The understanding of symbols – be they animals, artefacts, plants, shapes or gestures – is crucial to the appreciation of art. This authoritative guide unravels over fifty of the most common and intriguing visual symbols from across the globe from 2300 BCE to the present day. While symbols cross dialects and national boundaries, their meanings can vary and are often complex and culturally specific, which is why this lively, clearly written and well researched introduction is so invaluable. Accessible and absorbing, the book’s broad approach deftly demonstrates how the symbols used by artists have evolved over thousands of years.
Matthew Wilson explores symbolism’s subtle implications and overt and covert meanings, providing an indispensable tool for interpretation. A reference section includes suggestions for further reading and a glossary of art and historical terms.