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The Art Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

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Embark on a grand tour of art history with this guide to the story of art, and the big ideas and themes behind the world's most important artistic movements, artworks, and artists. The Art Book explores the more than 80 of the world's most groundbreaking artworks by history's most influential painters, sculptors, and artists with stunning visuals and insightful quotations. Embark on a grand tour of art history with this guide to the story of art, and the big ideas and themes behind the world's most important artistic movements, artworks, and artists. The Art Book explores the more than 80 of the world's most groundbreaking artworks by history's most influential painters, sculptors, and artists with stunning visuals and insightful quotations. Discover key artworks and artists from across the globe, stretching from the prehistoric Altamira cave paintings and Chinese jade carvings to more impressionism, symbolism, cubism, and pop art. Understand the ideas that inspired masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Klimt, Matisse, Picasso, and dozens more, with The Art Book's fascinating overview of painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, conceptual art, and performance art, from ancient history to the modern day.


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Embark on a grand tour of art history with this guide to the story of art, and the big ideas and themes behind the world's most important artistic movements, artworks, and artists. The Art Book explores the more than 80 of the world's most groundbreaking artworks by history's most influential painters, sculptors, and artists with stunning visuals and insightful quotations. Embark on a grand tour of art history with this guide to the story of art, and the big ideas and themes behind the world's most important artistic movements, artworks, and artists. The Art Book explores the more than 80 of the world's most groundbreaking artworks by history's most influential painters, sculptors, and artists with stunning visuals and insightful quotations. Discover key artworks and artists from across the globe, stretching from the prehistoric Altamira cave paintings and Chinese jade carvings to more impressionism, symbolism, cubism, and pop art. Understand the ideas that inspired masterpieces by Botticelli, Rembrandt, Klimt, Matisse, Picasso, and dozens more, with The Art Book's fascinating overview of painting, drawing, printing, sculpture, conceptual art, and performance art, from ancient history to the modern day.

30 review for The Art Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    True to the idea of the entire series "Big ideas simply explained", The Art Book has a modern, informative layout which appeals to a new generation of learners. Timelines, biographies, references, illustrations, explanations of context and iconography - for people who have no previous knowledge of art history, this volume delivers a clear and interesting overview of art from the beginnings in cave painting to the performance art of recent times. For regular museum visitors, it offers an overview True to the idea of the entire series "Big ideas simply explained", The Art Book has a modern, informative layout which appeals to a new generation of learners. Timelines, biographies, references, illustrations, explanations of context and iconography - for people who have no previous knowledge of art history, this volume delivers a clear and interesting overview of art from the beginnings in cave painting to the performance art of recent times. For regular museum visitors, it offers an overview of art in various contexts and functions, adding a portfolio of the most important masterpieces of each period. For students who are unfamiliar with composition, design and colour distribution in a painting and sculpture, the colour-coded and labelled analysis of individual artworks is immensely helpful - highlighting the artist's emphasis on certain colours and lines to give the piece a specific meaning. Highly recommended for use in art history classes or for reference in any household with a general interest in art!

  2. 5 out of 5

    nic (つ . •́ _ʖ •̀ .)つ

    I was eager to read this because of my interest in art history, and its seemingly lively style of presenting information. Indeed, if you're looking for something along the lines of "fun facts about art", this would cut it - it's educational and simple enough to read due to its infographic-style layout, illustrations and explanations. However, for someone who wants a clear and concise understanding of art, the information presented here is simply too messy and disjointed. It was organised chronol I was eager to read this because of my interest in art history, and its seemingly lively style of presenting information. Indeed, if you're looking for something along the lines of "fun facts about art", this would cut it - it's educational and simple enough to read due to its infographic-style layout, illustrations and explanations. However, for someone who wants a clear and concise understanding of art, the information presented here is simply too messy and disjointed. It was organised chronologically, but instead of giving a comprehensive overview of the characteristics of the different art movements, it offered snippets and analyses of specific artworks. Consequently, I felt that some things were not covered in-depth or sufficiently placed in context. I'll continue my hunt for a good art history book; until then, I unfortunately wouldn't recommend this. 🌹 date finished: 10 jan 2019 🌹

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mr Shahabi

    man I love DK

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Doesn’t work as well as others in the series. Felt forced into the format.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tanvi

    This is the only book I've read in the last couple of months. I've been in a horrible reading slump lately but somehow, I felt oddly motivated to get through this book cover to cover. So much info (sometimes detailed, sometimes brief) alongwith beautiful pictures of paintings and sculptures and other works of art is contained within the 350+ pages of this book. I had minimal knowledge of art history or famous artists or their works before I read this, so for me, it was a great introduction to suc This is the only book I've read in the last couple of months. I've been in a horrible reading slump lately but somehow, I felt oddly motivated to get through this book cover to cover. So much info (sometimes detailed, sometimes brief) alongwith beautiful pictures of paintings and sculptures and other works of art is contained within the 350+ pages of this book. I had minimal knowledge of art history or famous artists or their works before I read this, so for me, it was a great introduction to such a vast topic - also, fun - and I really enjoyed it! I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning a bit about the various movements and artists and their works through the ages.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Grover

    This book is absolutely outstanding. The chronology is great, and there is a balance of depth and breadth here. The "portfolio" at the end of each era is great in summarizing the main art of that period. A wonderful recommendation for any serious art student or art fanatic. However. I was hoping this would replace some of my yucky art history books in my middle school library, but I found some of the vocabulary difficult for my audience, and although authentic, too much nudity for my clientele. This book is absolutely outstanding. The chronology is great, and there is a balance of depth and breadth here. The "portfolio" at the end of each era is great in summarizing the main art of that period. A wonderful recommendation for any serious art student or art fanatic. However. I was hoping this would replace some of my yucky art history books in my middle school library, but I found some of the vocabulary difficult for my audience, and although authentic, too much nudity for my clientele. A high school purchase, for sure! ...Just not for my middle schoolers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    I would have given it a 5...but it did not mention my favorite artist: William Adolphe Bouguereau, that is. He is not some obscure or lesser-known niche artist. He is a very famous and prolific painter. Otherwise, my only other criticism is that I wish it had featured more works by women artists.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen McRae

    I did enjoy the art history but found it to be disorganized even though it was classified into timeframes and women as artists were notably absent from this collection although the art as portrayed spoke of a dismal history of female worth

  9. 5 out of 5

    R Nair

    For someone with no background in the arts this book was a surprisingly good summary of art and how it has evolved right from the pre-historic to the modern age. Along the way of learning about the various ways art and artists influenced society and was/were influenced in return, it also is a brief history of the western world from the perspective of art. One is introduced to prehistoric art and truly made to appreciate the beauty and skills of the artists from 30,000 B.C. onwards, Egyptian art For someone with no background in the arts this book was a surprisingly good summary of art and how it has evolved right from the pre-historic to the modern age. Along the way of learning about the various ways art and artists influenced society and was/were influenced in return, it also is a brief history of the western world from the perspective of art. One is introduced to prehistoric art and truly made to appreciate the beauty and skills of the artists from 30,000 B.C. onwards, Egyptian art and architecture is also touched upon, the Greek classical era and the golden age of Greek art and how that lead to the Hellenistic era; how the middle ages came about and how that affected the artistic and scientific world-view until things changed during the renaissance and on to the forms of art in the modern era. A well written book that makes good use of photographs and acts as a great reference manual.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is the third book I have read of this series, Big Ideas Simply Explained, and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants a good overview of any particular subject (they have a lot of titles, the ones I have read besides this one are The Philosophy Book and The History Book). I like them because I did not pay much attention to academics in high school, and did not attend a four-year college after high school, so I missed out on learning a lot of general knowledge when I was younger. These b This is the third book I have read of this series, Big Ideas Simply Explained, and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants a good overview of any particular subject (they have a lot of titles, the ones I have read besides this one are The Philosophy Book and The History Book). I like them because I did not pay much attention to academics in high school, and did not attend a four-year college after high school, so I missed out on learning a lot of general knowledge when I was younger. These books are a great way for me to learn or add to what I've learned without having to delve too deeply, although they have led me to read more extensively on certain topics or people that interest me as I go through them. I know I give a lot of 4 star ratings, but in my opinion, if the experience of reading a book gives me joy and education and keeps me interested, it deserves it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    The Book series by DK are all beautifully presented and laid out. However due to the way each two or four pages has a different focus, what you get is a series of tidbits rather than something more substantial. This can leave the reader feeling like certain things have not been covered well enough, or contextualised enough. The information is too disjointed for this to be a history of art (although it does cover early to modern art in broad strokes), but the reproductions of the paintings are als The Book series by DK are all beautifully presented and laid out. However due to the way each two or four pages has a different focus, what you get is a series of tidbits rather than something more substantial. This can leave the reader feeling like certain things have not been covered well enough, or contextualised enough. The information is too disjointed for this to be a history of art (although it does cover early to modern art in broad strokes), but the reproductions of the paintings are also too small, sparse, and often not discussed enough for this to be a book to whet your appetite for a lot of different artists (especially since it generally focuses on one artist per movement).

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, both when it was talking about artists and works that I was familiar with and also the ones unknown to me. Trying to cover the entire history of art, complete with photos of some artworks, in only 341 pages, is a stupendous undertaking. While not in great depth, it covers a lot in enough detail to get some idea of the time periods, artists, and artworks. A good introduction and a supplement to any art history course. Organized chronologically, its chapters are: Pre I thoroughly enjoyed this book, both when it was talking about artists and works that I was familiar with and also the ones unknown to me. Trying to cover the entire history of art, complete with photos of some artworks, in only 341 pages, is a stupendous undertaking. While not in great depth, it covers a lot in enough detail to get some idea of the time periods, artists, and artworks. A good introduction and a supplement to any art history course. Organized chronologically, its chapters are: Prehistoric and ancient art; The medieval world; Renaissance and Mannerism; Baroque to Neoclassicism; Romanticism to Symbolism; The modern age.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    A history of Art (mostly painters) from waaaay back. It did explain quite a few of the terms that are used, and that I still don't understand and will never remember. But it is interesting to see how art has changed across time. The book focuses on a set of artist of the same style, and mostly in the same time frame., chooses one artist and one particular painting, and explains it, mostly. The best part is that this book does not attempt to use big, nonsensical words to describe these works, but A history of Art (mostly painters) from waaaay back. It did explain quite a few of the terms that are used, and that I still don't understand and will never remember. But it is interesting to see how art has changed across time. The book focuses on a set of artist of the same style, and mostly in the same time frame., chooses one artist and one particular painting, and explains it, mostly. The best part is that this book does not attempt to use big, nonsensical words to describe these works, but attempts to set the painting, or sculpture in its own place and time. Informative, mostly interesting.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Viktor

    A great book for somebody starting to learn about art. While this is not a course in art history, it does cover a lot of the important artists, styles and artworks. I really liked the fact, that book provides information about an author's biography and explanations how and why styles emerged. It would be nice if more paintings were analysed, but considering the book format, I am not sure this is possible. A great book for somebody starting to learn about art. While this is not a course in art history, it does cover a lot of the important artists, styles and artworks. I really liked the fact, that book provides information about an author's biography and explanations how and why styles emerged. It would be nice if more paintings were analysed, but considering the book format, I am not sure this is possible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joanne M. Urriza

    Very interesting book. The format is pretty good if you have adhd. Heh. I get bothered by the lack of captions in photos though. Most of the time, you have no idea what piece you're looking at unless you already know what it is (which defeats the purpose of reading). Just that one change would help a lot. Very interesting book. The format is pretty good if you have adhd. Heh. I get bothered by the lack of captions in photos though. Most of the time, you have no idea what piece you're looking at unless you already know what it is (which defeats the purpose of reading). Just that one change would help a lot.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michidmaa Bayar

    Throughout history, art has taken many forms and offers a multicolored variety of expression. With this book as your companion, you can browse the world’s most important artworks, from prehistoric to pop art, avant-garde, video art and installation. If you are at the start of your art teaching career, this book would be a good start to your art library. I would highly recommend this book 👍🏻

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shilpa

    Rebecca West's iconic quotation speaks to her belief of art transforming our human existence into something that is meaningful. In our lives we are inundated with materialism and simply surviving ("being"). But art gives us more, and coming to appreciate, and love art in its many forms need not be the purvey of an elite few. It can be learnt, but learning need not give flashbacks to arcane dryness of academia. No, for the rest of us -- the silent majority who wish to cut through the obscure jar Rebecca West's iconic quotation speaks to her belief of art transforming our human existence into something that is meaningful. In our lives we are inundated with materialism and simply surviving ("being"). But art gives us more, and coming to appreciate, and love art in its many forms need not be the purvey of an elite few. It can be learnt, but learning need not give flashbacks to arcane dryness of academia. No, for the rest of us -- the silent majority who wish to cut through the obscure jargon of art history and the inaccessibility of theory -- there is "The Art Book -- Big Ideas Simply Explained". Full Review: http://sukasareads.blogspot.com/2017/...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is a nice summary of styles and artists. Like most of the books in this series, this is a nice overview for anyone that would like to learn more about the world of art. It is a good starting point.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julie Anne

    I loved this - covers in brief major timelines, art movement, well know and some lesser known author. It does exactly what it is suppose to do - explain as much as possible in a little possible space. If you get through this book, you will have a good grasp of the subject.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    It was very interesting, but I don't think I will remember what I read. It is a good quick reference guide. It was very interesting, but I don't think I will remember what I read. It is a good quick reference guide.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tino

    This book is the summary of art history. I would only recommend this to lovers of art.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Fiero

    I learned a lot! Interesting format.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christine Sopko

    Okay for a skim and brush up but history repeats itself and it wasnt a hidden gem for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katalin

    This is just a really great series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    A.J. Richard

    Interesting overview. It piqued my interest to find out more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lia

    This book had a good combination of all types of art and I liked the in-depth explanations behind certain pieces.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jorvon Carter

    Despite being a coffee table book, this book is a good introduction to art history. It has a lot of illustrations. And it makes an effort to discuss non-Western art.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jordan B Cooper

    A wonderful overview.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Scobie

    Decent, overall look at the history of mainstream, World art. Focuses too much on a few artists, styles and trends though, but covers most of the important works and society changes.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi Beane-Henry

    What can I say about this book? It's fantastic! It's amazing! It's interesting! It's knowledgeable! And it's fun! I couldn't put it down until I had devoured every single page! It runs the gamut of the art world. From the pyramids to the modern age! The how's, the why's, and the gee whizzes! This would make a great gift for anyone! A wonderful coffee table book! Perfect for any art lover. My only flaw is that my copy arrived with the spine broken! I'm so in love with it, however, that I'm going to take What can I say about this book? It's fantastic! It's amazing! It's interesting! It's knowledgeable! And it's fun! I couldn't put it down until I had devoured every single page! It runs the gamut of the art world. From the pyramids to the modern age! The how's, the why's, and the gee whizzes! This would make a great gift for anyone! A wonderful coffee table book! Perfect for any art lover. My only flaw is that my copy arrived with the spine broken! I'm so in love with it, however, that I'm going to take it to a bookbinder and see if I can get it repaired. Yes, it's that great! I give this book five stars, a big thumbs up, and I highly recommend it!

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