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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Art Book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
This book looks at a huge assortment of artists in almost every style of art. No preference is given, no comparative analysis between styles or artists. it is a straightforward alphabetical listing of important artists with one representative artwork displayed from each. A very interesting approach. Each piece is accompanied by a brief description of the piece and/or the artist in one paragraph.
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Arranged alphabetically, which is very helpful. Sadly, it has generally but only one painting or photo for each artist, but then the intent here is to cover as many artists as possible, not to be comprehensive on any one artist, and it's quite heavy as it is already.
The Art Book is an EXCELLENT reference guide. How many times reading the Arts section of a newspaper, or an interview with an artist, etc., does one hear a reference to another artist and one has no idea who that person is? With this book, you can quickly check it out!
I also very much appreciate the cross-linking - since it's alphabetical, and not by style or school of thought, the editors have listed on each artists's page other artists who are similar or somehow related to that one. I have found the cross-referencing to be very helpful many times.
Unless one already has an encyclopedic knowledge of 500 years of art, this is a PERFECT book for one's art library as a reference tool. And it's also a GREAT jumping off point for exploring artists: page through randomly, come across something interesting, then go and look for a book of that artist, or head to the museum "in search of."
I treasure my copy, and would not ever wish to part with it.
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on June 28, 2002
This valuable little book, at approximately 6-1/2 by 5 inches, packs a lot of information and pleasure into a little package. Five hundred artists, from Agasse to Zurbaran, are represented. Each painter or sculptor gets one page that features a full-color print (covering about two-thirds of the page); a paragraph of text that discusses the artist's work in general, the specific work depicted, and cross-references to similar artists; information about the artist and the piece, including the artist's place and year of birth and death, the work's title, date, medium/materials, physical dimensions and current location.
Presented alphabetically, rather than chronologically, this dynamic little tome makes great browsing, and helps you to look at art in a way we don't usually -- outside of its historical context. The paper and color plates are of the first quality and the text is informative. It's fun to see which work was chosen as typical of your favorite artists, and it's fun to try and guess the period in which an artist worked before you read the information.
Because so much is fit into such a small volume, some readers may be frustrated at the small print, though the font is quite clean. The book closes with glossaries of technical terms and artistic movements and a directory of museums and galleries, organized by country, that includes address, phone number and a list of the book's works that they own. (Maybe the next edition will also include web sites?)
Phaidon Press has done you a service by publishing this pithy treasure. Buy it now!
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on June 28, 2002
This valuable little book, at approximately 6-1/2 by 5 inches, packs a lot of information and pleasure into a little package. Five hundred artists, from Agasse to Zurbaran, are represented. To each painter or sculptor one page is devoted, featuring a full-color print (covering about two-thirds of the page); a paragraph of text that discusses the artist's work in general, the specific work depicted, and cross-references to similar artists; information about the artist and the piece including the artist's place and year of birth and death, the work's title, date, medium/materials, physical dimensions and current location.
Presented alphabetically rather than chronologically, this dynamic little tome makes great browsing, and helps you to look at art in a way we don't usually -- outside of its historical context. The color plates and paper are of the first quality, and the text is delightful -- as if you had a very smart and articulate mentor who could describe an artist or a movement in a way that actually makes sense. I've read several books on artistic aesthetics, hoping to find a better appreciation for the art that I mainly enjoy viscerally and IMHO, these pithy remarks do as well or better than those whole books.
It's fun to see which work was chosen as typical of your favorite artists, and it's fun to try and guess the period in which an artist worked before you read the information. Just the kind of book to leave out when guests are over, and the price is so reasonable and the size so manageable that this is an art book I can leave out for kids to enjoy too.
Because so much is fit into such a small volume, some readers may be frustrated at the small print, though the font is quite clean. The book closes with glossaries of technical terms and artistic movements, and a directory of museums and galleries, organized by country, that includes address, phone number and a list of the book's works that they own. I hope the next edition will also include web sites.
In this fast, fast, faster world, it might be good to take a few minutes and look at some pictures, eh? Phaidon Press has done us a service by publishing this little treasure. They have worked a little miracle to do so at such a great price. Buy this book!
Highest recommendation.
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on November 20, 2000
Give this book to your children. Why? Because you will find out if they really have any interests on the arts. If NOT, read and see it for yourself - it's a real treasure and it will show you more about The Arts as you may see visiting galleries, museums etc. in a lifetime. If YES, when your child shows interests, read and see it too, talk about and who knows, maybe you have an artist in your family or - even this is possible: YOU are the artist! I am an artist, an Installation Art Sculptor and learned from this little handy guide how to look on art. I read it in two days from "alpha to omega". Now I know: THE ART BOOK is my book and my gallery. I wonder why our kids don't get it in schools. They would know about The Arts in some hours more than most of the teachers. Is art education needed? When yes! How much it will cost? THE ART BOOKS itself will give you a good answer. Buy it! Give it to your children, friends .... and to art teachers as a guide. Sincerely - Jan A. Loeffler, Yes2Art originator.
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I've used this book countless times for research, etc. It's a reference guide to 500 artists, and on one small page gives what is usually their most famous piece (Leonardo da Vinci "The Mona Lisa", Klimt "The Kiss"), a description of it, a few major details of the artist's life, date and place of birth/death, and also the names of other artists that fall into the same category. At the end of the book there is a glossary of terms, a list of artistic movements, and a museum directory. The reproductions are of very high quality and take up about half a page. It's a great book just to look at, but for someone who wants to gain knowledge of the subject, and for students, this marvelous little book (it's only 5 + 6 1/2 but quite thick) is a must. Phaidon did a splendid thing putting out this volume...you'll love it !
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on July 26, 2001
For people who are interested in art, but don't want to get bogged down with a long series of dates and other supplemental materials, this book is the way to go. It provides nearly full page reproductions with some key facts to get you started. Works are sorted alphabetically. As an art student, I can tell you that this is one of the best art books I have purchased. You might also want to check out "The Photo Book", "The 20th Century Art Book" and "The American Art Book", too. They're all great for a quick and painless introduction to various artists. Also, the university's professors use these books quite often to provide with examples. Check 'em out! :-)
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on September 7, 1999
For people who are interested in art, but don't want to get bogged down with a long series of dates and other supplemental materials, this book is the way to go. It provides nearly full page reproductions with some key facts to get you started sorted alphabetically. As an art student, I can tell you that this is one of the best art books I have purchased. You might also want to check out "The Photo Book", "The 20th Century Art Book" and "The American Art Book", too. They're all great for a quick and painless introduction to various artists. Also, the university's professors use these books quite often to provide with examples. Check 'em out! :-)
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on March 21, 2000
What some books take volumes to convey, this book often provides in a page long description. Listing the artists alphabetically provides a lovely contrast; seeing two random works side by side will often offer all the explanation necessary. If one wishes to see the works of another artist that may further clarify a description, with each work is provided several suggestions for comparision. Occassionally, the example shown does not seem to be definitive of the artist's style (the work by Frank Stella, for example), but overall I found the book really entertaining and informative--and it looks great on the coffee table.
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on July 9, 1997
I really love this book. In fact I have it as a coffee table book and I can't stop reading it - neather can my cat! It is basically an A-Z encyclopedia of artists with an example of their work. Mostly famous artists but also some unknowns included. Big glossy pictures and a history speel about them too!

Great as a reference book. Available in paperback and hardcover. Also in print, The 20th Century Art Book which looks at 20th Century abstract and contemporary art. Buy this when you have purchased The Art Book.

Publisher: Phaydon

A must for the art lover
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