Sensations: The Story of British Art form Hogarth to Banksy
Author: Jonathan Jones
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
“Sensations presents a radically new story of British art. It connects the artists of today with British culture more than three hundred years ago as it finds an unexpected thread that links William Hogarth and Tracey Emin, Thomas Gainsborough and Lucian Freud. What they share is an eye for the real world. I hope this book will change how you see Britain, and its art.” – Jonathan Jones
What is the artistic impulse uniting Robert Hooke’s drawings of insects, George Stubbs’s studies of horses, Hogarth’s Gin Lane and Damien Hirst’s pickled shark? In Sensations: The Story of British Art from Hogarth to Banksy, Jonathan Jones argues that it is an empirical eye for the raw, natural and earthy.
Taking Enlightenment Britain as his starting point, Jones explores how Newton’s science and John Locke’s “Sensationalist” philosophy, which the new science inspired, sparked a national passion for looking hard at the world around us. He shows how this newfound curiosity brought seeing and science alive and inextricably linked them in British art.
As Jones traces this thread through the work of the country’s greatest artists, he reveals a set of extraordinary social and political circumstances that galvanized this appetite for empiricism within the British psyche. From Joseph Wright’s encounters with Erasmus Darwin at the Lunar Society, to Michael Faraday’s friendship with J.M.W. Turner and Tracey Emin’s “blunt documents of unvarnished reality”, Jones’s thrilling account presents a compelling argument that today as in its history, British art at its most powerful is driven by a fascination with the real world.