THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE GODS by Andre Malraux

THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE GODS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Voices of Silence was for many a completely new approach to and reappraisal of man's relation to art. Now in what might be termed a companion volume, he goes farther with the theme broached in the earlier book of the metaphysical aspects in art's development. Through the civilizations of Greece and Byzantium and Europe he traces successive changes not only in the meaning of art but in its uses. One loses a sense of one period growing out of another and substitutes instead an awareness of forces that produced change beyond the definable worldly factors. The outline serves merely as a frame of reference to reveal art as actually outside of time. Malraux reaches back into pre- history, to ancient empires Minean and Mycenacean and Egyptian and Hittite; and forward to the classic eres as the Sophists undermined the prestige of the gods and the tyranny of reality lept Rome from true art. With the Byzantium overlordship came the linking and kinship between Christian and Oriental forms. A religious ferment was at work. Mosaics- not painting- took the place of the antique sculptures. Manuscript illumination- Coptic miniatures- the art of the illuminated book, all were directed to a limited few, the book loving elite. But with the religious revival of the 11th century, and the Crusades, architecture and sculpture found new birth. The Romanesque period established a new relationship between man and God and man and the world in which he lived:- the religion of love, as the sacred found expression in human terms. Two centuries- and another change. With the 14th century came the emergence of purely secular figures- and sculpture in its turn was challenged by painting -- as it had supplanted mosaics. The feudal hierarchy was yielding to an urban way of life...This is not an easy book even for the knowledgeable reader. But it expands- it opens wider still- the scope of the ""Museum without Walls"" which is Malraux' great gift to an art- hungry world. This is a superb translation by Stuart Gilbert of a work destined to take a permanent place.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday