"The Ancient View of Greek Art" by J. J. Pollitt

The Ancient View of Greek Art Criticism, History, and Terminology J. J. Pollitt

Publication date:
01 Jan 1974
Yale University Press
484 pages: 229 x 152 x 27mm

What did the ancient Greeks think about their own art?  J.J. Pollitt attempts to answer this question by studying the critical terminology of the ancient Greeks—the terms they used to describe and evaluate sculpture, painting, and architecture.


Although Greeks and Romans with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests—including artists, philosophers, rhetoricians, historians, and guidebook writers—wrote about art in antiquity, very few of their works have survived.  Mr. Pollitt has therefore had to draw largely on works of authors who, while discussing some other subject, make passing references to art for the purpose of analogy or illustration.  By carefully assembling and organizing these fragments, he presents a coherent view of art criticism in ancient Greece.


This study is divided into two parts.  The first part provides a general history of Greek art criticism and its sources.  The second is an extensive glossary which collects, translates, and analyzes passages from Greek and Latin authors in which important critical terms are used.  The book can therefore be used by art historians and classicists as both a scholarly text and an important work of reference.