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: 2014 paperback edition of Leo Tolstoy's controversial indictment of Ã¦sthetic theory. Tolstoy contends that much of European art since the Renaissance is not "true" art but "counterfeit" art, marked by being mannered, imitative, sensationalist, and overly intellectual. Few of the most highly regarded masters in the canon of art history are spared Tolstoyâs scathing criticisms â Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Baudelaire, Zola, and many others, are derided as insincere, decadent, and obsessed with erotic mania. Even the concept of beauty is exposed as a manipulative, calculating, and perverse obsession of the upper class, largely produced at the expense of the laboring class. The cover is a portrait of Tolstoy painted by Ilya Repin.