The Art of Walking


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A History in 100 Images

William Chapman Sharpe

View Inside Format: Hardcover
Price: $30.00
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A lively and thought-provoking tour of the intertwined histories of art and walking
What does a walk look like? In the first book to trace the history of walking images from cave art to contemporary performance, William Chapman Sharpe reveals that a depicted walk is always more than a matter of simple steps. Whether sculpted in stone, painted on a wall, or captured on film, each detail of gait and dress, each stride and gesture has a story to tell, for every aspect of walking is shaped by social practices and environmental conditions.
From classical statues to the origins of cinema, from medieval pilgrimages to public parks and the first footsteps on the moon, walking has engendered a vast visual legacy intertwined with the path of Western art. The path includes Romantic nature-walkers and urban flâneurs, as well as protest marchers and cell-phone zombies. It features works by artists such as Botticelli, Raphael, Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, Agnès Varda, Maya Lin, and Pope.L. In 100 chronologically arranged images, this book shows how new ways of walking have spurred new means of representation, and how walking has permeated our visual culture ever since humans began to depict themselves in art.

William Chapman Sharpe is professor of English at Barnard College.

“Deftly organized and superbly illustrated, The Art of Walking communicates its ideas and enthusiasms with infectious passion and in elegant prose.”—Matthew Beaumont, author of The Walker: On Finding and Losing Oneself in the Modern City

“Daring, erudite, and thoughtful, The Art of Walking is an important book for anyone who loves not only to walk but to think about the role that walking plays across wildly different times and places in history.”—Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City
ISBN: 9780300266849
Publication Date: May 16, 2023
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
84 color + 24 b/w illus.