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A World History of Art [Paperback]

Hugh Honour , John Fleming
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2005
Over two decades, this art historical tour de force has consistently proved the classic introduction to humanity's artistic heritage. From our paleolithic past to our digitised present, every continent and culture is covered in an articulate and well-balanced discussion. In this seventh edition, the text has been revised to embrace developments in archaeology and art historical research, while the renowned contemporary art historian Michael Archer has greatly expanded the discussion of the past twenty years, providing a new perspective on the latest developments. The insight, elegance and fluency that the authors bring to their text are complemented by 1458 superb illustrations, half of which are now in colour. These images, together with the numerous maps and architectural plans, have been chosen to represent the most significant chronological, regional and individual styles of artistic expression.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 996 pages
  • Publisher: Laurence King; 7 edition (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856694518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856694513
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,725 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Over two decades, this art historical tour de force has consistently proved the classic introduction to humanity's artistic heritage. -- Good Book Guide

The most desirable art book of the year -- The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Over two decades, this art historical tour de force has consistently proved the classic introduction to humanity's artistic heritage. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The history of the manual techniques that have enabled the human race to dominate its environment began in east-central Africa more than two million years ago, when pebbles were first made into rudimentary tools by breaking off part of the surface to form a working edge. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book sets standards of excellence 7 Dec 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book in its breadth, scope, treatment, scholarship, illustration and literary merit truly sets standards of excellence. In particular the breadth and scope of a single volume treatise albeit of large format and nearly one thousand pages length is nothing less than impressive. The first review of the book written in 2000 is as pertinent to-day as it was then but with the qualification that the flaw identified then namely the inadequate treatment of 20th century art has in this seventh edition been ably remedied by the eminent contemporary art historian Michael Archer.

The book traces the evolution in the visual arts including architecture from the paleolithic era to the beginning of the 21st century and covers every continent and culture. With over 1400 illustrations, half of them in full colour and an array of maps, diagrams, time charts, an outstanding glossary, an excellent list of suggested further book reading and index comprises a complete and comprehensive text. An interesting feature in the book are the boxes which in this edition have been expanded to include additional areas apart from 'Sources and Documents' and 'In Context' which, however, correctly prevail.

The wide array of considerations in the book treatment of such complex issue as art can best be appreciated by citing two excerpts from the introduction which relate to our perception of art and its place in the scheme of human affairs and the human condition:

'The essential unity of aesthetic, moral and natural experience can be felt in them (works of art) in varying degrees, and they sharpen our awarness of how richly it falls on the receptive consciousness.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A broad insight into the History of Art 21 Dec 2009
The first thing I noticed about this book was the weight. Think a heavy tome- not a book to read on the bus! As an aside, I would advise spending the little extra and getting the hardback because thus you can open the pages without worrying about damaging the spine. But I digress.

The book spans Art from early man to the present day, thus giving a broad overview of the trends and main occurrences. The text, while I have just flicked through it, is lucid and doesn't expect the reader to know everything, so it is a good introduction to the History of Art. Nevertheless, as some reviewers have noted, this can be a downfall in itself- it cannot go into as much detail as specific books can. It depends on what you want; as a reference book it is fantastic, with stunning illustrations. You can spend ages dipping into it, just looking at the photos and diagrams.

Particularly interesting, were the 'In Context', 'Sources and Documents' and 'Concept' boxes. These succinctly flesh out the reader's understanding of a particular period e.g. when talking about art in the Americas, there is a page on the Religion and Society in Ancient Peru. Often the context of a piece gives a better insight into it, so the book does score on that. The sources and documents range from Vitruvius's writings on Roman painting to Veronese's Interrogation by the Inquisition and thus give the reader a flavour of what contempory people wrote or did; while the Concept boxes help to explain key terms and ideas, such as 'Art for Art's Sake' and 'Modernism and Formalism.' I also liked that the book went right up to the present day (the edition I have was revised in 2009) so has current ideas and concepts in art; it is well worth getting the most recent edition as they do update the text.

Overall, it is a broad yet lucid insight into the global History of Art and it will take a long time to devour it, but it is well-worth it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A World History of Art- Review 13 Nov 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a first year History of Art student and this book was a part of our reading list. I can't say it's the best book you can find on History of Art as far as my experience shows. The book is incredebly vague because it's trying to cover... well, the history of art. It does so well, considering the fact it has no space to go in too much detail. As a general book that gives a first impression on artists and their major work, I'd say it's worth it. But if you already know the basics and you're looking for a more indepth material, this is definitely not the book for you. It's good to keep in mind the purpose of this book and whether it answers what you need. I'd personally compare it to a book version of a sort of Wikipidea for art. Whenever you need quick and yet reliable information, and you would rather not search through the internet, this book offers that info. A bonus of course are the amazing illustration. The quality of the images is really good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to art. 23 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent overview of World art from the ancient to the modern. Just what I needed, (and all in one volume) for my introductory history of art course. Very readable, both for 'dipping into' and for more detailed reading. Excellent illustrations, and my tutor says the colours are better than in many more expensive books.
The only problem is that it is very heavy, and has obviously become bigger with every new edition. Soon it will need to be in two volumes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 7 Oct 2009
A thorough and well-written exposition of all kinds of art, starting from its foundations in the pre historic Europe and Asia.The book is highly recommended for art lovers or art students. Great work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A world history of art
I selected this book because it is a recommended title for an Art History and Theory paper I am currently sudying. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Barbara Brodien
5.0 out of 5 stars A student's bible?
This is a large book (by no. of pages and entries) and wanted for someone close going to uni to study art history. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A.Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
Everything you need to know about art history. Recommend to anyone looking for a good history of art book! It's huge but very helpful
Published 8 months ago by Becky Egerton
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
An excellent book for dipping into during leisure moments. It also helped enormously whilst studying History of Art for A-level
Published 9 months ago by Taekwon
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy!
I'm so happy about the content of this book, it's huge! It features places from all around the world, and although it does stick to the canon of art history, it does feature some... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ellie Tucker
5.0 out of 5 stars A World of History of Art
Well written, comprehensive across various disciplines and beautifully illustrated. Excellent reference book for anyone interested in History of Art. Perfect.
Published 10 months ago by Linda Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and interesting
its a good book, good source of info. It will be useful in art research and as an interesting read.
Published 12 months ago by nat
5.0 out of 5 stars Good delivery, good introductory book
A very good general read for college students. i am pleased to have acquired it, although it's a weightier tome than I had expected.
Published 15 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - a work of art
It is a very complete history of art . Well written. , a very fine taste, with beautiful illustrations. A must in its gender.
Published 15 months ago by Manoel Motta
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Was looking for a book to help with university and stumbled upon this. Its full of art in great detail it's a real help. Read more
Published 16 months ago by rlong12
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