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What Painting is
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Unlike many books on painting that usually talk about art or painters, James Elkins' compelling and original work focuses on alchemy, for like the alchemist, the painter seeks to transform and be transformed by the medium. In What Painting Is, James Elkins communicates the experience of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history. Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in her or his studio - the smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colours will mix, and how they will look. Written from the perspective of a painter-turned-art historian, What Painting Is is like nothing you have ever read about art.
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About the Author

James Elkins is Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is the author of many books, including The Poetics of Perspective (1994), The Object Stares Back: On the Nature of Seeing (1996), Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing(1997) and Why are Our Pictures Puzzles? forthcoming from Routledge.

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