- ISBN: 9780271017471 | 0271017473
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 10/1/1998
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A Discerning Eye is an anthology of some of the finest and most lasting essays by a great critic-historian of Early Italian painting, Richard Offner. Its contents span the Florentine fourteenth century and thus compose a kind of portrait album of some of its most notable painters between the Gothic and Renaissance eras, from the Magdalen Master in the thirteenth century to Masaccio in the early fifteenth. Each essay contains insights that are as incisive, fresh, and evocative today as when they were first written. The essays are illustrated using Offner's original photographs supplemented by new or additional photographs when dictated by the material or when the reader might be better helped to see the relationship between Offner's analytical prose and a given image. This book reintroduces Offner and places him in the wider context of art-historical writing to reassess his work and underscore what his writings have to offer art historians working today. Three interpretive essays approach Offner from distinct but complementary perspectives: historiographical, philosophical, and biographical. Reassessments of such figures as Erwin Panofsky and Millard Meiss aid the ongoing debate about what art history is and how it ought to be practiced. The reader is asked to reconsider not merely the value but also the philosophical foundation of connoisseurship as a method investigation and its compatibility with other methods.