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Beyond Vision is the first English-language collection of essays on art by Pavel Florensky (1882–1937), Russian philosopher, priest, linguist, scientist, mathematician – and art historian. In addition to seven essays by Florensky, the book includes a biographical introduction and an examination of Florensky’s contribution as an art historian by Nicoletta Misler. Beyond Vision reveals Florensky’s fundamental attitudes to the vital questions of construction, composition, chronology, function and destination in the fields of painting, sculpture and design. His reputation as a theologian and philosopher is already established in the English-speaking world, but this first collection in English of his art essays (translated by Wendy Salmond) will be a revelation to those in the field.
Pavel Florensky was a true polymath: trained in mathematics and philosophy at Moscow University, he rejected a scholarship in advanced mathematics in order to study theology at the Moscow Theological Academy. He was also an expert linguist, scientist and art historian. A victim of the Soviet government’s animosity towards religion, he was condemned to a Siberian labor camp in 1933 where he continued his work under increasingly difficult circumstances. He was executed in 1937.