I read this book in its first edition many years ago but have recently bought the pocket edition to see how the text and illustrations have evolved since 1950.
It would be impertinent to comment on Gombrich's magisterial understanding of art and of painting in particular. This - and his many other works, written for different audiences and with different aims - attest to his world class expertise. Nonetheless, there will be criticisms. Other reviewers note the absence of women artists: Gombrich was of course [made] aware of this, but he refused to introduce new material in his text unless it said something new about artists in general (he however refers to books on women artists in his Note on Art Books, p. 964). Some reviewers comment on the absence (wrongly) or relative absence of analysis of non-European art; but Gombrich points out that, since his book tells a story and does not merely list artists down the ages, the almost complete absence of development in Egyptian and other oriental art (until the incursion of European influences on the latter) might justify his relatively cursory treatment of them. In contrast, Western European art underwent almost continuous development from the Middle Ages onwards (while, incidentally, developments in the arts of the Byzantine Empire and its successor were relatively infrequent).
There are a few philosophical points which could be made:
(a) one of Gombrich's recurring themes is the distinction between what the artist (or the spectator) sees and what he (or the spectator) knows. Since artists have often used faulty information about their subject-matter (Gombrich himself instances the depiction of horse races, pp.25-26, and the colour of shadows in the open, p.393), the distinction should be between believing and seeing or between presupposition and fresh perception;
(b) Gombrich speaks of art as if it invariably emerges from the artist's discovering a problem and finding an [original] solution to it; yes, surely there are artists who approach their work with this almost intellectual enquiry but - when one talks to artists - one quickly finds thet they are often less analytical than spectators like Gombrich seem to assume them to be;
(c) in general there is more to be said about the factors influencing artists, of which they are unaware; these factors would include psychological ones (e.g. unconscious ideas) but also physiological ones.
The pocket edition puts the illustrations into a separate section, for technical reasons. They are largely successful. But some of the double-page spreads don't work (e.g. in fig. 156 in my copy, God has vanished into the centre fold) and some of the illustrations are just too small (e.g. fig. 217) or curiously muddy (e.g. fig. 236). There is one curious lapse by the Master: fig.7 does not represent Christ on the Cross, as he says, but an earlier moment in the Passion; this muddle seems to have arisen because Christ's pose is based on an earlier crucifixion by Reni from which a detail could easily have been taken for the purposes of the comparison Gombrich wishes to make.