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3.8 out of 5 stars9
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 28 January 2005
This book covers all the essential core syllabus that you need to cover for AQA A Level History of Art, and essentially it is a textbook for the course. As an A level textbook, it does it's job. It is written for 16-18 year old school kids in Britain who are taking art history and this book should not be considered for any further study or in-depth critique about art.
You will not be happy with this book if you are a university student, and if you want a more detailed study of Art History, buy "The Story of Art" by Gombrich, a text which every self-respecting art history student will own.
For a beginners introduction, this is quite good and comprehensive (in a very superficial way), and if you want to add to an interest in art history, even as a novice, this is rather light as a lot of it is rather obvious and self-explanatory.
A level students: Buy it today. Others: stay away.
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on 27 June 2010
Bought on the basis of previous reviews, but, oh dear; clearly erudite and comprehensive but the writing style is turgid and like swimming in treacle! Worth it for the insight to the discipline, but not a particularly enjoyable, flowing read.Perhaps I shouldn't have read Gombrich first.However, worth buying....
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on 3 January 2009
By contrast with all reviewers, I would argue Pointon's book about the discipline of art history can provide a stimulating reading for all, both specialists and non-specialists, high school pupils, university and students and academics.

Supportive arguments for this point are as follows:
- it is widely accessible by the way it goes into the most recurrent questions of art history with material everybody has already encountered at some point;
- it is not simplistic as it goes further than common sense and can be very specific in the way it tackles specific questions of methods or ideological stand within the disciplinary discourse;
- it is a good read for advanced practitioners as it could provide food for thought to anybody who has a reflexive approach to their art historical research.

On a practical side, this book has for itself to be very short, therefore quick to read through.
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on 3 November 2001
This is a book for those beginning to study History of Art, but it could have more clues to practices and methods. Anyway it can only be good for someone beginning from scratch and it focus mostly on UK.
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on 11 June 2012
The review saying this book is essential and core reading for A Level History of Art was written in 2005 and the course has changed since then. It may have been pertinent at the time but I cannot see how this book is essential for the course as it is now. Admittedly I have only read the first chapter, but it prescisely because having browsed through it I don't see it as a crucial text and why I have given up on it to read something that IS much more fitting with the syllabus ie. Mary Acton's 'Learning to Look at Paintings' corresponds very nicely with Unit 1. The book by Marcia Pointon appears to simply discuss what Art History is, and not much more. Students will need to consult a number of books as the course covers such a vast subject area. Please see 'A World History of Art' by Hugh Honour and John Fleming and E.H. Gombrich's `The Story of Art' for two textbooks which DO qualify as essential reading.

I am teaching myself for the A Level, so I have no teacher's guidance; instead I am using the guidelines on the exam board website (in my case, AQA) to establish what the examiners are looking for and I recommend any student turn to that resource rather than believing this book, fine as it may be in its own right, to discover what the examiners expect. The AQA website also has reading lists for each unit and, helpfully, past papers - I'm just glad that Mary Acton's surname begins with an A and was therefore the first book I tried... Incidentally, with any book over a couple of quid I always check what the book is like by viewing a library copy first anyway and would advise those who may be new to studying to do the same...be careful before making expensive purchases - make sure the book will cater to your requirements.

In conclusion therefore, the statement by a previous reviewer that this book is essential for A Level students is, in my view, misleading and incorrect.
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on 10 February 2012
Like most History Students, I tried to pick out a few of the most general books from my university reading list, rather than getting all of the books. However, this book wasn't on any of my course lists, but Amazon recommended it. I decided I had nothing to lose and bought it- have to say it has helped me immensely. I love the book- the author includes in the book a handy guide on how to assess a work of art and write about it- great guide!
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on 7 June 2009
A very personal transaction, which was greatly appreciated.
The book I have purchased has proved very useful for my upcoming University study in History of Art.
As I have never studied it prior to this purchase, it has proved a very good start to the subject, with some very interesting facts and arguments to get your teeth into!
Thoroughly pleased.
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on 28 August 2015
The book is in perfect condition.
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on 19 September 2013
this book was ok! It was actually the first book i had read in a very long time as i want to get back into reading! It is more for the undergraduate or alevel student though and not a general reading book! I dont particularly have a keen interest in the history of art anyway so found the book quite dull. There are many references to artists and paintings that ive never heard of and you are unlikely to ever find me scouring paintings in an art gallery. Good read however for those interested!
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