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1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (1001 Must See Before You Die) [Paperback]

Stephen Farthing
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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1001: Paintings You Must See Before You Die 1001: Paintings You Must See Before You Die 4.4 out of 5 stars (17)
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9 Nov 2006 1001 Must See Before You Die
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Every one of the 1001 paintings selected for this book by Professor of Fine Art and internationally acclaimed painter, Professor Stephen Farthing, is reproduced in colour. From Ancient Egyptian wall paintings to contemporary Western canvases, this book is truly comprehensive in scope and beautiful to look at. Within its pages are displayed 1001 of the most memorable, haunting, powerful, important, controversial and arresting paintings that have ever been created. Remarkably, more than 400 twentieth- and twenty-first-century paintings are reproduced in these pages, including newly discovered works from contemporary galleries. Entertaining and informative text written by an international team of artists, curators, art critics and art collectors illuminates both the paintings and the people who painted them. An insightful review accompanies a beautiful reproduction of every painting - an enviable art collection to dip into whenever you please. Organised chronologically, you will discover fascinating and surprising juxtapositions as well as pleasing similarities. Beautifully designed and presented, "1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die" is an essential visual guidebook to sensational paintings from around the world.

Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell Illustrated (9 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844035638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844035632
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 5.4 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


" will stir debate, but then that's what great art should
-- Maidenhead Advertiser

"A bible of masterpieces full of images and information." -- The Times

"This is one of the coolest new art books around...accessible to
-- Miami Herald

An excellent book for both art buff and novice -- The Tamworth Journal

a treasure trove of artistic endeavour --Maidenhead Advertiser

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic....a MUST have 25 Nov 2006
This is perhaps the best compilation book I've ever seen. Clearly the editor made a tremendous effort to include all of the expected greats we all know and love (Mona Lisa, Haystacks, etc), but also added a few lesser known works that make the book both entertaining and interesting for art lovers of all levels.

I have this book on my coffee table and everyone who comes in the room gravitate immediately toward it and flip through for a few minutes. A great gift, includes fantastic works and great (short!) descriptions. Couldn't recommend it more....
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great picture selection, let down by the text 13 Feb 2010
The best thing about this book is the selection of paintings. No-one is going to agree with all the selections (too much mediocre 19th century work for me) but they cover an impressively wide range of dates, styles and nationalities, and certainly introduced me to artists I was unfamiliar with.

My main criticism would be of the text. Although the book is by Stephen Farthing and Geoff Dyer, they contribute only the preface and the introduction; the comment on each painting is by one of around ninety other contributors. There is no indication of how the contributors were chosen but they range from a professor of art through a professor of gastroenterology to a semi-professional clarinettist and a web-designer. Nothing wrong with that, a wide range of viewpoints could be interesting, but one might have expected the editing process to have removed the more obvious errors.

In "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" by Carl Friedrich, the central figure is said to be looking out at a "frightening, raging sea"; the whole point of the picture is that he is standing on a mountaintop looking down on the world through banks of cloud. The labourers digging up the road in Ford-Madox-Brown's "Work" are described as "naval workers"; presumably the writer has been confused by the fact that 19th century labourers were sometimes called "navigators" or "navvies" because they worked on building the canal network. Other contributors show that they do not know the difference between a cross and a crucifix, or the distinction between a fresco and a mural. None of these things are overly important in themselves, but they do raise doubts about any unfamiliar fact one comes across in the text.

The book is well worth looking at for the interesting and wide-ranging selection of paintings (5 stars) but it could have been so much better with a bit more care put into the text (2 stars)
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Catalog for Finding What You Like 15 Sep 2007
The concept behind this book is an intriguing one: If you had seen most of the best paintings in the world, which 1001 would you recommend that others see if at all possible? My initial reaction was that there probably aren't 1001 paintings that I would recommend to everyone else.

With that perspective in mind, I first read through the book to identify which paintings would be on my list. I came up with 72. Almost all of those were on my mental list when I started reading the book. I was also missing about 100 of my favorites, but few of the artists were omitted. So if I had been new to paintings and became familiar with the 65 artists who did the 72 paintings, I would have eventually uncovered almost all of the other 100. That experience confirmed my impression that this book would be of most value to those who have seen relatively few great paintings and want to get a sense of what they like.

The images were quite well done for such small reproductions. Most paintings are represented on one page (a few are two to a page) with the minimum size being about one inch by two inches. But the printing was done well enough that you get a decent idea of the painting. I have seen more than 600 of these works in person and found that the reproductions often looked better than the originals: So don't be too disappointed when you see the real thing. Naturally, others look at lot better in person: You cannot capture the Sistine Chapel's paintings very well in a small image, for example.

The nice surprise for me was to find that the book contains works from private collections, several of which were new to me. This made me feel like I was visiting a blockbuster traveling show, especially when the works were by some of my favorite artists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent book 10 Aug 2009
By Blythe
1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die (1001 Must See Before You Die)

This is an excellent book. The summaries for each painting and artist are concise and interesting. Whilst I would not want some of the selected works hanging on my wall they are still thought provoking. The organisation of the book is good and I would recommend that you do not skip the preface.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This was a Christmas present for my wife -who is absolutely delighted with it; she comments:-
"A most comprehensive selection of 1001 paintings, with an illustration and helpful comments on each page with suggestions of what to look for in the painting."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1001 paintings to see before you die? 22 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read Geoff Dyers preface first. This makes you want to begin an odyssey to visit all the great galleries of the world and tick off the list. This is a great reference document which I will keep to hand for years to come.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read but not pratical for gallery visiting 12 April 2007
By Thayer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I agree with the previous viewer in that the informaiton within the book is great and covers a wide scope of painings and is an interesting book to dip in and out of.

However, whilst each picture does denote which gallery it is shown at, I would have like there to have been a summary/list of which pictures appear at which galleries provided somewhere, so that when I go to one I can make sure I cover all the important pictures, or make the most of a trip abroad by getting around the key galleries.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
What a great book. Some of the works are just jaw-dropping. The price was unbelievable, fantastic bargain. Superb condition. Many thanks
Published 4 months ago by Jennifer Juniper
4.0 out of 5 stars just look at the pictures not the text
read 1001 paintings to see before you die well actually 996 paintings! since this library copy had been hacked about and was missing pages and paintings mainly from the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by mark1000
5.0 out of 5 stars A lot of art for a little money...
I was pleasantly suprised by the quality of the prints selected for this book..The information supplied with each picture is informative without being too academic. Read more
Published on 17 April 2011 by munchkinsraves
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good book
I have been looking to purchase this book for some time but have found the cost to be prohibitive, purhasing this book on Amazon made it affordable & I would say I have definitely... Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2010 by P. Surridge
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to pictorial art which could do with some...
Chosen by a number of art critics, curators, artists and art collectors, the 1001 paintings span a time period from prehistory to the present day; the chronological bias is not... Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2009 by E. L. Wisty
3.0 out of 5 stars An eclectic painting collection, predominantly Western
There is a glaring contradiction between the audacious, absolute and ultimately untenable claim of the book title and the flexible, nuanced, insightful and convincing texts of both... Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2008 by Serghiou Const
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