ART, the ultimate visual guide to 2,000 of the world's most revered paintings and sculptures, begins with a short section on how to look at paintings and sculpture, explaining the simple steps of formal analysis that swiftly become automatic and greatly increase and inform your enjoyment of art. The main part of the book is a 540-page chronological look at more than 700 artists. This section is subdivided into the main periods of art history with introductions to each period or art movement that explain the key elements and influences of the time. With several paintings by each major artist, this section is a joy to dip into or study in more depth. Key paintings are examined in detail to help you understand the artist's intentions, style, and method. Thematic galleries are interspersed, showing how artists from different periods and places treat the same subject matter, such as landscape, nudes, or animals.
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Ross King is a Professor of Korean and head of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia.
What must a big book of art contain to make it a great big book of art? Many color reproductions, including close-ups. A fluid mix of art history and interpretation set against the larger panorama of world history. Lots of brief artist bios. Clear and concise explanations of media, techniques, aesthetics, styles, and intent. A sense of continuity and stories of radical departures and infamous scandals. Works and artists the reader has never encountered before. A jump-starting foreword by an eloquent art historian, such as Ross King, who opens this exemplary volume, one that surpasses all the criteria above, by declaring, “Great art, more than anything else, is the benchmark of human achievement.” From the genuinely informative introductory primer, “Looking at Art,” to in-depth scrutiny of seminal works to overviews of universal and timeless themes, and a phenomenal array of artists past and present, this grand and exciting survey of the art of Europe and the U.S. with forays into Africa, Asia, India, South America, and Australia, should be the anchor for art collections of all sizes. --Donna Seaman
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