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In the splendid tradition of Kenneth Clark's Civilisation and Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man, here is a magnificent account -- authoritative, lively, richly and beautifully illustrated -- of the hundred-year history of modern art. Written by one of the most widely read and respected art critics of our time as an outgrowth and expansion of his major eight-part BBC Time-Life television series, it recounts the origins of modern painting, sculpture, and architecture; discusses the careers of the major artists; shows how their work was shaped by the cataclysmic events of the new century; makes plain why modernism has today very nearly run its course and does all this with verve, command of anecdote and scholarship, and a critical poise that is nothing short of dazzling. In eight fascinating chapters Robert Hughes explores the cultural fruit of nineteenth-century industrialism, the legacy of World War I, art in the lyric mode, the glorious failure of modern architecture, the outbreak of irrationality, the art of extreme emotion, art gripped by the media, why the avant-garde is no more, and where, if anywhere, art goes from here ... Deeply informed, dashingly written, wonderfully illustrated (more than 250 pictures, nearly all in full color, constituting in themselves an extraordinary gallery of great works of modern art), The Shock of the New is history and art criticism at their most appealing and accessible, a book to learn from -- and to delight in.