Hot Best Seller

How Art Made the World

Availability: Ready to download

In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity’s artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the m In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity’s artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the motto, “Everyone is an artist,” Spivey takes us on a quest to find out when and how we humans began to explore the deepest questions of life, using visual artforms. With the help of vivid color illustrations of some of the world’s most moving and enduring works of art, Spivey shows how that art has been used as a means of mass persuasion, essential to the creation of hierarchical societies, and finally, the extent to which art has served as a mode of terror management in the face of our inevitable death. Packed with new insights into ancient wonders and fascinating stories from all around the globe, How Art Made the World is a compelling account of how humans made art and how art makes us human.


Compare

In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity’s artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the m In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity’s artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the motto, “Everyone is an artist,” Spivey takes us on a quest to find out when and how we humans began to explore the deepest questions of life, using visual artforms. With the help of vivid color illustrations of some of the world’s most moving and enduring works of art, Spivey shows how that art has been used as a means of mass persuasion, essential to the creation of hierarchical societies, and finally, the extent to which art has served as a mode of terror management in the face of our inevitable death. Packed with new insights into ancient wonders and fascinating stories from all around the globe, How Art Made the World is a compelling account of how humans made art and how art makes us human.

30 review for How Art Made the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Milad Jahani

    it was a good book

  2. 5 out of 5

    Castles

    This book is absolutely excellent, I’ve found it hard to put down, and it sure stole from me some sleep hours. It’s short yet packed with information and history and it’s written very well. It deals with the basic question of what purpose does art have in the human life and history, and obviously, it goes back to pre-history, from cave paintings to tribal rituals across many different cultures, through the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans and Christianity (and many more). First and foremost, thi This book is absolutely excellent, I’ve found it hard to put down, and it sure stole from me some sleep hours. It’s short yet packed with information and history and it’s written very well. It deals with the basic question of what purpose does art have in the human life and history, and obviously, it goes back to pre-history, from cave paintings to tribal rituals across many different cultures, through the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans and Christianity (and many more). First and foremost, this book is in the context of the ancient world, and it’s coming to life in this book very well and with much interest. Extra bonus points for the huge amount of book recommendations that the author added for each chapter at the end of the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Roxann Howard

    I enjoyed some sections of the book, but it seemed to include random sections. I was hoping for a more linear (i.e. timeline) look at art development. It read like a text book to me in many places, so I had trouble staying interested--much like my experience in college. Each section could have been it's own book. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it more if I had been able to watch the PBS show that it was based on.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Krystal Booth

    The book and the videos are absolutely amazing! Nigel Spivey's writing is entertaining, and captivating as he tells the history of art through different needs of human communication. He divides the chapters by the following topics: The Human Artist (Intro), The Birth of Imagination, More Human than Human, Once Upon a Time, Second Nature, Art and Power, Seeing the Invisible, and In the Face of Death.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    Sometimes books can be helpful in unintentional ways.  Such was the case with this book, which managed through a perspective that is antithetical to my own to reveal some of the aspects of what the author (and no doubt many others) view as creativity and art.  One of the mysteries of art and art history and the study of creation and creativity as concepts is that from the beginning of their appearance they are wrapped up in thoughts about God and creation.  This author's celebration of human cre Sometimes books can be helpful in unintentional ways.  Such was the case with this book, which managed through a perspective that is antithetical to my own to reveal some of the aspects of what the author (and no doubt many others) view as creativity and art.  One of the mysteries of art and art history and the study of creation and creativity as concepts is that from the beginning of their appearance they are wrapped up in thoughts about God and creation.  This author's celebration of human creativity is done in a context that is directly hostile to the biblical worldview, and while that certainly detracts from my opinion of the author and my enjoyment of the book, it is at least refreshing in a bracing sense that the author was open and honest about the hostility between a focus on mankind as a creator of things in his own image and the understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that our creativity, such as it is, is merely in imitatio Dei.  If one is to have an opponent or a debate partner, as this author would be, it is for the best when they make their opposition plain. This particular book of nearly 300 pages focuses on art from a thematic and not a chronological fashion.  The author begins with a look at the artist as a human, making it clear from the start that this book represents a humanistic approach (1).  After that the author looks at prehistoric cave drawings to show the birth of the imagination in sympathetic magic and shamanism relating to early heathen religious beliefs that the author celebrates (2).  After that the author discusses the way that Renaissance art and other heathen art and sculpture sought to portray humanity in a way that was more human than the actual human body is, exaggerating for emphasis (3) and also the way that art was turned in the service of myth, whether in Hollywood or among aboriginal Australians (4).  The author then turns his attention to the importance of landscape art and its exaggerations as a way of showing the way that our imagination creates a second nature (5).  This leads to a discussion of the way that states have long used art as a way of promoting the interests of their power and legitimacy (6) as well as the uses of art to show what is invisible and thus beyond our visual knowledge (7).  Finally, the author closes with a discussion of art and the representation of death (8) as well as selected further reading, acknowledgements, and an index. It is rare when an author seeks to provide as many as possible of the various ungodly perspectives that one can have at the same time.  The author simultaneously manages to praise artists over history with shamanistic beliefs in sympathetic magic of ensuring fertility as well as successful hunting, exaggerated portrayals of the human nude as a way of celebrating human beauty, the capacity of mankind to create narratives based on fiction or an edited and exaggerated version of facts, the way we distort creation through our view of nature, the way that we use art to further our own power, and the ways that we portray the heavens as well as death and violence (including human sacrifice).  All of these ways that the author celebrates art are the ways that humanity has corrupted the creativity capacity that has been given to us by God, and all of them represent problematic aspects of human creativity.  And yet the author praises all of them, demonstrating his knowledge of and hostility to the standard for art and design and creation established by God.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Coates

    Being released concurrently with a BBC television mini-series, watching the first program, recounting the first discovery of pre-historic art in a cave in Spain, his explanation of why arrays of dots featured so prominently in such art as well as some ancient rock monoliths much larger than stonehenge, I was hooked and I really did enjoy that first chapter. However, the rest of the book was somewhat flat and, after the first chapter, a bit of a let down.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    While this book introduces some interesting topics, perhaps its better as an accompaniment to the documentary series that I've just discovered exists from reading the other Goodreads reviews.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shay

    best book of my life learning new interesting things about the world that no one ever knew , and art everywhere around the world

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mat Davies

    I assisted a class that was learning about prehistory a few years ago and used the documentary that accompanied this book. I thought it was excellent. I have been meaning to read this book since. The art that accompanies the mythology and themes is simply, delightful, albeit also horrifying on occasion. I could not 'get in' to the book as much as the documentary, though. The reason is simple. The TV series explored the relationship between prehistory and modern issues and in particular technolog I assisted a class that was learning about prehistory a few years ago and used the documentary that accompanied this book. I thought it was excellent. I have been meaning to read this book since. The art that accompanies the mythology and themes is simply, delightful, albeit also horrifying on occasion. I could not 'get in' to the book as much as the documentary, though. The reason is simple. The TV series explored the relationship between prehistory and modern issues and in particular technology and the media to great effect. On the other hand there are more examples and the narrative is more thoughtful in the book. The two chapters I found fascinating was 'art and power' and 'in the face of death'. Highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    First of all, this is a beautiful book. It has a nice coffee table format, is filled with large pictures of artifacts, paintings and icons, and is bound with a hard cover. The pages are of a glossy paper (but not too glossy), the font is very comfortable to read and the chapters are well composed. As for the contents, the author brings up some interesting topics and moves through time and spaces guided by art. It is a great journey, which is not in the least dull or uninformative, but I keep feel First of all, this is a beautiful book. It has a nice coffee table format, is filled with large pictures of artifacts, paintings and icons, and is bound with a hard cover. The pages are of a glossy paper (but not too glossy), the font is very comfortable to read and the chapters are well composed. As for the contents, the author brings up some interesting topics and moves through time and spaces guided by art. It is a great journey, which is not in the least dull or uninformative, but I keep feeling that the book does not consider an aweful lot of places and times. It somehow didn't feel complete. Of course it is not possible to put in every place and everytime in one book, but there were some consideral gaps in the book, in my humble opinion. x')

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    His analysis of the Riace Bronzes and their importance to the development of the human figure in art is peerless. I teach Polykleitos every year and when I used his video and a reading from this book it just dawned on my students with an immediacy that made my job easier to say the least. He is approachable and readable - again, his explanation for the exaggerations in art and their development in the human brain make the study of art have a framework that helps the rest of the history of art ma His analysis of the Riace Bronzes and their importance to the development of the human figure in art is peerless. I teach Polykleitos every year and when I used his video and a reading from this book it just dawned on my students with an immediacy that made my job easier to say the least. He is approachable and readable - again, his explanation for the exaggerations in art and their development in the human brain make the study of art have a framework that helps the rest of the history of art make sense as an abstract idea made visual and understandable. Excellent and scholarly book. Well worth the read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicole black

    i learned that what i thought of art history was thankfully incorrect

  13. 4 out of 5

    Arghred

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ravi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bernard

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yosua Artawan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karthik Vannela

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ara

  21. 4 out of 5

    J

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Compton

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lesnie Diane

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kimoyx

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kailash Maharaj

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rain Drain

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rps

  28. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Wightman

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tess

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.