Ornament: A Social History Since 1450

Ornament: A Social History Since 1450

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This wide-ranging surveys the Western tradition of ornament from Renaissance interiors to gypsy caravans to the decoration of airliners. Placing ornamental design in a social context, it traces the various ways ornament has been used, the rules of decorum and etiquette associated with it, and the social, moral and spiritual values that ornament has conveyed and represented through the past five centuries. Michael Snodin and Maurice Howard begin by looking at how an authoritative view of ornament came into being: the objectives implicit in the decoration of architecture from the Renaissance onward and the manner in which printed images conveyed a common vocabulary of ornament all over the Western world. Next they survey how ornament has been used for personal decoration, analyzing how the body was been adorned in dress and jewellery and the place of ornament in the interiors of the home. They then explore the more public side of ornament, discussing the common themes that lie behind the heraldic motifs of religious ceremonies and festivals and the logos adopted by corporations. The authors conclude with an account of the ways the Western tradition of ornament has responded to and absorbed African and Asian motifs.

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