As close to definitive as one book can be,
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This review is from: Art: The Definitive Visual Guide (Hardcover)
The title of this book is hugely ambitious but for a one (enormous) book guide to art this comes very close, some ancient cultures and art movements only get a double page spread but this covers thousands of years of art and design with well chosen examples throughout so it doesn't feel like anything is missed. This isn't as theoretical as I thought it was going to be and only the basics of composition, technique and colour theory are covered, it is however a very good guide to pretty much all art history and it's chronological layout brilliantly shows how cultures and movements fed off of each other to form the next trend in art.