Arnheim, Rudolf. Visual Thinking. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969.
This text continues the explorations of the mid-20th century into the issues of visual perception and knowledge. Jean Piagets studies on language and learning influenced a range of scholars. Arnheims work deals specifically with visual perception. Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, it moves to consider abstract shapes, numbers, and the complex issues of thinking with images. This work presents much of the then-current thinking in Western scholarly tradition about how images make their meaning.
Baxandall, Michael. Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972.
A major focused study on Renaissance painting, yet is invaluable for anyone considering the meaning of an image in any society. What is critical in this text is his presentation of what he calls the period eye. He explains the visual skills and habits of the time that assigned value to a given image. In this broad category he includes commercial activities, color value, volume, and space, as well as moral sensibilities.
Baxandall, Michael. Patterns of Intention: On the Historical Explanation of Pictures. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
Continuing Baxandall's inquiries into understanding images in a historical context, this text ranges beyond the Renaissance into the modern period. One chapter addresses the critical question of how far we can move toward an understanding of images in other cultures or other times beyond our own.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972.
This short book presents seven essays that relate to a television series produced by the BBC. The essays range beyond the technical aspects of image making but they serve as a good introduction to considering a range of image making primarily of Euro-American art.
Boime, Albert. The Unveiling of the National Icons. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
This work is part of a series, Cambridge Studies in American Visual Culture. Boime uses the word icon very carefully to relate to representations that have a hallowed quality in both religion and art. The icons he chooses are: Old Glory, The Statue of liberty, Borglums Mount Rushmore, the Marine Corps Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans memorial. The book is important reading for the social history of these national icons.
Crary, Jonathan. Suspension of Perception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000.
This work approaches the study of perception of visual culture through the study of attention and distraction. The text deals mainly with modernist images, but offers a wide-ranging study into technologies of perceiving images.
Gautier-Van Berchem, Margurite The Mosaics of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and of the Great Mosque in Damascus, Cpt. X, in Early Muslim Architecture by K. A. C. Creswell, Vol. I, Pt. I. Oxford University Press, 1932, revised second edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969.
This chapter (especially in the revised edition) presents a thoroughgoing analysis of what remains of the original mosaics in the Great Mosque of Damascus, and also of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. In these pages one can read how depth, line, and illusion were created by the careful blending and arranging of color cubes. While this text examines specific mosaics, the art of the mosaic technique in any medium can be appreciated, whether it is found on Zuni jewelry, Aztec masks, or the walls of the Alhambra. The materials may vary from turquoise to ceramic, but the principles of working in the medium remain.
Gombrich, E. H. Art and Illusion. New York: Pantheon, 1960.
The decades of the 1960s and 1970s produced a number of works that dealt with the issues of image making, the perception of images, and their waythat is the means by which images make their meaning. Art and Illusion is thought to be the early, masterful and approachable foray into explaining the art of the line on a flat surface.
Ling, Roger. Ancient Mosaics. London: British Museum Press, 1998.
This short and important book provides a well-rounded introduction to the history, technique and use of mosaics from their appearance in the Mediterranean area through the Roman period. The author deals with secular and religious uses of the technique.
Phillips, Ruth, B. Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast, 1700-1900. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998.
This book is about souvenir art and the ways in which commercial enterprises, museum institutions and art practice have intertwined to ensure that certain objects represent the otherness of Native North Americans.
Raymond, Jonas. France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
The image of the Sacred Heart and its role in the modern history of France is the subject of this short and important text. It explains the role of the image as a symbol of devotion, of political position and of cultural importance.
Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Ranging from the local to the global, from advertising and mass media to painting and scientific illustration, this text offers an overview of how contemporary viewers make meaning from viewing images, and suggests the hierarchies of images in the global world of images.