New York: Pantheon, 1957. First edition. Quarto, original navy cloth spine over light blue cloth boards, original dust jacket. Gentle bump to top corner of front board, slightest of shelf wear to bottom of the boards, small chip to bottom of front panel and closed tear to back panel of dust jacket. A near-fine copy. Item #160
"THIS IS NOT A PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH TO PAINTING, BUT, RATHER, A PICTORIAL APPROACH TO PHILOSOPHY"
First edition of the 1955 Mellon Lectures, Etienne Gilson's survey of the history of painting from a metaphysical perspective. Gilson's tour-de-force reveals "a philosophical analysis in which the intellectual significance of painting is contrasted with the merely representative value of pictures." (George F. McLean, O. M. I.). The nine chapters conclude 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 in quarto format as number XXXV in the Bollingen Series, sponsored by and published for the Bollingen Foundation. The text of the address is illuminated with footnotes by Gilson and illustrated with a frontispiece and dozens of plates. With Gilson's Preface, dated "Toronto, December 5, 1955." McLean, An Annotated Bibliography of Philosophy in Catholic Thought, 1900-1964, p. 246.