Art and Architecture, Reviews

Review: Hyman, The Objective Eye

The onset of the modernist movement in western art marked the decline of realism from its place of dominance. In sharp contrast to the realist attempt to imitate the natural world, the moderns saw their art, instead, as an extension of it. But while the modernist movement may have dismissed realism as an “illusionistic” or a “mechanical enterprise,” in The Objective Eye author John Hyman takes a radical new approach to the genre that explores these works as subjects of a much deeper aesthetic interest.
Edward Skidelsky writes in a recent review for the New Statesman: “The Objective Eye… scrupulously dissects the various myths and confusions surrounding the concept of depiction, with the aim of rehabilitating realism as ‘one kind of excellence in art.'” Skidelsky applauds Hyman’s work for “championing what [he] sees as the natural, and pre-theoretical stance of artists themselves” and reinvigorating interest in the realist genre in the context of twentieth century criticism.
Philosophers, art historians, and students of the arts will find The Objective Eye to be a challenging and absorbing read.