Rick's Reviews > The Story of Art: Pocket Edition

The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich
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's review
Jul 30, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in July, 2011

The Story of Art is a handy little survey of art history, primarily but not exclusively western art, from cave paintings and primitive sculptures to modern architecture and pop art. It is 500 pages of text and that many pages of well synchronized color plates in a smart pocket edition by Phaidon. Twenty-eight chapters, mostly quite brief, but each a skillful, thoughtful rippling of the surface, with hints of depth and well-defined currents moving quickly and sure footedly through the eras and advances and changing perspectives on art and the role of the artist. Gombrich is more than knowledgeable and yet manages to condense without condescending or reducing his narrative to trivial choices. He brings the freshness that comes with the enthusiasm of discovery. Of course, what he is sharing is not new to him, but sharing the works and his insights with the reader is new and exciting to him, and the enthusiasm is infectious. The intended audience is younger readers than myself, high school and college age readers or adults new to art history. But I found the book not just enjoyable but helpful and insightful. Gombrich’s prose is clear and crisp, and often charming. Traveling through this great span of time with him is like taking a walk through all the great museums of the world with an elegantly minded expert at your elbow.
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