to Learn More About Art
Part One: Books
Baffled by Byzantine?
Confused by Cubism? Dumbfounded by Dada? To many, the names assigned
to these artistic movements are as baffling as the art itself.
People are intrigued by art and yet they are often overwhelmed
and intimidated by it.
So what's the solution
to this dilemma? How can you learn about art and not be so overwhelmed
by what you see? The answer can be found in one word--preparation.
Taking a little time to gain an overview of art before a visit
to a museum will certainly enhance your viewing experience.
A good place to start
is to visit our bookstore,
or your local public library. One glance at the art section in
any bookstore or library and you'll immediately discover an absolute
truth…most art books are BIG! The sheer size of these imposing
tomes of taste make them more likely candidates for a doorstop
than something that you would actually want to sit down and read.
As soon as you open
a book that contains art of the Italian Renaissance or French
Impressionism, for example, you become increasingly drawn into
the images and the stories that surround them. You may begin to
wonder what kind of art preceded these movements. And where can
we begin to trace the story of Western art created by Man (or
Here are some Art
a GoGo book ideas to help you help you begin to learn more
about art. Most of these books are packed with images and will
provide useful information for your next museum visit. Oh yeah,
the classic art history books will also look great on your coffee
Story of Painting by Sister Wendy Beckett
This companion book to the popular PBS series tells the story
of over 800 years of painting in the West. More than 450 masterpieces
are reproduced in color. Currently the number one art book at
Amazon.com. Great details!
Art for Dummies
by Thomas Hoving
Even though Hoving
is the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he hasn't
lost his sense of humor or the ability to communicate with the
general public. In this book, Hoving attempts to demystify the
history of art (no small task, to be sure!). Although most of
the contents are entertaining, there is a real shortage of pictures
to accompany his narrative. This is no problem for someone familiar
with these works of art, but he loses his audience if they don't
possess this knowledge. Due to the lack of pictures, this book
is best used along with one of the more traditional books.
The Epic History of Art in America by Robert Hughes
There are few
books devoted solely to American art that are as beautiful and
as well-written as this book is. Hughes traces the history of
American art and not only describes the artistic developments,
but also places it within the context of American social history
over the last five centuries. Robert Hughes knows how to tell
a great story!
Instant Art History:
From Cave Art to Pop Art by Walter Robinson
In a mere 240 pages,
Walter Robinson describes the history of art. For a quick read,
you can't beat it! It's concise, accurate, and funny.
Art History Books
These books are classics,
and set the standard for art history texts. Yes, they are large,
but they are filled with beautiful color reproductions and accurate
discussions about the artwork.
The Story of
Art by Ernest H. Gombrich
of Art by H.W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson
The History of Art for Young People by H.W. Janson
and Anthony F. Janson
Art History by Marilyn Stokstad and Bradford R.
(DK Annotated Guides) by Robert Cumming
Even though this book is designed for children ages 12 and up,
we were fascinated with it. The author discusses in detail the
elements seen in 45 of the Western world's artistic masterpieces.
After looking at just a few of these paintings, you won't be able
to put the book down.
A Child's Book
of Art: Great Pictures First Words by Lucy Micklethwait
Kids like looking at picture books, so why not give them something
good to look at. Over 100 paintings are used to illustrate a child's
first words. It's an excellent opportunity to combine a learning
experience with art. Great gift idea! Reading level is for ages
4 to 8.
(DK Annotated Guides) by Robert Cumming
You'd think that Robert Cumming had cornered the market on art
books for children. There's a whole series of books by DK Annotated
Books, and you really can't miss with any of them. The DK books
are clear, concise, and very inexpensive.
of Art: Discover Great Paintings by Lucy Micklethwait
This book gives kids an excellent overview of paintings by such
artists as Botticelli, Bruegel, Velasquez, Copely, and Van Gogh.
The Child's Book of Art features full color pictures, including
some detail views. Question and answers challenge kids to learn
more about each painting.
We hope you enjoy our
art book picks. In part two of How to Learn More About Art, we'll
review some of the best art videos.