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The Story Of Painting
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The Story Of Painting

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,515 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
For those who've enjoyed the original, the good news is that the new edition of The Story of Painting has grown by more than 300 pages of photographs--magnified close-ups of details from nearly half the 450 paintings in the book. Fauvist paint strokes become mighty slabs; sparkling light on a Dutch still life is revealed as a series of tiny dots; the cheeks of a young man ...more
Published (first published March 15th 1994)
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Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book hit me before the television portion did...literally. I was at a gallery showing of photos from the brother of the film industry's biggest star in the 1990s, and as usual I was lost, not being the most adept at art or photography. When I wandered into a conversation about paintings and admitted my confusion between Manet and Monet and Millet and Magritte (I am 'M' challenged), an enthusiastic estate agent ran to her car and came flying back with this heavy weapon, which she then tossed ...more
I love art. I love nuns. I love Sister Wendy. What a fabulous, humble, knowledgable, woman. If you have never seen one of her shows from a PBS series, you must youtube one immediately. I have shown her videos to students, and at first they laugh at her, but then this transformation takes over, and they really listen and enjoy her.
Logophile (Heather)
I love this book. The internet is awesome for info but I love having Sister Wendy's inimitable introductions and explanations.
Dec 04, 2009 marked it as i-won-t-be-reading  ·  review of another edition
I know I'm in the minority, but I can't stand silly Sister Wendy and her breathless gushing. The TV program did her in as far as I'm concerned. Not for me.

End of growl.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-read
Sister Wendy's intuition about the insights of art are mind-bending...I love her series and I agree with her insights. She made me see art different as a story indeed of painting. I now know why the Mona Lisa is the most famous painting in the world. Sister Wendy taught me that. It's woman's joke on man and the gender gap. Man tries to paint woman to understand her, capture her, control her, whilst all the time, that's impossible. She smiles because the very idea is ridiculous to attemp ...more
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'The Story of Painting'. Who doesn't adore Sister Wendy Beckett? Passionate, insightful, articulate, she is a masterful writer and educator. Although perhaps ostensibly written for the neophyte, serious students of art would be mistaken by not giving proper accolades to the "The Story of Painting". I did find one very minute error on a very peripheral subject. The famous Mertin Behaim globe of 1492 is described as 'the first terrestrial globe' when in fact it is not the first, but the oldest in ...more
Even the librarians (who know my penchant for thick books by now) gave me double takes when I checked this out. It's one of the biggest books i've ever seen! It was fascinating, though - I actually really enjoyed it, despite that I've never actually read an art history book before or since; this was a fairly random experience - and learned a lot just flipping through and reading pages at random during the three weeks I had it out. (And - to ice the cake - I actually knew the Jeopardy question ab ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a wonderful book this is. Wonderful. And what was most wonderful about it is that it's written by the wonderful Sister Wendy Beckett, whose attitude for virtually every painter is, "oh, now THIS painter, oh, he is WONDERFUL!!"

And since I'm in that frame of mind as of late about painting, I greatly appreciated her extraordinary positive and irony-free account of these wonderful artists. I read all 700 plus pages of it, which is to say I read about fifty pages. The rest are filled with w
Jul 11, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-illustration
The illustrations on this book weren't the best. Lot's of the detail pictures look like they were accidentally over-sized during the copy process. I think I bought it because it was wrapped in plastic. Had I examined it before-hand, I wouldn't have purchased it.
Good for reading once, but too big to tote around. It's a coffee table book.
Holly Lindquist
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coffee-table, art
Fantastic, in-depth overviews of famous paintings by our favorite lisping nun. I also really like the illustrations and lay-out. The publisher, Dorling-Kindersley, can usually be relied upon to produce quality work, especially when it has a strong visual element. Any of their art-related books are worth picking up.
Meredith Henning
Great resource for all ages of art appreciation and art history.
Robespierre Cat
This was a gift, I really enjoyed. I suppose it's just 3 stars because.....I've read so much art history.
Sally Hegedus
A quite enjoyable trip through the major styles and artists in the story of painting, from the famous cave drawings in France and elsewhere to modern times. What fun to read the style explanations and comments, and to pore over the many, many paintings shown in this super-thick and lovely book. I loved the enlarged images of portions of certain paintings, which allowed me to really get up close to examine the brush strokes and details -- particularly for the modern art section. I had lots of fun ...more
Nov 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
I enjoyed this book not only for the comprehensive history of painting it provides, but also for the illustrations, many of which were two-page spread closeups of a small section of a big painting, which gives a better view of style, technique and detail than an ordinary art book provides. Sister Wendy has a clear appreciation of art and her enthusiasm extends to all styles and epochs of painting. The only complaint I have about this book is that she occasionally lapses into a sort of wine-conno ...more
Mark Reed
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so I didn't so much as read this as I heavily browsed it. :) But this book is perfect for that. It's well organized and presents the history of painting chronologically so it's easy to skip around and read about different eras or types of art that catch your fancy. It's got lots and lots of illustrations so you can see what the work being discussed looks like. It also includes many insets and close ups of many masterpieces. She includes background and history of the artists and does a reason ...more
Comprehensive book with great pictures and interesting asides, anecdotes and analysis. I only gave the book 3 stars because Beckett engages in too much psychological analysis of the artists. She often speculates on what they were trying to express in their works as if she were standing there with them as they painted, or living inside their mind even.

She also lays on the lofty adjectives and hyperbole as she gushes a bit too much throughout. It was distracting to me after reading the more measur
Terence Manleigh
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sister Wendy is a ravishing art critic -- she mediates upon a painting like..well..a cloistered nun mediating upon an icon, and her insights are often startling, always full of compassion and ardent love of the subject, and unforgettable. Don't miss the BBC series, of which this is the companion book.
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sister Wendy's PBS series of same name and this book transformed art from rarefied to relatable. The story that each artwork tells was, and still is, captivating. From that time on, I had a hunger for more. Decades later she would be my inspiration to become a museum docent.
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The edition I read did not have this subtitle, so it must be a series. The Story of Painting, 1994 has a van Gogh on the lower left and the crucifixon on the upper right. In her wonderful style, she highlights details that make the painting come alive for the viewer.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a love of art so this suits me well.
Karina Al-mohsin
Even the kids enjoying looking through it
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ap-euro
Great for an overview and explanations for the "art challenged"
Sophia Sky
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
Easy to pick up and put down at will. I am enjoying how much I am learning about technique and style without having to slog though a technical manual.
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great read!
Michale verrvvsvrfwrfwfrferfvefvergerge
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The pictures in my edition don't show enough detail to support the text, and Sister Wendy generally presents a lot of her interpretation as the interpretation. Not what I was looking for.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great reference to keep going back to, for both art lovers and scholars.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, art
Prettig leesbaar overzicht. Zie ook de youtube-filmpjes van sister Wendy. De bladzijden waarop een bepaaald schilderij in detail besproken wordt zijn mijn favorieten.
Carolina Zb
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it!
400 paintings
some with detailed explanation
wonderful introduction for mainpainters
really allows uou to love art
Safwan Ashraf
rated it liked it
Feb 01, 2015
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Sister Wendy Beckett is a South African-born British art expert, consecrated virgin and contemplative hermit who became an unlikely celebrity during the 1990s, presenting a series of acclaimed art history documentaries for the BBC.
More about Wendy Beckett...
“Eccentric and secret genius that he was, Bosch not only moved the heart, but scandalized it into full awareness. The sinister and monstrous things that he brought forth are the hidden creatures of our inward self-love: he externalizes the ugliness within, and so his misshapen demons have an effect beyond curiosity. We feel a hateful kinship with them. The Ship of Fools is not about other people. It is about us.” 5 likes
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