Art and Human Consciousness

Gottfried Richter

Preface by Konrad Oberhuber, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University



This survey of Western art from Ancient Egypt to Picasso looks at visual art in a rich and imaginative way. Gottfried Richter’s lively and penetrating observations will inspire and enthuse the novice, while breathing new life into the thinking of art critics and historians.

Richter concerns himself broadly with architecture, sculpture, and painting—as well as mythology and legend—in presenting the creations of artist and architect as an expression of the evolution of human consciousness. In vivid images he offers the reader interpretive keys to understand this process in all areas of art history.

With many examples the author illustrates how human life has undergone a qualitative transformation as humanity has gradually freed itself from a life determined by spiritual guidance in order to take hold of the sensory world and experience free individuality.

NB: Richter was an expert in Western art, and his few comments about Eastern art, in my opinion, miss the point. Additionally, there are a few places in his discourse where more information is now known or understood than was available to him at the time of writing. Keeping these two things in mind, this is nonetheless an exciting and invigorating journey through Western artistic creation, and a really great book. It was my personal doorway into a lively appreciation of art, and that introduction is something that has continues to enrich and bless my life.

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