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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 1998
I was quite surprised, but I really like this book. I was having a lot of trouble writing an art history paper and this book really helped clarify my thoughts. The book asks pointed questions that helps you focus your thoughts. I would strongly recommend this book to someone writing an art history paper.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2005
This book is great for undergrads and postgrads who want to focus their writing more. It has great check lists and short descriptions of some of the concepts used in writing about art.
it has examples of essays and sentence construction.
It is very accessible and you can dip in and out easily.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 1999
As a student who studies art history, this book helped me (and still helps me from time to time) a lot. Great when you need a guiding light when writing. I really thank the author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2010
Art criticism can be a daunting subject. Many times I've gone to an exhibition or read an art book and felt bewildered by the seeming impenetrability of the language used by the critics and art historians. On the other end of the spectrum, I have come across texts that not only deepened my understanding of the artworks, but also made me appreciate things I would normally never cast a second glance at. A Short Guide to Writing About Art aims at those who wish to write the latter type of texts.

Written in a concise and clear language, this book is clearly aimed at art students, and is great for those, like me, who have some kind of background in art but who are just starting to write. The initial part of the book, which includes sections such as "Why Write about Art?" and "The Relevance of Context: The Effect of the Museum and the Picture Book", focuses on teaching the students to look at art and to organize their thoughts, ideas and opinions, and the best way of expressing them. The author makes a point of explaining that, if your audience doesn't understand (or misunderstands) what you wrote, most likely the problem is in your writing. He goes on to explain all the little things that one rarely thinks about or even notices, but which make all the difference when reading, and end up separating a great writer/critic from a mediocre one.

The guidelines presented are adapted to various situations, for example, exhibition catalogs, reviews and essays. The book covers everything from giving your own opinions and having a personal style, to the specifics of looking at the different art mediums. Towards the end, the author focuses more on the technical side of writing, including formats, language and research. It is, in short, a reference book and a how-to book combined into one. The points and guidelines presented can be applied to any kind of writing, not just art criticism.

The only complaint I have is that towards the end, the explanations about grammar, form and bibliography got very heavy and the book ends on that note, which is a shame because the rest is so clear and easy to read. Because of the density of information it took me longer than usual to read this book - two months as opposed to, say, a week (granted, those two months included a trip to Paris and another to Cuba, in which I did no reading, but still). Nevertheless, I recommend this to every art student, and to everyone who wants to learn about looking at and writing about art.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2009
A very useful book and probably features on most Art History reading lists.

But the price...? For a little paperback like that? Someone, somewhere, is laughing up their sleeve.

Try to pick it up second hand...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2011
This is a very useful guide to writing about art. It is quite detailed but written in plain english so it is very accessible.
This book will be a great asset to any student of art history in particular but is also very instructive about writing in general.
If you seek a book to help with writing a review of an exhibition, this is the very book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2014
It is very helpful when writing an essay; short and very simple to understand; the best about it are the examples presented.
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on 8 August 2009
In my opinion, essential reading for anyone proposing to take any kind of formal study of the history of art. It also contains many useful and enlightening summaries of art movements and theories.
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on 14 September 2009
Brilliant piece of kit.

If the tutor advises you need it, get it straight away and it will ease your trauma
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