My New Title Tuesday recommendation this week is DK Publisher’s The Art Book-Big Ideas Simply Explained by contributors Caroline Bugler, Ann Kramer, and many others. This is perfect for anyone wanting to know more about the ideological, social, political, and cultural influences on art and artists throughout the ages.  It’s also helpful information for parents who hope to teach and excite children while visiting art and history museums on sweltering hot days of summer.

It’s also one of those books that merits the high-quality slick paper with that unique scent that telegraphs “this is important information!”

1 Art BookPublisher’s Summary: Discover what makes a piece a significant work of art and tour history’s greatest masterpieces. See the master works of Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and more.

From prehistoric cave paintings to postmodern art, The Art Book explores more than 100 different movements, periods, and works throughout history, including ancient Assyrian sculpture and contemporary Japanese multimedia works. Art’s theories and themes are more approachable and easier to understand through innovative graphics and creative typography.

Part of DK’s award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The Art Book profiling more than 100 artists and 200 pieces of work, and covers paintings, drawing, sculptures, ready-mades, land art, installations, and more. Follow how art changed in the Medieval world to the 18th century to the modern age. Study famous pieces of art including Venus of Willendorf, The Book of Kells, and Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait. Learn the differences between Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, and Roy Lichtenstein.

With stunning images and graphics, clear writing, an artist directory, and a vocabulary glossary, The Art Book is the perfect introduction to the complex and exciting world of art.

Like so many other things – baseball, hip-hop, or cooking – when you know more about the artist’s motivations, tools, and background, it’s easier to appreciate the creation. That’s not to say I need to know how Michelangelo mixed his paints before I can marvel at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Although The Art Book is Eurocentric – not surprising since DK is Dorling Kindersley a British multinational publishing company – there is an attempt to include commentary on ancient Chinese, Assyrian, and Teotihuacan civilizations as well as Japanese, Chinese, and Islamic works from the Middle Ages.  There are also explanations on what the Aztec sculptors and artists in the Mogul Empire were creating in during the European Renaissance period.

But knowing what an artist is hoping to communicate and what key cultural or political language informs the work is both interesting and mind-growing.  *I know mind-growing is not a word yet, but it should be.

As Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

So, as you are hoping to nurture your inner artist or your child’s, having an accessible, pretty illustrated book on hand is essential and luckily available here at the library.

Happy reading and viewing, Susan C.

You might also like:

Oxford first book of art


Oxford First Book of Art bGillian Wolfe – An introduction to the joys of art. It includes a varied collection of images – paintings, drawings, sculptures, and textiles – from all around the world and down through the ages.



America's art : masterpieces from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

America’s Art : Masterpieces from the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Theresa J. Slowik   After being closed for several years, on July 4, 2006, The Smithsonian American Art Museum will celebrate the grand reopening of its newly restored building, home to the world’s premier collection of American art. Those who cannot attend can console themselves with this magnificent volume, which puts the museum’s galleries at their fingertips. Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Nam June Paik are just a few of the artists represented in a book that spans all of American history and features gorgeous reproductions of works in a dazzling variety of styles and mediums, including paintings, sculpture, photography, and folk art.

1 LouvreThe Louvre – All the Paintings –  photography by Erich Lessing; edited and introductions by Vincent Pomarede; text by Anja Grebe.   Comprehensive collection catalog of the paintings collection of the Louvre. Each entry includes artist’s name, painting name, date, size, material, location in the museum, and the Louvre inventory number. The DVD-ROM includes all paintings in the book and is browsable by artist, collection, or location. The advanced search feature allows searching by title, date, material, location, and more.


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