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How Art Made the World
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How Art Made the World

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity’s artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the m ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 27th 2006 by Basic Books (first published April 28th 2005)
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4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  201 ratings  ·  10 reviews

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Milad Jahani
May 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
it was a good book
Roxann Keating
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed some sections of the book, but it seemed to include random sections. I was hoping for a more linear (i.e. timeline) look at art development. It read like a text book to me in many places, so I had trouble staying interested--much like my experience in college. Each section could have been it's own book. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if I had been able to watch the PBS show that it was based on.
Krystal Booth
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book and the videos are absolutely amazing! Nigel Spivey's writing is entertaining, and captivating as he tells the history of art through different needs of human communication. He divides the chapters by the following topics: The Human Artist (Intro), The Birth of Imagination, More Human than Human, Once Upon a Time, Second Nature, Art and Power, Seeing the Invisible, and In the Face of Death.
Stephen Coates
Being released concurrently with a BBC television mini-series, watching the first program, recounting the first discovery of pre-historic art in a cave in Spain, his explanation of why arrays of dots featured so prominently in such art as well as some ancient rock monoliths much larger than stonehenge, I was hooked and I really did enjoy that first chapter. However, the rest of the book was somewhat flat and, after the first chapter, a bit of a let down.
May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
While this book introduces some interesting topics, perhaps its better as an accompaniment to the documentary series that I've just discovered exists from reading the other Goodreads reviews.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
best book of my life learning new interesting things about the world that no one ever knew , and art everywhere around the world
Mat Davies
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I assisted a class that was learning about prehistory a few years ago and used the documentary that accompanied this book. I thought it was excellent. I have been meaning to read this book since. The art that accompanies the mythology and themes is simply, delightful, albeit also horrifying on occasion.

I could not 'get in' to the book as much as the documentary, though. The reason is simple. The TV series explored the relationship between prehistory and modern issues and in particular technolog
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
First of all, this is a beautiful book. It has a nice coffee table format, is filled with large pictures of artifacts, paintings and icons, and is bound with a hard cover. The pages are of a glossy paper (but not too glossy), the font is very comfortable to read and the chapters are well composed.

As for the contents, the author brings up some interesting topics and moves through time and spaces guided by art. It is a great journey, which is not in the least dull or uninformative, but I keep feel
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: art-delights
His analysis of the Riace Bronzes and their importance to the development of the human figure in art is peerless. I teach Polykleitos every year and when I used his video and a reading from this book it just dawned on my students with an immediacy that made my job easier to say the least. He is approachable and readable - again, his explanation for the exaggerations in art and their development in the human brain make the study of art have a framework that helps the rest of the history of art ma ...more
Nicole black
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i learned that what i thought of art history was thankfully incorrect
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