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A World History of Art Paperback – 10 Aug 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 996 pages
  • Publisher: Laurence King; 7 edition (10 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856695840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856695848
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 6.2 x 29.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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.

Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Serghiou Const on 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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By K. Tomlin on 21 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover
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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Vivian90 on 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 By A.Ward on 27 Feb. 2014
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This is a large book (by no. of pages and entries) and wanted for someone close going to uni to study art history. I don't see the book as one for a dampy Sunday afternoon on the sofa with a pot of tea and have a light (or heavy) read, but more as a serious and often used reference source.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Becky Egerton on 17 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
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
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I recommend this book if you are studying Level two and level three courses in Art History with the Open University it is a fantastic read and supports your course materials that the OU provide. I brought this book to further my knowledge of art history I wish I had had this book at the time I was studying my degree.
Even if you are not doing a degree buy the book anyway it is a brilliant book and helps you develop a deeper understanding of art and art history.
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