Contemporary discussions of the image like to emphasize art's societal functions. Few studies come close to answering why pictures and sculptures fascinate and intrigue regardless of any practical functions they might serve. In this original, thought-provoking study, Paul Crowther reveals the intrinsic significance of pictures and sculptures. To address the question of how painting becomes an art, Crowther uses the analytic philosophy of Richard Wollheim as a starting point. But to sufficiently answer the question, he makes an important link to a tradition much more successful in giving voice to the deeper ontology of visual art - existential phemelogy. The result is a work that demonstrates the reciprocal relationship between phemelogy and analytic aesthetics. To expand its ontological scope and solve the problem of expression, analytic aesthetics needs phemelogy; while to develop a sustained, critically balanced, and intellectually available ontology, phemelogy needs the discursive force and lucidity of analytic philosophy. This convincing case for a post-analytic phemelogy of art is an important advancement of contemporary discussions of the philosophy of art.
Paul Crowther is Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Galway.