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The Art Book

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  56,101 ratings  ·  151 reviews
An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions and techniques. Each artist is represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work, accompanied by explanatory and illuminating information on the image and its creator ...more
Paperback, 515 pages
Published April 17th 1997 by Phaidon Press (first published January 1st 1994)
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Erin
Feb 17, 2011 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
I've always wanted to learn more about art and art history, and this was a good sampling. It takes 500 different artists and shows one work from each of them. It was a nice introduction to artists I hadn't heard of before, and it gave a brief synopsis of the work and the artist.

This isn't an in-depth exploration. It often left me wanting more -- I expected this book to serve as a jump-off point, so that's a good thing. I flagged dozens of pages to research further. I should note that, being an a
...more
Kris
Much to my husband's dismay, I took the binding off this book and put each page in a page protector; it now takes up two binders. But now, for $19.95 plus page protectors and binders, I have over 500 pieces of art that can be passed around my classroom.

Well, most of them can be passed around my classroom. I'm struggling with the nudity. Why is it more acceptable to me in an ancient Greek statue than in modern art? Hmmmmm...
Maria Panteli
I got this as a gift recently and I must say it's amazing. I am a bit of an art geek and I always have been. I enjoy this book because of the variety of different artists in it; all of which have contributed to my fascination with art in some way.
I know some of the artists pretty well and some are completely new to me, and I love that.
I could spend hours just flicking through this book and still not have read/studied it completely. I don't think I'll ever get bored of this book.
It would make
...more
Cheryl
I'm almost done, and still waiting, after almost two months, for an epiphany. But I keep feeling frustrated, not only by the lack of organization, but by the choices, and by the text.

How is 'alphabetical by artist' supposed to illuminate anything? It can't. It's effectively random. There happen to be a couple of interesting juxtapositions, but those few certainly don't justify this approach.

The editors have an amazingly high Euro (and, in the more modern entries, American) bias, with only two t
...more
Michelle
This was really an interesting concept. Hundreds of artists, drawn from many times, movements, places, one page spread per artist--one work, one short explanation, a little attempt to locate the artist in time and movement. I couldn't stay out of this at work--we kept going back, opening it up, arguing over whether the work chosen was the right one. That was a lot of fun. (Weeping Woman for Picasso???? Ceci n'est pas un pipe for Magritte? Really?) I must say, it did help that I was pretty famili ...more
Diana Habashneh
very simple, a photo of the artist work, brief about the artist
it gives you hints, not very helpful but it's a joy to the eye, you can like a painting or a sculpture and go do the research yourself, witch is not a bad idea after all, that is not a bad idea after all
Anton Klink
This book sets out to present one work of art from 500 different artist. This sounds good in theory, but since all the artists and their one work of art are listed alphabetically, the end result is eclectic and chaotic. This would have been a much better book, had the same contents been arranged chronologically or at least thematically. As it stands though, the paintings (there are a few sculptures and installations here and there, but I will mostly refer to just paintings) jump all over the pla ...more
Kristen
Plain and simple: This was the book that made me fall in love with the visual arts. Almost every time I went to the library as a girl, I would borrow this book. I would sit and look at it for hours, never getting bored with it. I still haven't purchased this book for my collection, but I am planning on it soon!
Bob Hartley
This book is the Linkin Park of the art book world. Granted it doesn't have to be as scrupulous as a doctor giving a prostate exam but it's still quite vague and doesn't give much away. Still useful if you're doing your GCSEs though.
ثريا بترجي
this book presents a fresh and original approach to art.

It is an essential reference to those of us who are always looking for inspiration..

And a good visual sourcebook too..
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I was required to take an art appreciation class in college to graduate--and I loved it! So getting this book was a natural follow-up. It won Illustrated Book of the Year and is in the Top Five Popular Art Books on Goodreads. As stated in the introduction, this book is "an A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times." It's that classic coffee table book--I even recently spotted it on a list for the best of the kind. I'm not the kind that collects those--in fact ...more
Bogdi
It would be a mistake to take this book for what it is not: a serious, in-depth treatise on art. No, it's a picture book that gives almost twitter-like info on artists. Every artist included has one picture/one chance to make an impression on the public (art novices).

The good things about it: the wealth of periods it hits on and the quality of the reproductions, to say nothing of its size (I have the pocket size version, in case there are others). I also enjoyed the little gimmick: listing artis
...more
Susan
It gives an over view of art and some important works. Information on the art contained in the book is limited but enables you to go look further. Also lists contact details for major Galleries in the back. My copy is a small version however the photos of the art work are printed clearly and you can see all the textures of the paintings as well.

Make sure this isn't your only art book in your library, but definately a good place to start when loking for reference, or pictures, or styles, or what
...more
Ying
that book is very good, in this book your can learn more about the art and in this book have something is so surprised for me. one is for the this book have 500 different artists and shows one work from each of them. other thing is for the the art have mandy year's old and have mandy people want to learn more about art. this book can for some one didn't know art and that can geive some one want to learn word art thay can read that book.
^

The perfect prescription for someone who thinks Kupka might have something to do with the continuing cup-cake craze.

A artist, a picture, a critique, a list of recommendations to other artists of the same school. A pared down minimalistic approach which works. And pocket sized too (a wide pocket). Educational and, what's better, memorable.
Maia Sinclair
I just luvvvv this book. i carry it around whenever i have to travel because it is fun to read and reread. it teaches you a lot about art in accessible and convenient way. Just the kind of book you like reading. hours can pass by and you barely notice it. :) luv it!
Manda
Love this book - it is alphabetical order of artists, with a picture of their work, and some biological detail. I particularly love the big version, that I saw at a school. The mini version I have at home is a bit small for some of the detail to come through.
Justin
Though it might frustrate those looking for an in-depth analysis, The Art Book is great for casual appreciation or anyone who doesn't know where to start. I personally enjoyed the huge variety of wildly different pieces sitting side by side.
Sharon R.
I love this little goodie. At least mine is little, I think they made two sizes. It's great to flip through. When needing inspiration or just procrastinating. It's fun to discover a new artist or new work by one you've known.
Lara
I always like to flip through this when I'm looking for inspiration. Sometimes I can base a design off a painting, usually with the use of colors, or even off the outfits in the compositions.
Tidar Rachmadi
I guess, no real artits really read this art book. But, this book is very artsy on the cover and 1000 times more artsy inside. And best of all, it's from Phaidon.
Laura
Jan 09, 2009 Laura added it
I refer to this little book quite often. I am always looking for artists and their styles. I keep it very handy. It's a must have.
Eric Chappell
Let me preface this by saying: much to my chagrin I know nothing about art. My education thus far dealt very minimally in art and art history. And I'm the worse for it. It's taken some maturity, international travel, and personal initiative to teach myself a little. That said, this book is a great book for beginners. I liked it because it allowed me the opportunity to see numerous schools, techniques, periods, artists in a way that was not overwhelming. Each piece is visually well-produced and c ...more
Ahmad
Aug 21, 2014 Ahmad rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: art
This pocket-sized book is the kind that you keep at your desk or bedside and pop into ever so often to get lost in a single iconic image. Each page has a single photo with some brief background.
Also, the BBC series, The Genius of Photography fills in the gaps of historical context which is certainly not the purpose of a book like this. A cute gift for anyone into photography.
Ashley
This book helped me as an art novice to get a feel for certain artists and styles. The pictures are of a very good quality and the book itself is a monster. It was fun flipping through this and getting snippets about various artists and genres. Each page has a reference to similar artists, giving one the opportunity to keep in theme if desired and learn about related artists.
Elmapo
The art book gives me a chance to look at the the thing I love making and creating
Spencer Tompkins
Was given this book by my sister when she was in high school, and when I got to college it was assigned as one of the reference books. Very helpful for brief histories of a wide variety of pieces. I'd definitely recommend it as a starting point for a research paper about art!
J.p. Jones
Great little book if you take it for what it is - something to dip into to stimulate ideas or discussion... or simply pages to flick through to look at interesting works of art. Not for the academics, but that's part of the appeal.
Nicky
An everyday book for Everyman. Quite nice for the coffee table or for the kids to flick through. It does what the title says so probably deserves 5 stars but it lacks sufficient depth or enquiry for my tastes..
Todd Pack
This is a nifty little book (or a nifty big book, if you have the hardcover edition). It only scratches the surface, but it covers a lot of ground. It's a wonderful book for browsing.
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