In this utterly original book, Anita Albus tells the story--in the birth and triumph of oil painting, the creation of perspective, and the very nature of paint itself--of how, when, and why the eye became king of all the senses.
Albus's subjects are the inventors of easel painting in oils, the van Eyck brothers and their followers. It was in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in northern Europe that oil painting radically changed the way we perceived the world: the ear, through which we had previously received all knowledge, was replaced in importance by the eye. A painter of distinction herself, Albus re-creates this revolutionary time in all its intricacies, its familiarity, and its strangeness.
The Art of Arts is thus both a dazzling cultural history and the story of two explosive inventions: the so-called third dimension of deep space through perspective, and the shockingly vivid colors of a new kind of paint. Albus makes abundantly clear how, taken together, these breakthroughs not only created a new art but altered forever our perception of the world.