Can we ever claim to understand a work of art or be objective about it? Why have cultures thought it important to separate out a group of objects and call them art? What does aesthetics contribute to our understanding of the natural landscape? Are the concepts of art and the aesthetic elitist? Addressing these and other issues in aesthetics, this important new Oxford Reader includes articles by authors ranging from Aristotle and Xie-He to Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Michael Baxandall, and Susan Sontag. It focuses on why art and a variety of aesthetics matter to us, and on how perceivers participate in and contribute to the experience of appreciating a work of art. With its multicultural and multidisciplinary scope, this volume shows how anthropology, art history, Chinese theories of painting, and other perspectives both enrich and provide alternatives to classic philosophical accounts of art and the aesthetic.