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A Short Guide to Writing About Art (The Short Guide Series)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  473 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
For art courses where there is a writing component. This best-selling text has guided tens of thousands of art students through the writing process. Students are shown how to analyze pictures (drawings, paintings, photographs), sculptures and architecture, and are prepared with the tools they need to present their ideas through effective writing.
Paperback, Ninth Edition, 378 pages
Published January 8th 2007 by Prentice Hall (first published 1981)
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Jan 11, 2010 Sofia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Art students
Background: I ordered this book a few months ago, when I decided I wanted to focus my studies on the theoretical side of art. In order to start practicing my writing more seriously, and having never had any formal training, I wanted a book that could guide me in the right direction, not too advanced nor too basic, and which could be a good reference in my future academic research. After looking around for a bit, I settled for this one, which appeared to have the most interesting contents and bes ...more
Kate Green
Jul 27, 2013 Kate Green rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic, cop
Although I borrowed this book from the library hoping for help in writing critical about exhibitions and artwork it turned out instead to be an excellent little book on helping to write about art in an educational setting. Barnet reinforces much of what anyone that has been to university should know about writing, but in an engaging and friendly way that meant the reminders were welcomed. Really easy to use, this book will arm you with transferable writing skills for a range of audiences and cre ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college, non-fiction
This is not only an excellent treatment on writing about art, but writing, researching, and writing essays and papers generally. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interesting in the thoughts of those who critique art.
Melanie Terry
This is an amazing book and helped me raise my grades in art history papers by full letters! This book was not required, but suggested to me by a teacher, and it should totally be required. This book is so helpful and easy to understand. It includes sections on various different types of writing assignments in regards to art. I highly recommend this book!
Oct 04, 2007 Jason rated it really liked it
I originally read this for an art history class as an undergraduate. Since it's short and I have a couple short papers to write for a current art history class I figured it would be good idea to read it again.

In addition to being a good primer on how to approach writing about art, it's also a great guide on how to look at art. For anyone who has ever walked into a museum and wondered what they hell they were looking at, Barnet poses a number of questions that, if asked, could make the experience
This book was very informative but I would only really recommend it to students of the arts as it primarily pertains to writing RESEARCH PAPERS about art. Large portions of it (I have an older edition) focus solely on research paper layout and technique, which was not particularly useful to me.

I learned much more about writing about art from "Madonna of the Future by Arthur Danto (this is a collection of art criticisms)
Oct 30, 2009 Relstuart rated it liked it
At 400 hundred pages "short" is not a great descriptive word. :) But it was to the point on the subjects it covered and a good book for covering the proper way to write about art.
May 23, 2012 TaleofGenji marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Jan 23, 2012 Linds rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, art
This book is helpful for anyone taking college art history, appreciation, or aestetics courses. It will bump your papers up at least one grade.
Katherine Hornsby
I'll keep this as a reference. Excellent for English, Art History, etc. students, or really anyone writing research papers.
Short Guide to Writing About Art, A (8th Edition) (Short Guide) by Sylvan Barnet (2004)
Aug 24, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Not surprisingly, it's a rather dry topic, but this book manages to make it interesting!
Dec 02, 2007 Jonette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
Not sure how to write about art? This book is a wonderful resource for you!
Jun 10, 2009 Risa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short guide to writing about art by Sylvan Barnet (1997)
Nov 30, 2010 Kathleen rated it really liked it
This was really helpful. I actually really enjoyed it also.
Claudia Deloach
Sep 03, 2012 Claudia Deloach rated it it was amazing
Great answers to many questions on writing.
Currently reading 6th ed.
Jan 31, 2012 Tiri rated it liked it
Shelves: academia
For reference.
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Sylvan Barnet is an American literary critic and Shakespearean scholar. He is a Fletcher Professor of English Emeritus at Tufts University.

Barnet is the author of numerous books and articles on Shakespeare. He is the general editor of the Signet Classics Shakespeare,[1] the author of A Short Guide to Shakespeare,[2] and has written many textbooks. He is the co-author with William Burto of occasion
More about Sylvan Barnet...

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