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30,000 Years of Art: The story of human creativity across time and space Hardcover – 9 Oct 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1064 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press (9 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714847895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714847894
  • Product Dimensions: 30.5 x 10.2 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

'1,000 beautiful plates … illustrate such a variety of objects that even the most erudite reader is bound to find something new.'
The Sunday Telegraph

'one for the cultured armchair traveller looking for inspiration for future journeys.'
The Times

'This enormous tome of encyclopedic proportions is an essential addition to any library.'
The Bookseller

'this is a book art-lovers and cultural anthropologists-scholars and laypeople alike-are guaranteed to cherish.'
Publishers Weekly


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is really beautifully produced book (which must surely be a requirement of a good art book!) which juxtaposes works of art from around the world. Rather than the thematic treatment that many other books give, this one looks at works of art from around the world chronologically (hence 30,000 years)- a rearrangement that is often surprising and delightful, occasionally jarring but always interesting! The inclusion of images from other cultures and the comparison with very well known works of art was a real eye opener- it really made me think about the relationship between the development of a culture and the art that it produces.

Furthermore the book is huge, with a great layout and and helpful index which probably makes it useful for those who want to learn a bit more about art as well as those who just want to appreciate the beautiful images.
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Format: Hardcover
30,000 Years of Art is a hard-to-beat collection of 1,000 works of art that will bring you in touch with hundreds of works that you've never seen before. It's like taking 50 trips to museums you've never visited before.

If you are used to seeing the art canon displayed in a certain way, this book will expand your horizons. I was amazed at how many prehistoric works are just as abstract and "modern" as works I see produced today. The repetition of themes (such as the ubiquitous pregnant female) across cultures was also fascinating.

One of the nice surprises was that small objects are illustrated to scale so you approximate the experience of seeing the object in a museum from one angle.

I was also pleased by the large page size that allows larger works to be represented in a way that made more detail available to see. The drawback to the book is that there are no foldouts which would have many many of the enormous screens and sculptures easier to see in detail.

I found the book to be most rewarding in showing me art from countries that I seldom see works from and for providing lots of prehistoric works.

From a religious point of view the book is pretty ecumenical in terms of the major religions (except those that frown on literally representing what's on Earth).

Don't think, however, that this book will replace buying other art books. Many obvious world favorites aren't in this book. I don't know if it was for reasons of economy (reproduction rights being costly for important works) or to expand our horizons. I mentally "looked" at those works where they fell in chronological order.

The photography and printing are excellent. Bravo!

The main drawback is that the book is very heavy. I found that I could most comfortably read it in a recliner with a pillow to help hold up the heavier side.

If you decide to give only one art book as a gift this year, this is the book to give!
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Format: Hardcover
...at the moment Amazon is selling this for less than £20 pounds, which has to make it one of the best deals in books at the moment. Even at full-price it's well worth it.

As the review above observes, it's a bit like having your own private wing of the British Museum or the National Gallery. Whilst there's not that much detail on the individual works (about as much as you might see in an exhibition catalogue) there's enough to whet your appetite and to find out more if you want.

But it's the variety that really sets this book apart. It's rare to find such a wide selection 'under one roof', and reading through one really does begin to get a feel for the chronological development of art as an adjunct to our daily lives over the past 30,000 years.

It is difficult to explain just how huge this book is - the dimensions and page count give you some idea, but perhaps the only disadvantage of it is that I spent so long engrossed in it I found its weight on my lap was sending my legs to sleep...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not so much a coffee table book as a coffee table, THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE.

And it's full of well written essays in pleasingly bite size form, accompanying excellent photographs and reproductions.

The format, considering art from a historical perspective, is fresh and fascinating, this book gives more of a sense of the history of humanity than almost any book on anthropology I have ever read, and it's beautiful.

Got it for my girlfriend for Christmas, can there be higher praise?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a stupendous book with hundreds of images of nearly all kinds of art throughout the ages. There are many omissions, especially of world renown works, but that is only to be expected as the book covers such a vast time period. It's sheer size makes it an obvious 'coffe table' book as even to have it on one's knee induces fatigue after a short while.

However, there is one incredible and extremely puzzling omission: there are no pure watercolour paintings in the whole book (a few acrylic but that is it). Not one pure watercolour! And for that reason I can only give it three stars. This is even more remarkable as Phaidon produce an excellent series of art books depicting various painters and a plethora of their works. In the unlikely chance that any editor of Phaidon who produced this enormous book reads this review - please help to clear my bemused mind and explain why you did not include even a single watercolour painting in a book covering 30,000 years?
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