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The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, by Walter Benjamin

06/14/2021| 5 mins

An essential book to learn how to look at and see what surrounds us


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No. of pages: 62
Publisher: Casimiro
Language/Original Language: Spanish/German
ISBN(Spanish edition): 9788493837525
Year of publication: 2019
Year of original publication: 1935
Place of publication: Madrid
Where to buy: Casa del Libro

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In two sentences:

"For the first time in the process of pictorial reproduction, photography freed the hand of the most important artistic functions which henceforth devolved only upon the eye looking into a lens. Since the eye perceives more swiftly than the hand can draw, the process of pictorial reproduction was accelerated so enormously that it could keep pace with speech."

“Just as water, gas, and electricity are brought into our houses from far off to satisfy our needs in response to a minimal effort, so we shall be supplied with visual or auditory images, which will appear and disappear at a simple movement of the hand, hardly more than a sign.” [The words of Paul Valéry (1930), quoted by Benjamin in his text]

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In 300 characters:

A delicious, concise, synthetic text that leads us through the reality, use and “purpose” of art at the end of the modern era and the beginning of the contemporary period.

Written in 1935, the book introduces concepts that are today the basis of the discipline of aesthetics and image analysis: aura, technical reproduction, tradition and halo.


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