples of sublime painting and scu...

Details History of Beauty

TitleHistory of Beauty
Release DateNov 13th, 2004
GenreArt, Nonfiction, History, Philosophy, Art History

Reviews History of Beauty

  • Kalliope
    Reading Eco’s study On Beauty feels like visiting a Temple with very many chambers. In each room there are texts. There are also images, many of them too and of good quality and they are all photos of art pieces. During this visit we are accompanied by the talk of a commentator. He comments on the texts only. Not on the images. Each room corresponds to a period in the Quest of Beauty. In this pursuit we can also conceive each space as forming a...
  • Coyle
    Really a 3 1/2 star book, but since that's not an option...This book is misnamed, really "dictionary of Beauty" would be a closer title, while "Umberto Eco's Musings on Beauty in a loosely chronological order with occasionaly quotes about beauty from other thinkers and a boatload of pictures" would probably hit closest to home. Undoubtedly the publisher shot that title down and stuck History of Beauty in its place. Strengths: Each individual sect...
  • Luís C.
    It is a book that is not based on artistic criteria of beauty, but the beauty marked by time, by the concepts, for what it was and was considered beautiful in every season.I think the author exceeds too much the beautiful setting, in keeping with the beauty.He didn't convinced me.Sorry..I almost give it up..It was only funny, cross myself with the various interpreters of the history of art ... But very little, very little.
  • Gabriella
    It's not really a book you read cover to cover, and I guess some of the disappointment many people may feel comes from them picking it up and reading it like that. It is a dictionary a reference, it should open people's mind up to further investigate and research. As someone said the book does reflect his personal opinions and musings, but just by flicking though the book many times I have found myself diving deeper into periods, artists, works o...
  • Stela
    Even if I agree with most of the reproaches this book received (that it is more a guide than a study, that it is more a triumph of compression than of clarity, that it is too eclectic and so on) I have to say I really enjoyed it.Is this a consequence of my great admiration for Umberto Eco or of my dilettantism in art, I'm not sure (and I won't dig, so back off!). Anyway, I think the author completed his objectives, enumerated in Introduction:- to...
  • Bjorn
    It's an interesting topic: what is beauty? It might seem like a trivial question, but think about it: esthetics run through everything we do. Everything we read, watch, listen to, right down to the houses we live in, the cars we drive, the cans we buy food in are made to correspond to some standard of beauty. Where does all that come from? What makes us think a Rolls looks better than a Datsun? What makes Dickens a better writer than Stephenie Me...
  • Metin Yılmaz
    Güzellik nedir ne değildir hakkında kapsamlı bir araştırma Güzelliğin Tarihi. Fakat işlenişden mi yoksa dağınık gibi görünen farklı kronolojisinden mi bilemiyorum bir akıcılık sağlayamadı bende. Yer yer bildiğimiz tanımlamalar ve gerçeklerle karşılaştım. Bazen ise bilmediğim ama tahmin ettiğim bazı doğrularla. Genel olarak ise beklentimin altında ama okumaya da değer bir kitaptı. Tabi kabul etmek gerekir ki bu ...
  • Dominika Žáková
    Obsažné, kvalitné, zazdrojované spracovanie. Musím ale priznať, že to bola pre mňa nuda a “len” zopakovanie vedomostí z výšky. Bodaj by som ju ale bola bývala prečítala pred štátnicami z dejín umenia!
  • AyaSuu
    This book takes a lot of stamina to go through. The concept is quite easy: each chapter contains a short description of the period in question and its understanding of beauty, accompanied by important artworks and primary literature. These chapters are often just 3-5 pages. Nevertheless it's hard to read (weird layout, at least in the german edition, and hard to understand primary texts without comments) and boring at times. It doesn't feel like ...
  • Ioannis Savvas
    Μια εμπεριστατωμένη μελέτη της προοπτικής της Ομορφιάς στο πέρασμα των αιώνων. Μια πανοραμική απεικόνιση της αντίληψης του ανθρώπου για το Ωραίο. Μέσα από την τέχνη και τη φιλοσοφία. Ένα ταξίδι στον τρόπο σκέψης των ανθρώπων για ένα από τα σημαντ...
  • Ritz
    Compré La Historia de la Belleza para mi tesis sobre estética. Estudio Filosofía y al momento de hacer una tesis sobre estética creo que ya tengo algo de información al respecto, "por este motivo y sólo por este" no recomiendo el libro; es decir no lo recomiendo si lo buscas con fines de investigación académicos.Sin embargo, es un excelente libro de refrencia para profundizar con otras investigaciones. Es una aproximación a "la belleza" ...
  • Psychophant
    The book originally was presented as a CD-Rom. Although I like books, I think the idea of the writer would be better experienced in an interactive webpage or digital media. Because a page limits you to what is in it or its neighbours, or a shorter or longer search for a glimpsed idea. Hyperlink and search functions really help to compare what is in common and to spot the differences.The book deals with the idea of beauty, and how it has changed t...
  • Jose
    Absolutely disappointing. It's just another collection of selected paragraphs and quotes from historical and philosophical essays concerning Beauty and other aesthetical categories like the Picturesque or the Sublime, with some extra explanations. I expected it to be a new essay by Mr. Eco himself, but his presence and touch on the subject approached is almost inexistent or unnoticeable. Plus, a quite expensive book. So, if you're already into Hi...
  • Neva
    Не, не харесах тази книга. Като изключим картинките, има повече проблеми, отколкото достойнства. И не, не бих я използвала като меродавен източник за каквото и да било, така че не бих я нарекла "енциклопедия".* * *"История на красотата, представена от ...
  • Eℓℓis ♥
    Dal libro: Anche le cose brutte si compongono nell'armonia del mondo per via di proporzione e contrasto. La Bellezza [...] nasce anche da questi contrasti, e anche i mostri hanno una ragione e una dignità nel concetto del creato, anche il male nell'ordine diviene bello e buono perché da esso nasce il bene, e accanto a esso il bene meglio rifulge.
  • Pollopicu
    I got through this book by pure endurance I built by jogging 2-3 miles a day, 4 times a week. Otherwise I wouldn't have made it through. Good thing I have mental stamina. It's gotten me through a lot of difficult times in my life. I loved Umberto's book "On Ugliness". I gave that five stars, which is the reason I asked for a copy of "On Beauty" for Christmas, so I could have the set, and forever cherish them both. I learned a lot about literature...
  • Rachel
    Dense.I had to simply assign myself to get through the book. Though I read the book and made an honest attempt to absorb a goodly amount of the information, I suspect that I missed entire theses in my reading.One reason is that the writing in supported with both images and text. Before I began the book I thought it was mostly an art historical history of beauty. I didn't realize how great a role writing, especially poetry and philosophy, would pl...
  • Barry Marks
    To begin, I have to confess that I am a huge Umberto Eco fan. I have enjoyed reading both fiction and non-fiction books penned by him. My only regret is that I have to read English translations as I am not going to learn Italian at this stage of my life.This book to me is a post- modernist history of the concept of beauty. I have enjoyed reading cover to cover when I first got it and to this day still enjoy rereading parts of it and pursuing the ...
  • Jarryn
    This book clearly shows its origin as an electronic resource casually dealing with aesthetics. Not only is it not a "study", but it can feel rather fragmented and incoherent throughout. Eco and De Michele seem to intend this book to serve as "a history" of beauty rather than "the history", if one exists at all—it reads most like the textbook for an introductory survey course in art history/aesthetics.I think this book does a decent job at strik...
  • José Luís Fernandes
    History of Beauty is a nice exposition of the History of the concept of beauty. The scholarship by Eco is very good and the book has a lot of illustrations and primary sources to back his claims (although for the 20th century there is a lack of texts). I must just warn that the stirrups didn't reach Europe in the High Middle Ages, but instead was already around in the late 6th and early 7th centuries (depending on the region) probably due to Avar...
  • Agnes Fontana
    Umberto Eco a voulu éviter l'écueil du "beau livre d'art" qu'on vous offre, on répond "Ooooh, merci !!", on regarde au mieux une fois les images, puis on le met sur une étagère ou sur la table basse du salon et on le lit jamais... Pour déjouer le piège, Umberto Eco a réduit le livre au format quasi-poche, et en a fait un développement nourri mais resserré autour d'un fil rouge : comme la vision de la beauté a-t-elle évolué au cours d...
  • Lingkai
    Basically a tour of the art movements over time. Avoiding the big word "Art" next to history, this book is not really about the history of art. It is concerned with beauty. You'd know better, "What is beauty?" is basically an absurd question to ask. I still found it a good read anyways. A book to leave around the house to crack open at random places - ooh! pretty pictures! And some interesting lines.Liked the last few chapters the best.Of most in...
  • J.j.
    This was a bit of a tough read in that it could be slightly boring at times and also lacked a coherent organization or scheme. True, Eco's main point is that there is not necessarily a theme to beauty, but this nonetheless made it a tougher read. The included philosophic tidbits were great and well selected, though I felt some added context would have helped overall. The images chosen were great, and almost always helped in understanding the idea...
  • Mirande
    Although from time to time the writing is a little muddled or the thinking confused, on the whole the short overview sections give a coherent explanation of Eco's understanding of how our thinking about beauty has developed. The overviews are embedded within copious images of paintings, scultures, as well as excerpts from treatises and other texts. These are wonderful. Am borrowing this book from a friend, but would love a copy of my own. Would g...
    Bellissime immagini, interessanti spiegazioni, alcune note, altre meno. Come al solito Eco risulta ai miei occhi di gran lunga un migliore saggista che romanziere, anche se l'ultima delle sue fatiche letterarie (Tempo Zero) non é mortale come L'isola del giorno prima, anzi.
  • Kaid Abulatif
    أومبيرتو ايكو جميل يكتب عن الجمال، كتابه الجديد جماليتة تضاهي الجمال الفني عن عنوان القبح الفني أجمل ثنائي فني يزين مكتبتنا في البيت:-)