The Best Art History Books Every Art Lover Should Read

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A brief overview of 11 of the best art history books every art lover should read.

What separates the civilized human from the savage? Culture. Without the ability to express ourselves through art forms, we are simply our Neolithic ancestors. As it is put on artincontext.org: “It is easy to look at the history of mankind and note that much of our development and expansion has come from a basic, overriding need and will. to survive.”

“Art, on the other hand, forces us to look beyond the basic need for survival. It highlights another facet of the human soul. One who appreciates and creates beauty for beauty’s sake.

Art history, also known as art historiography, is the historical analysis of the visual arts. It is associated with the identification, classification, definition, evaluation, translation and understanding of artistic products and the historical evolution of the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture , decorative arts, drawing, engraving, photography, interior design, etc.

Art history also differs from art criticism in setting a comparative artistic value on individual artistic work against others of a similar style or in legitimizing an entire style or action . One would associate the theory of art (also known as the “philosophy of art”) with the fundamental nature of art.

Looking to learn more about these areas? Do you want to learn to better appreciate art? We’ve collected 11 of the best art history books that explore a myriad of different artists and movements. Read on to discover the must-read list for art lovers everywhere…

50 Artists You Should Know, by Lars Röper and Thomas A. Koster.

50 artists you should know, by Lars Röper and Thomas A. Koster

The book also includes a glossary of basic terminology. The publication lists the artists in chronological order. It also includes all the major artistic movements and innovations of the Gothic period. 50 Artists You Should Know offers readers a concise understanding of the development of the visual arts. The Simple Outline is an enjoyable and useful art history lesson that anyone can enjoy, making it ideal for casual reading or an easy quote.

The Art Book, by Phaidon Press

The Art Book, by Phaidon Press.

The Art Book, by Phaidon Press

Phaidon’s The Art Book’s Second Edition is a significantly expanded and updated version of its phenomenally successful predecessor. The latest edition features prominent figures from the disciplines of photography and performance art. As well as 100 new artists chosen from different eras and around the world. Some texts and works by artists from the first edition are also updated.

Classical Art: From Greece to Rome, by Mary Beard

Classical Art: From Greece to Rome, by Mary Beard.

Classical Art: From Greece to Rome, by Mary Beard

This exciting look at classical art begins with the excavations of Pompeii and continues with the extravagant monuments of historical tyrants and the seductive charm of Apollo and Venus. It also ends with the most influential creation of all, which is the human portrait. The book sheds light on the contemporary revival of classical art, from the treasure hunts of Renaissance Rome to the scientific acquisition of masterpieces in the 21st century.

The History of Art, by Ernst Gombrich

The History of Art, by Ernst Gombrich.

The History of Art, by Ernst Gombrich

For more than half a century, The Story of Art (considered one of the most famous texts on art ever written) has been a worldwide bestseller. Readers of different ages and backgrounds admire Professor Gombrich’s writing because of its simplicity and clarity. He is a true master who integrates wisdom and knowledge with a rare gift for conveying his deep love of the subject.

The Best Art History Books Every Art Lover Should Read: What Great Paintings Say, by Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen

What Great Paintings Say, by Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen.

What the great paintings say, by Rose-Marie and Rainer Hagen

Part art history, part detective work, this fascinating TASCHEN collection examines 100 world-renowned works of art in magnified detail, revealing fashions, lifestyles, loves, intrigues, politics . As well as the people who ultimately do these works of genius.

One of the most expansive of these art history books, this interesting contributor to our knowledge of art history masterpieces also amplifies some of the world’s greatest paintings to reveal their facets. the tiniest and most subtle. As well as all they reveal about a past time, place and culture.

Art in Theory, 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood

Art in Theory, 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood.

Art in Theory, 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood

This well-known anthology of hypothetical texts on 20th-century art has been updated to include new research and important contributions to 1990s art theory. Writings by critics, intellectuals, politicians and authors are also included. For each of the 340 texts, the editors offer contextual introductions.

The book focuses on Art in Theory, 1648–1815 and Art in Theory, 1815–1900 to provide a comprehensive review of the theories influencing the development of art in the 21st century.

The Best Art History Books Every Art Lover Should Read: Twentieth-Century American Art (Oxford Art History), by Erika Doss

20th Century American Art (Oxford Art History), by Erika Doss.

20th Century American Art (Oxford Art History), by Erika Doss

This fascinating look at 20th-century American art examines the connection between American art, museums, and the public during the “American Century.” It encompasses the rise of feminist art in Los Angeles in the 1970s, the black art movement, the growth of galleries and art schools, and the deeply politicized public scandals surrounding arts funding.

Early American Modernism, Regionalism, the New Negro movement, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism and also Neo-Expressionism are all widely discussed.

Ways of Seeing, by John Berger

Ways of Seeing, by John Berger.

Ways of Seeing, by John Berger

Based on the BBC television series by John Berger, Ways of Seeing is a unique look at how we perceive art. Part of the Penguin on Design series in the Penguin Modern Classics, it has since become one of the most important publications for art students around the world.

“There’s a different sense in which sight precedes words,” says Berger. “We define our place in the world at large by sight; we justify it with words, but they can never deny the fact that it surrounds us. The relationship between what we see and what we know is never completely resolved.

The Best Art History Books Every Art Lover Should Read: 100 Most Popular Paintings, by Sister Wendy

100 Most Loved Paintings, by Sister Wendy.

Sister Wendy’s 100 Most Loved Paintings

Sister Wendy Beckett, dubbed “the most unlikely and famous art critic in television history” by The New York Times in 1997, has hosted various television documentaries and written over thirty books on the story. of art and its appreciation.

Beckett had worked with the SPCK on a collection of short stories of his most favorite paintings shortly before his death in December 2018, nearly thirty years after his first book. As a result, she has created a captivating collection that will excite her many fans around the world while influencing a younger generation of art lovers as they deepen their knowledge of the depths and intricacies of some of the finest works of art. art of the world.

Mona Lisa: The Story of the World's Most Famous Painting, by Donald Sassoon

Mona Lisa: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Painting, by Donald Sassoon.

Mona Lisa: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Painting, by Donald Sassoon

It is an account of how Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of the Mona Lisa became one of the most famous paintings in the world. Also one of the most influential cultural icons of the 21st century. The book delves into what made the Mona Lisa the most famous painting in the world.

Why, of the 6,000 works of art in the Louvre, is it the only one exhibited in a fancy box, set in concrete and then protected by two sheets of bulletproof glass? Why do thousands of people flock every day to contemplate it, also neglecting the masterpieces that surround it? Donald Sassoon reveals all in this book, one of the most important of all art history books.

Art, a visual history, by Robert Cumming

Art, a visual history, by Robert Cumming.

Art, a visual history, by Robert Cumming

This detailed, illustrated guide, covering countless eras and also over 650 artists, offers a helpful yet informed view of art history, showcasing everything from notable works and lesser-known treasures to processes and concepts. It contains material on major schools and organizations, as well as close critical appraisals of 22 masterpieces, including Botticelli’s Primavera and JMW Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire.

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