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The book's purpose
am 29. Januar 1997
Gombrich's book has a very specific purpose: he wants to tell the history of art as a continuous story, focusing on Western art and its gradual approach to the visual world. In strong contrast to most other art history texts, Gombrich's book has a thesis, and therefore an argument. In choosing among the various alternates (Janson, Gardner, Stokstad, etc.) it is important to bear this in mind. The size and compression of his book is not its salient feature from a
philosophic standpoint: it is the presence of an authorial voice, and a continuous narrative. Most other survey texts give up the ideal of coherent exposition in favor of a neutral descriptive voice and a fragmented "story" that
continuously interrupts itself in order not to lose any essential historical detail.