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The Art Book

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An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions and techniques. Each artist is represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work, accompanied by explanatory and illuminating information on the image and its creator An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions and techniques. Each artist is represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work, accompanied by explanatory and illuminating information on the image and its creator. Glossaries of artistic movements and technical terms are included, making this a valuable work of reference as well as a feast for the eyes. By breaking with traditional classifications, The Art Book presents a fresh and original approach to art: an unparalleled visual sourcebook and a celebration of our rich and multi-faceted culture.


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An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions and techniques. Each artist is represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work, accompanied by explanatory and illuminating information on the image and its creator An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions and techniques. Each artist is represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work, accompanied by explanatory and illuminating information on the image and its creator. Glossaries of artistic movements and technical terms are included, making this a valuable work of reference as well as a feast for the eyes. By breaking with traditional classifications, The Art Book presents a fresh and original approach to art: an unparalleled visual sourcebook and a celebration of our rich and multi-faceted culture.

30 review for The Art Book

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I've always wanted to learn more about art and art history, and this was a good sampling. It takes 500 different artists and shows one work from each of them. It was a nice introduction to artists I hadn't heard of before, and it gave a brief synopsis of the work and the artist. This isn't an in-depth exploration. It often left me wanting more -- I expected this book to serve as a jump-off point, so that's a good thing. I flagged dozens of pages to research further. I should note that, being an a I've always wanted to learn more about art and art history, and this was a good sampling. It takes 500 different artists and shows one work from each of them. It was a nice introduction to artists I hadn't heard of before, and it gave a brief synopsis of the work and the artist. This isn't an in-depth exploration. It often left me wanting more -- I expected this book to serve as a jump-off point, so that's a good thing. I flagged dozens of pages to research further. I should note that, being an art book, there is a bit of nudity in here. Some of it is artful and appropriate, but there were some that I felt the artist used only for shock value. But that's an entirely different debate... Note: there are two versions of this book: A large coffee-table sized one published in 1994, and a smaller pocket-sized one published in 2005. I read the big one, which was nice, because the pictures were full-page and I could see them well.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    Much to my husband's dismay, I took the binding off this book and put each page in a page protector; it now takes up two binders. But now, for $19.95 plus page protectors and binders, I have over 500 pieces of art that can be passed around my classroom. Well, most of them can be passed around my classroom. I'm struggling with the nudity. Why is it more acceptable to me in an ancient Greek statue than in modern art? Hmmmmm...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maria Panteli

    I got this as a gift recently and I must say it's amazing. I am a bit of an art geek and I always have been. I enjoy this book because of the variety of different artists in it; all of which have contributed to my fascination with art in some way. I know some of the artists pretty well and some are completely new to me, and I love that. I could spend hours just flicking through this book and still not have read/studied it completely. I don't think I'll ever get bored of this book. It would make I got this as a gift recently and I must say it's amazing. I am a bit of an art geek and I always have been. I enjoy this book because of the variety of different artists in it; all of which have contributed to my fascination with art in some way. I know some of the artists pretty well and some are completely new to me, and I love that. I could spend hours just flicking through this book and still not have read/studied it completely. I don't think I'll ever get bored of this book. It would make a great gift or coffee table book too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was really an interesting concept. Hundreds of artists, drawn from many times, movements, places, one page spread per artist--one work, one short explanation, a little attempt to locate the artist in time and movement. I couldn't stay out of this at work--we kept going back, opening it up, arguing over whether the work chosen was the right one. That was a lot of fun. (Weeping Woman for Picasso???? Ceci n'est pas un pipe for Magritte? Really?) I must say, it did help that I was pretty famili This was really an interesting concept. Hundreds of artists, drawn from many times, movements, places, one page spread per artist--one work, one short explanation, a little attempt to locate the artist in time and movement. I couldn't stay out of this at work--we kept going back, opening it up, arguing over whether the work chosen was the right one. That was a lot of fun. (Weeping Woman for Picasso???? Ceci n'est pas un pipe for Magritte? Really?) I must say, it did help that I was pretty familiar with most of the movements. It might have been tough to follow a narrative if I had had no idea about who was who. And one other caveat--this might not be a good choice for a conservative homeschool family. In addition to a large number of classical nudes, to which I have less objection, there are also quite a few more modern ones some of which I would not want my kids to see. But this was really, really fun and if you have a friend or two that knows a little bit about artists, you can have some really, really fun discussions/arguments/lively conversations about the artwork choices.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Plain and simple: This was the book that made me fall in love with the visual arts. Almost every time I went to the library as a girl, I would borrow this book. I would sit and look at it for hours, never getting bored with it. I still haven't purchased this book for my collection, but I am planning on it soon!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diana Habashneh

    very simple, a photo of the artist work, brief about the artist it gives you hints, not very helpful but it's a joy to the eye, you can like a painting or a sculpture and go do the research yourself, witch is not a bad idea after all, that is not a bad idea after all

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anton Klink

    This book sets out to present one work of art from 500 different artist. This sounds good in theory, but since all the artists and their one work of art are listed alphabetically, the end result is eclectic and chaotic. This would have been a much better book, had the same contents been arranged chronologically or at least thematically. As it stands though, the paintings (there are a few sculptures and installations here and there, but I will mostly refer to just paintings) jump all over the pla This book sets out to present one work of art from 500 different artist. This sounds good in theory, but since all the artists and their one work of art are listed alphabetically, the end result is eclectic and chaotic. This would have been a much better book, had the same contents been arranged chronologically or at least thematically. As it stands though, the paintings (there are a few sculptures and installations here and there, but I will mostly refer to just paintings) jump all over the place in time and subject. It also seems unfair to have some amazing, iconic painters reduced to just one work of art, which is hardly representative of their overall contribution, whereas others (especially some of the more contemporary artists) could easily have been left out of the book altogether. The print quality might have been ok 20 years ago (my copy is the 1994 large format coffee table version, not the more recent 2005 pocket size edition), but is below average by today's standards. The resolution is acceptable, but the colours are quite dull. Also Many of the photos also display a strange yellow and orange colour cast, making the paintings look worse than they should. The captions provide adequate details both about the paintings and the artists. You will learn a detail or two about the paintings, the lives of the artists and even a few fun facts every now and then. It is somewhat sad though to read references to all sorts of other paintings done by the same artists. The format of the book dictates that we can only see one painting per artist and to see the rest, we would have to turn to other books or the internet. The selection of artists has a decidedly Western and Christian bias. There are a few Japanese and South-American artists here and there, but the overwhelming majority are from mainland Europe and English speaking countries. Also the depicted scenes (at least until the beginning of the 20th century) are from either Roman or Christian mythology or Western European aristocratic and everyday life. After a while, seeing the same scenes over and over again, even if depicted by different artists, becomes quite monotonous and boring. The book covers a vast range of genres. As a consequence, you may find your favourite genres either under-represented or too many examples from genres you don't care about. I found myself paying closer attention to the art from around the 16th until the middle of the 19th century, which I consider the golden age and pinnacle of painting. Art from before the 16th century is a bit too simplistic for my taste and with the rise of photography in the 19th century, painting seems to have lost focus and spiralled into an identity crisis, from which it has yet to recover. Impressionism was as an interesting experiment and the last of the tolerable departures from traditional painting, but everything after that - I just found myself turning the pages without even looking at the names of the authors of yet another solid cube, formless splatter or weird installation. It is a matter of taste of course, but I found too much art I didn't care for and thus will most likely not be keeping the book. There are also some fairly obvious errors in the book, where the captions talk about one painting, but the picture is of a completely different one altogether. One example is on page 98. The picture is of a beautiful landscape painting by the venerated landscape artist Frederic Church. However the captions talk about an active volcano Cotopaxi supposedly being in the painting, which actually is nowhere to be found. Only a Google image search turns out another equally impressive painting by the same artist, where a volcano named Cotopaxi can be clearly seen, but it is obviously a completely different painting from the one in the book. I caught the error purely by chance just by browsing around and I haven't read the captions of all the art pieces, so who knows, how many similar errors are in the book. In conclusion, with either a chronological or thematical arrangement, this would have made a passable art book. Unfortunately the paintings are arranged alphabetically by artists, which provides for a very chaotic reading experience. If you take it as a coffee book only to browse here and there, this book is ok, even if the quality of the repros is below average. If however you are interested in only certain time periods or art styles, you'd be better off purchasing a more focused book with better quality prints. If however you want to own just one book on art, I recommend the immeasurably better and magnificent "Art" by DK, which is my opinion is one the best books on art ever published.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thuraya Batterjee

    this book presents a fresh and original approach to art. It is an essential reference to those of us who are always looking for inspiration.. And a good visual sourcebook too..

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    Love this book - it is alphabetical order of artists, with a picture of their work, and some biological detail. I particularly love the big version, that I saw at a school. The mini version I have at home is a bit small for some of the detail to come through.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maia Sinclair

    I just luvvvv this book. i carry it around whenever i have to travel because it is fun to read and reread. it teaches you a lot about art in accessible and convenient way. Just the kind of book you like reading. hours can pass by and you barely notice it. :) luv it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob Hartley

    This book is the Linkin Park of the art book world. Granted it doesn't have to be as scrupulous as a doctor giving a prostate exam but it's still quite vague and doesn't give much away. Still useful if you're doing your GCSEs though.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tidar Rachmadi

    I guess, no real artits really read this art book. But, this book is very artsy on the cover and 1000 times more artsy inside. And best of all, it's from Phaidon.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    This really should have been called The Western Art Book. There is only one Asian artist represented, and Latin America is limited to a few Cubans and Mexicans. Everyone else is completely absent. Unlike other reviews, I actually liked the alphabetical arrangement of the artists, as it really demonstrated the diversity of the North American and European art tradition. You have this on one page and this on the next.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    I was required to take an art appreciation class in college to graduate--and I loved it! So getting this book was a natural follow-up. It won Illustrated Book of the Year and is in the Top Five Popular Art Books on Goodreads. As stated in the introduction, this book is "an A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times." It's that classic coffee table book--I even recently spotted it on a list for the best of the kind. I'm not the kind that collects those--in fact I was required to take an art appreciation class in college to graduate--and I loved it! So getting this book was a natural follow-up. It won Illustrated Book of the Year and is in the Top Five Popular Art Books on Goodreads. As stated in the introduction, this book is "an A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times." It's that classic coffee table book--I even recently spotted it on a list for the best of the kind. I'm not the kind that collects those--in fact this is the only book of the kind I own. But if any such book should be part of every home, surely its an art book like this one, where the great Western artists and (alas only) one of their representative masterpieces is laid before you. This is also by far the heaviest book I own--you could do strength training with it--but it's worth its weight. A real keeper.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bogdi

    It would be a mistake to take this book for what it is not: a serious, in-depth treatise on art. No, it's a picture book that gives almost twitter-like info on artists. Every artist included has one picture/one chance to make an impression on the public (art novices). The good things about it: the wealth of periods it hits on and the quality of the reproductions, to say nothing of its size (I have the pocket size version, in case there are others). I also enjoyed the little gimmick: listing artis It would be a mistake to take this book for what it is not: a serious, in-depth treatise on art. No, it's a picture book that gives almost twitter-like info on artists. Every artist included has one picture/one chance to make an impression on the public (art novices). The good things about it: the wealth of periods it hits on and the quality of the reproductions, to say nothing of its size (I have the pocket size version, in case there are others). I also enjoyed the little gimmick: listing artists in alphabetical order juxtaposes somebody like Lorenzo Lotto with Louis Morris. It reminds me of a similar encyclopedia of painting I used as a young teen. This might similarly spur young art lovers to explore further.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    It gives an over view of art and some important works. Information on the art contained in the book is limited but enables you to go look further. Also lists contact details for major Galleries in the back. My copy is a small version however the photos of the art work are printed clearly and you can see all the textures of the paintings as well. Make sure this isn't your only art book in your library, but definately a good place to start when loking for reference, or pictures, or styles, or what It gives an over view of art and some important works. Information on the art contained in the book is limited but enables you to go look further. Also lists contact details for major Galleries in the back. My copy is a small version however the photos of the art work are printed clearly and you can see all the textures of the paintings as well. Make sure this isn't your only art book in your library, but definately a good place to start when loking for reference, or pictures, or styles, or whatever you are looking for.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sharon R.

    I love this little goodie. At least mine is little, I think they made two sizes. It's great to flip through. When needing inspiration or just procrastinating. It's fun to discover a new artist or new work by one you've known.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ying

    that book is very good, in this book your can learn more about the art and in this book have something is so surprised for me. one is for the this book have 500 different artists and shows one work from each of them. other thing is for the the art have mandy year's old and have mandy people want to learn more about art. this book can for some one didn't know art and that can geive some one want to learn word art thay can read that book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book helped me as an art novice to get a feel for certain artists and styles. The pictures are of a very good quality and the book itself is a monster. It was fun flipping through this and getting snippets about various artists and genres. Each page has a reference to similar artists, giving one the opportunity to keep in theme if desired and learn about related artists.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ^

    The perfect prescription for someone who thinks Kupka might have something to do with the continuing cup-cake craze. A artist, a picture, a critique, a list of recommendations to other artists of the same school. A pared down minimalistic approach which works. And pocket sized too (a wide pocket). Educational and, what's better, memorable.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    Though it might frustrate those looking for an in-depth analysis, The Art Book is great for casual appreciation or anyone who doesn't know where to start. I personally enjoyed the huge variety of wildly different pieces sitting side by side.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    An everyday book for Everyman. Quite nice for the coffee table or for the kids to flick through. It does what the title says so probably deserves 5 stars but it lacks sufficient depth or enquiry for my tastes..

  23. 5 out of 5

    J.p. Jones

    Great little book if you take it for what it is - something to dip into to stimulate ideas or discussion... or simply pages to flick through to look at interesting works of art. Not for the academics, but that's part of the appeal.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lavinia

    Remember how this book was seen throughout the whole Friends series? First at Central Perk, then at Monica's. Now it's on my shelf, thanks to Patty :) It's actually a nice read if you're into arts and stuff, and of course I cannot brag for reading it, rather browsed through.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Todd Pack

    This is a nifty little book (or a nifty big book, if you have the hardcover edition). It only scratches the surface, but it covers a lot of ground. It's a wonderful book for browsing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I refer to this little book quite often. I am always looking for artists and their styles. I keep it very handy. It's a must have.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This book is small is size, but a great art book. It was my daughter's first art book of her own and she would sit for hours looking at the art.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zzainab Ammar

    This book is simply a masterpiece. I love it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Billy Stone

    This book is well-written and well-edited. It is hard to put down.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I owed the original version of this book, so when I heard there will be a reprint with updated content, I jumped on this chance. This book is an A-Z listing of some famous artists. Some you will most definitely have heard of, many you have not. The book has ALL types of artists...sculptors, performance artists, traditional paint. They are put back to back in this book, organized only by their last name, so you will see some interesting contrasts in their styles and presentation. Each entry has a I owed the original version of this book, so when I heard there will be a reprint with updated content, I jumped on this chance. This book is an A-Z listing of some famous artists. Some you will most definitely have heard of, many you have not. The book has ALL types of artists...sculptors, performance artists, traditional paint. They are put back to back in this book, organized only by their last name, so you will see some interesting contrasts in their styles and presentation. Each entry has a brief text on the piece, some history on the artist, and the location of where the artist was born and where they passed if they are not alive, as well as where you can see this piece. This is a wonderful book for art fans, as well as those who are art curious. The price point is very affordable. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

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