In his study, Art, Politics, and Development, IASS economist Dr. Philipp Lepenies contributes to the ongoing controversy about why the track record of development aid is so dismal. He asserts that development aid policies are grounded in a specific way of literally looking at the world. This “worldview” is the result of a mental conditioning that began with the invention of linear perspective in Renaissance art. It not only triggered the emergence of modern science and brought forth our Western notion of progress, but ultimately, development as well. Art, Politics, and Development examines this process by pulling from a range of disciplines, including art history, philosophy, literature, and social science. Lepenies not only explains the shortcomings of modern aid in a novel fashion, he also proposes how aid could be done differently.
"This is a brilliant, provocative book. Lepenies makes a novel link between two disparate subjects, art and economics, and he relates them in an absolutely new, unprecedented way. The breadth of his scholarship is simply astounding. Art, Politics, and Development opens with an impressively researched study of Renaissance art history and the inception of linear perspective in Florence, Italy, during the early fifteenth-century. He goes on to show how the perspective rule for improving pictures came to be accepted as replicating ultimate visual ‘truth’. This book could become a cultural classic," says Samuel Edgerton, Amos Lawrence Professor of Art, Emeritus, at Williams College, and author of The Renaissance Rediscovery of Linear Perspective