The Christian & Non-Western Philosophy of Art

by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

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Coomaraswamy famously wrote that “the artist is not a special kind of person, but every person is a special kind of artist.” This book is an inquiry into a nonmodern philosophy of art.[1]

About the Author

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877–1947) was an influential art historian, theorist, and critic.[2] He “first effectively rediscovered Rajput painting as a distinct entity, publishing it and giving it its name.”[3]


  1. On the non-modern, compare recent scholarship by Wouter J. Hanegraaff, in Esotericism and the Academy: Rejected Knowledge in Western Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  2. On Coomaraswamy’s defining influence on John Cage, for example, see David W. Patterson, “The Picture That Is Not in the Colors: Cage, Coomaraswamy, and the Impact of India,” in John Cage: Music, Philosophy, and Intention, 1933–1950. New York: Routledge, 2002. Coomaraswamy’s “Every man is a special kind of artist” was echoed by Joseph Beuys in his own famous slogan, “Everyone is an artist.”
  3. William Dalrymple, New York Review of Books, November 24, 2016.

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