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message 1: by Devorah (new)

Devorah (chilazon) | 2 comments Hi! I'm new here - I thought it would be cool to try reader's advisory out.
I'd like to learn more about art history, but I've never really read any books on the subject, so something for new readers on this subject would be good. I'm looking for a nonfiction book exploring art history. I really love impressionists like Monet and Van Gogh, so something about impressionism would be great. Really I'm open to learning about any art period though, as long as the book is interesting. I'd like it if the book doesn't just look at art, but also the lives of the artists, historical events that influenced them, etc. Also, it would be great if there are lots of pretty art pictures. Thanks!


message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenfrances) Hi! I'd recommend 'The Art of the Northern Renaissance' by Craig Harbison. It's a fantastic introduction to a truly fascinating period in the history of Northern European art. Also, look out for books within the series 'Oxford History


message 3: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenfrances) Oops, something happened mid-flow. Was just saying to look out for two series of art books... Anything within the 'Oxford History of Art' and also 'Art & Ideas' series by publisher Phaidon. They don't expect prior knowledge and the books (including the Harbison volume I mentioned) do well to give a full overview of the political ramifications of the time, the economic minefields of guilds and trade restrictions, and the social positioning of different areas that allowed art to flourish. In short, they are brilliant and you can't go wrong!


message 4: by Susan (new)


message 5: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten McKenzie (kirstenmckenzieauthor) | 11 comments Chilazon wrote: "Hi! I'm new here - I thought it would be cool to try reader's advisory out.
I'd like to learn more about art history, but I've never really read any books on the subject, so something for new reade..."


It's not necessarily about art history per se, but it does talk about the life of a number of pieces of art after the 1966 flood of Florence. An incredibly fascinating book - Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in Florence--The City of Masterpieces


message 6: by Devorah (new)

Devorah (chilazon) | 2 comments Thanks everyone! I'll put them all on my list.


message 7: by Mir (new)

Mir | 189 comments If you want a really general intro, try a text book like Arts and Ideas. These have plenty of pictures and explain in layperson's terms what the historical context and important developments were. And the older editions are usually very cheap.


message 8: by Beige (new)

Beige If you want to read a book that is a bit more narrative than a text book, I recommend The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism

It focusses on 2 artists at the opposite end of the art spectrum. One who was a superstar of his day and one who was ridiculed by the establishment (aka salon). You can guess which one is still admired today ;)

I studied the basics of this period in school, but this book gave a much more intimate understanding and appreciation for how just how radical impressionism was at the time.


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