New York: Pantheon, 1957. First edition. Quarto, original navy cloth spine over light blue cloth boards, original dust jacket. Mild toning, slight edge-wear to dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #1107
"THIS IS NOT A PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH TO PAINTING, BUT, RATHER, A PICTORIAL APPROACH TO PHILOSOPHY"
First book edition collecting the 1955 Mellon Lectures—demonstrating Etienne Gilson's mastery at using painting as a vehicle for a discussion of metaphysics. Complete with the original dust jacket designed by Paul Rand and illustrated with a frontispiece and numerous plates in the text. The work consists of nine chapters: I. Physical Existence, II. Individuality, III. Duration, IV. Ontology of Paintings, V. Causality of Form, VI. The World of Paintings, VII. Painting and Language, VIII. Imitation and Creation, IX. The Significance of Modern Painting. Gilson reveals "a philosophical analysis in which the intellectual significance of painting is contrasted with the merely representative value of pictures" (George F. McLean). The text concludes with an Appendix where Gilson allows five artists: Joshua Reynolds, Eugène Delacroix, Juan Gris, Eric Gill, and Amédée Ozenfant, "whose reflections have seemed to us particularly inspiring" to speak directly to the reader. Painting and Reality was the fourth volume of the A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, delivered annually at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D. C. The book was published as number XXXV in the Bollingen Series, sponsored by and published for the Bollingen Foundation. With Gilson's short Preface (dated, "Toronto, December 5, 1955") and Dedication to his daughter, Jacqueline: "to J. G. / Who Taught Me to Understand What I Loved." McLean, Philosophy in Catholic Thought, 1900-1964.