Most festschrifts are works of piety rather than serious scholarship. This is different. It would be hard to exaggerate the knowledge I have gained or the pleasure and stimulation I have received from studying this book. That is as it should be. Sir Ernst Gombrich, now eighty-five, is the greatest art scholar of his generation, who can fairly be said to have transformed the methods whereby the fine arts are studied in this country. It is right that his festschrift should be magnificent, original, dense, varied and closely focused on his particular interests.
The essence of a great teacher of aesthetics is that he shows you how to look at works of art in new, systematic and informed ways. In these respects there has been no one like Gombrich, except perhaps the late Kenneth Clark. Serious art, as I define it, must combine