Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern” as Want to Read:
The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,275 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
A layman's guide to art history provides the reader with a basic working knowledge of art and its influence on society.
Paperback, 198 pages
Published June 1st 1992 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Annotated Mona Lisa, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Annotated Mona Lisa

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lena Nguyen
My AP Art History teacher distributed this to my high school AP art history class as a textbook, and as a friendlier companion to our monstrously bulky 1000+ paged art history textbook. The Annotated Mona Lisa really is a crash course on art history, covering much of the materials needed in about 200 pages. I literally had a cram study session with my friend the day before our AP Art History exam by reading through this entire book. I'm really glad i did too, because I felt I did really well on ...more
Apr 14, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-books
The subtitle of this book states it is 'A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern'.

This is a fun, easy to read book that covers a wide spectrum of art throughout history.

While an obvious choice for art lovers it is also a good choice for aspiring artist in order to learn and recognize technique/style/etc.

A good alternative to dry, academic textbooks.

Learning Curve
Low: Good for new readers.
May 05, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing
I really did love this book. I am not on artist, never did much with art growing up, but have learned to really appreciate art in my travels as an adult. I've been yearning to learn more about art--a little history, a little interconnectedness, a little about major themes, etc. This book was perfect for all of that. There was enough information to be informative and interesting, but not so much to feel overwhelmed. When I was curious about an artist or piece of art in the book, it was easy to go ...more
Jake Cooper
Dec 21, 2015 Jake Cooper rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
Art History 101. How paint tech allowed impressionism. Why romanticism followed neoclassicism. What cubism even is.
Best: side-by-side comparisons
Be aware: like all good intros, it sacrifices richness for linearity
Feb 12, 2015 David rated it liked it
Shelves: history
For years I have enjoyed observing art, but due to my understanding of its history, technique, and culture, I have been limited from fully appreciating it. Not anymore! The Annotated Mona Lisa gives a brilliant survey of art history from Pre-Classical to Postmodern. The author takes us era by era, artist by artist, introducing the historical events that caused shifts in technique and expression, and providing brief biographies of the most notable artists and architects. Having read The Annotated ...more
In my high-school art history class, we read Janson, Schneider-Adams and this. It is really great for someone who doesn't want to go through the trouble of studying art but still wants to understand it or talk about it. It is also really good for people like me who have a degree in he subject but have not actively studied since receiving said degree.
Krystal Booth
Jul 19, 2011 Krystal Booth rated it really liked it
Great for a quick overview of Art History that can lead to a ridiculous amount of research topics of interest for anyone interested in art. It does not go into extensive detail about any of the artists or movements, but provides a great base for anyone interested in learning more about art history in general. Quick, easy read.
Patty Barnett
Aug 28, 2015 Patty Barnett rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reference
This is a great overview of art and artists. I use it as a reference when I need a bit of knowledge or as a quick refresher. Not a book to read from beginning to end but a book to read in pieces. And a book to keep.
I will never be finished
Dec 01, 2008 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
This is the best book by far to have. Just put it in your collection. Good for a quick reference guide and lots of detail.
Donna Walsh
Sep 27, 2012 Donna Walsh rated it it was amazing
Really love this book, it is often my go to book to get me started if I am looking into an artist or period of Art History.
Jan 12, 2016 Aaryn rated it really liked it
This book provided a clear and concise summary for many eras, movements, and schools of art within history. This is an excellent resource to draw from when seeking how artists and art movement connect to each other. There are a number of anecdotes throughout the text which make the reading pleasurable.

Geographic Notation:
The geographic regions emphasized within this text are the North Americas and Europe, they do briefly touch on Central America, South America, Africa and briefly in the Middle
Dec 30, 2015 Rui rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, art-western
My son brought home this book as one of the suggested readings of his AP class. I initially dismissed it as nothing more than a rudimentary textbook to help high schoolers earn a couple of credits. But after skimping through the first several chapters, I came to like the book a lot and ended up completely absorbed reading it. Encyclopedia style essays of the key concepts, major movements and monumental figures in Western art history are all woven into a concise, fluid and quite insightful narrat ...more
Rebecca Price
Jul 07, 2014 Rebecca Price rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a degree in Art and a minor in Art History. I also have a degree in education. In order to get certified to teach Art I had to take the Praxis II Fine Arts test. This helped me review things I had not gone over in 10 years, and I was able to get a high score on my Praxis II. I highly recommend it.
Eric Davidson
A friend recommended that I study this book as it is the BEST resource for the Art Praxis test for aspiring art teachers. The book is very interesting with great pictures. However, I haven't taken the exam, so I can't confirm/deny its usefulness.
Marsha Gulick
Jun 20, 2015 Marsha Gulick rated it it was amazing
I read this years ago when I trained to become a museum docent. I still cherish it and have many page markers in it. It doesn't teach you everything, but gives you a nugget for each artist and "ism". Great for educators!
Jun 09, 2016 Brit rated it really liked it
The book gives a nice overview of Art through the centuries. It does not go in depth of any movement or artists, but that is not its purpose.
Aug 23, 2015 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
Lovely compilation of useful, fun and interesting art facts.
Madeleine Emerald Thiele
This book is a great introduction to all the major names, movements, and paintings throughout art history. Its aim is very clear: it determines to walk alongside you as you investigate the new subject ‘Art History’.

Micki Smith
Aug 22, 2015 Micki Smith rated it really liked it
Picked up to use for my teen daughter's homeschool art class. Enjoyed reading through it myself.
Dec 25, 2014 Hikmet rated it really liked it
A good resource for a basic introduction to art history.
Aug 11, 2015 Mircah rated it really liked it
I read almost all of this -- right up to into the Modern period. I skimmed the rest, maybe just because I was feeling "arted out"... might go back and look at the last bit again some time. A great overview book. I learned a ton about art (compared to what I knew before, which was almost nothing). My only criticisms were that some photos were black and white (I looked them up on Google) and others were mentioned but no pictures (again, looked them up). It's difficult to understand explanations of ...more
Jun 28, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: ap-euro
Good beginning book.
Jul 21, 2009 Sheala rated it it was amazing
I used this book to review for a state Art Education exam. When taking the exam, I was amazed at how many questions I found answered in this book. It has a great overview of history, media and artists. The only lack I found, and it's typical of so many art history review books, was a lack of worldwide art cultures. There was a quick review of some native cultures, but not a full overview of the multicultural subjects useful in today's classrooms.
Still, this book provides a great review or primer
Jun 11, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves-to-re-read
This is my absolute favorite art history book/textbook - the first time I read it was in 1999, in my AP Art History class and have read through it every year since! I learned all the basics from this book and, since I loved it, that led me to major in Art History in college. Can't rave about it enough! I think there is a newer edition now as well.
Oct 15, 2008 Dacie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dacie by: University Art Instructor
Shelves: art
I read this during my Art in the Classroom college course. It was very useful and extremely interesting. Not at all boring like other required readings. It familiarizes the reader with the elements of art along with the history of it. I honestly did not want to put it down! I highly recommend it!
Mar 25, 2007 theri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this during AP Art History and not only was it quite useful but it was extremely interesting. I found it problematic that there is short shrift given to art that isn't European and it gives primacy to painting, BUT it is cool for an overview. You just have be able to critical.
May 10, 2016 K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Needs more pictures.
Feb 23, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing
Great book. The most concise, comprehensive, interesting book I've found yet on art history. If you're looking to get an overview of major works by major artists, so you don't seem like an idiot at the next cocktail party, this book is the one to read.
Feb 20, 2008 Ellis rated it it was ok
Shelves: readforschool
again, SUPER basic but good for an intro. Basically one page per movement (except Impressionism, why is everyone so damn obsessed with impressionism?). It tries to cover art from the Venus of Willendorf through Earthworks in little snipits of info.
May 11, 2015 Jewel rated it really liked it
This book provides an excellent 'brief' overview of western art history and many major artists and works. It's a great launching off point for more, or just a good sampling for general knowledge. I wished more of the images were in color.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Alpha ZXT 2 2 Jul 03, 2015 04:57AM  
  • The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art
  • The Story of Painting
  • The End of Art
  • The Soul of Science
  • 30,000 Years of Art: The Story of Human Creativity across Time and Space
  • The Gift of Music: Great Composers and Their Influence
  • Gardner's Art Through the Ages
  • Art History
  • Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics
  • The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution
  • M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio
  • Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams
  • The Complete Paintings and Drawings
  • State of the Arts
  • Art: The Definitive Visual Guide
  • History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Photography
  • J.W. Waterhouse
  • The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer
Carol Strickland's new enhanced eBook is "Masterpieces of Art: Impressionism" (available from Erudition Digital). She is author of a historical novel "The Eagle and the Swan," an eBook available from amazon for kindle and iPad. (See the book's website: She has written many non-fiction books and is an art critic/journalist.
Her two books on the history of art and
More about Carol Strickland...

Share This Book