Art

The Impulse to Make Art

Denis Dutton, an American, is Professor of the Philosophy of Art at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He publishes Arts and Letters Daily—a rewarding website which assembles notable essays and reviews from broadsheets and magazines worldwide. This alone makes him a pearl amongst the heaving tide of dross on the internet. Now he has written a book called The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution, proposing that our response to art and our desire to make it are rooted in our origins—that is to say, our 1.6-million-year-old cousins. It is a tantalising proposition and is conducted in a…

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