The Uses of Images: Studies in the Social Function of Art and Visual Communication
In this volume, the tenth in the series of his collected essays, Professor Gombrich returned to themes that long preoccupied him in his study of visual imagery of all kinds. Central to these pivotal essays is a consuming interest in the functions of images, and how these functions, in addition to the images themselves, evolve over time. In wide-ranging studies of both so-called 'high' and 'low' art - from fresco painting, altar painting, the International Gothic Style and outdoor sculpture to doodles, pictorial instructions, caricature and political propaganda - Gombrich examines a broad spectrum of key questions. These include the role of supply and demand, competition and display, the 'ecology' of images, the idea of 'feedback' in the interplay of means and ends, and the ways in which developing skills in turn stimulate new demands. Gombrich explores in depth such specific aspects of the uses of images as the hanging of pictures and the use (or misuse) of images as historical evidence. Extensive in its scope and surgically precise in its focus, The Uses of Images signifies yet another landmark corpus of work by the prolific Professor Gombrich, in a subtle but striking tour de force.