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Happiness or Its Absence in Art

Happiness or Its Absence in Art

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The concept of 'happiness' is central to most civilized cultures. This volume investigates the many ways in which Western art visualized the concept from the early Middle Ages to the present. Employing different methodological approaches, the essays gathered here situate the concept of human happiness within discourses on gender, religion, intellectual life, politics and 'New-Age' culture. Operating as a cultural agent, art communicated the idea of happiness as both a physical and spiritual condition by exploiting specific formulae of representation. This volume combines art history, cultural analyses and intellectual studies in order to explore the complexities of iconographic programs that represent various forms of happiness, or its explicit absence, and to expose the implications embedded in the artistic works in question. Through innovative readings, the ten authors presented in the book survey different artistic and/or cultural paradigms and offer new interpretations of happiness or of its absence.