Like Understand Paintings written by Stephen Little (click here to see the review), the book A Brief History Of Art offers an instructive journey into the world of Art with a presentation of the main artists and artworks in the chronological order. So, fasten your seat belt, keep your eyes wide open and let the time travel begin !
Towards The Gothic and Medieval Age first (1300-1500) characterized by the ornament of the cathedrals, the tapestries and the paintings.
Then, let’s go to Florence in Italy during the XVth century when The Age of Renaissance (1420-1600) starts. “Renaissance” meaning “ribirth” in French referring to the humanistic revival of the Classical influence in Western Europe. Look at Michelangelo’s colossal ceiling paintings decorating the Sistine Chapel, take the time to observe the intriguing Mona Lisa of Leonard da Vinci, and feast your eyes on Winter by Giuseppe Arcimboldo and on Pieter Brueghel’s elaborate work Hunters in the Snow.
Let’s continue the journey to The Age of Baroque and Rococo (1600-1770), a time when Art mostly served religious and political interests. Contemplate the movement and transformation conveyed by this Art, an Art in opposition to Classical values.
The Age of Neoclassicism and Romanticism (1760-1860) appears 100 years later. Catch a glimpse of the calmness, the simplicity and the correct proportions of The Neoclassical Art, and let yourself be drawn in The Romantic Art imbued with emotional atmospheres.
Now, capture the world through artists’ eyes during The Age of Impressionism (1850-1900). Let yourself be dazzled by the beauty of the bright colors, the spontaneous brushstrokes and the light effects.
Seduced by the Impressionists ? You’ll probably love The Age of Post-Impressionism (1880-1915) which is a more structured version of Impressionism.
And Last but not least, let’s end our journey in beauty with The Modern Age (1900-present). Take a look at the wide range of movements : Cubism, Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism and many more. You’ll be amazed by all those artists who had – or still have – the “deep conviction that it is up to art to define humanity’s relation to its world”.
A brief History of Art gathers the world greatest Art. No need to read this book page after page like a regular book, it’s better to use it as a “pocket exhibition”. This is the kind of book you can start reading by gazing at the images and then have a look at the explanations, and not the other way around. Whatever knowledge you have, as long as you like Art, you’ll enjoy spending time reading this book. Oh and for those who start their journey into the world of Art, after having read the book you can play with the cover, which is a mosaic of 9 artworks, trying to remember the story behind them. Enjoy !