A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso

By (author) Paul Barolsky

Paperback - £19.95

Publication date:

15 May 2011

Length of book:

168 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271036762

In A Brief History of the Artist from God to Picasso, Paul Barolsky explores the ways in which fiction shapes history and history informs fiction. It is a playful book about artistic obsession, about art history as both tragedy and farce, and about the heroic and the mock-heroic. The book demonstrates that the modern idea of the artist has deep roots in the image of the epic poet, from Homer to Ovid to Dante. Barolsky’s major claim is that the history of the artist is inseparable from historical fiction about the artist and that fiction is essential to the reality of the artist’s imagination.

“In this brilliant, wide-ranging essay, Barolsky examines the historical idea of the artist, arguing convincingly, for example, that we should view Homer as an early art historian and that Dante played a crucial role in shaping the modern view of the artist.”

—David Wilkins, University of Pittsburgh