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51 Best Art History Books

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Art History Portables Book 2
by Marilyn Stokstad (Jan 17, 2013)
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Exceptional in its scholarship and stunning in its beauty, this is the art history book of choice for a new generation. Balancing both the traditions of art history and the new trends of the present. Art History is the most comprehensive, accessible, and magnificently illustrated work of its kind....
World History Of Art
by John Fleming (Jan 01, 2009)
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Presents various developments in archeology and art historical research. This book offers a fresh perspective on various developments shaping our cultural history....
American Visions
The Epic History of Art in America
by Robert Hughes (Apr 21, 1997)
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Writing with all the brilliance, authority, and pungent wit that have distinguished his art criticism for Time magazine and his greatly acclaimed study of modern art, The Shock of the New, Robert Hughes now addresses his largest subject: the history of art in America. The intense relationship between the American people and their surroundings has b...
Art in Renaissance Italy
by John T. Paoletti (Jan 02, 1997)
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"Art mattered in the Renaissance... People expected painting, sculpture, architecture, and other forms of visual art to have a meaningful effect on their lives, " write the authors of this important new look at Italian Renaissance art. A glance at the pages of Art in Renaissance Italy shows at once its freshness and breadth of approach, which inclu...
Janson's History of Art
The Western Tradition by Penelope J. E. Davies (2006-02-16)
by Penelope J. E. Davies; Walter B. Denny; Frima Fox Hofrichter; Joseph F. Jacobs; Ann M. Roberts; David L. Simon; H. W. Janson (Jan 01, 1656)
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This is a key book for the study and enjoyment of Western art. This seventh edition has been revised and expanded and six new authors have been selected. Every image from the previous edition has been enhanced/refreshed using modern imaging technology....
Art Since 1900
Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism (Vol. 2
by Hal Foster (Mar 16, 2005)
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In this groundbreaking and original work of scholarship, four of the most influential and provocative art historians of our time have come together to provide a comprehensive history of art in the 20th and 21s centuries, an age when artists have sought constantly to overturn the traditions of the past and expectations of the present in order to inv...
A History of Illuminated Manuscripts
by Christopher De Hamel (Sep 25, 1997)
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Illuminated manuscripts are perhaps the most beautiful treasures to survive from the middle ages. This authoritative volume provides a comprehensive introduction to the medieval world of books, their production and their consumption. The text divides this world into different groups of readers and writers: missionaries, emperors, monks, students, a...
Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art
by James Hall (Feb 28, 2014)
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"It is clearly written, well arranged, and can be read for its own sake as a compendium of the image-making faculty of Western man. I would recommend it strongly to anyone who wishes to increase his interest and pleasure in... art."--Kenneth Clark...
Meaning in the Visual Arts
by Erwin Panofsky (Mar 14, 1983)
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Since its original publication, Erwin Panofsky's Meaning in the Visual Arts has been standard reading for students of art history. It is both an introduction to the study of art and, for those with more specialized interests, a profound discussion of art and life in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Panofsky's historical technique reveals an abundan...
Image on the Edge
The Margins of Medieval Art
by Michael Camille (Jul 10, 2019)
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What do they all mean – the lascivious ape, autophagic dragons, pot-bellied heads, harp-playing asses, arse-kissing priests and somersaulting jongleurs to be found protruding from the edges of medieval buildings and in the margins of illuminated manuscripts? Michael Camille explores that riotous realm of marginal art, so often explained away as mer...
30,000 Years of Art
The Story of Human Creativity Across Time and Space (F A GENERAL)
by Editors of Phaidon (Oct 22, 2007)
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30,000 Years of Art presents 1000 great works of art from all periods and regions in the world, arranged in chronological order for a general readership. Breaking through the usual geographical and cultural boundaries of art history, it celebrates the vast range of human artistry across time and space. Each work is accompanied by key caption inform...
How Art Made the World
A Journey to the Origins of Human Creativity
by Nigel Spivey (Nov 27, 2005)
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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 developm...
Classical Art
From Greece to Rome (Oxford History of Art)
by Mary Beard (Jul 18, 2001)
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The stunning masterpieces of Ancient Greece and Rome are fundamental to the story of art in Western culture and to the origins of art history. The expanding Greek world of Alexander the Great had an enormous impact on the Mediterranean superpower of Rome. Generals, rulers, and artists seized, imitated, and re-thought the stunning legacy of Greek pa...
Art in Renaissance Italy
1350-1500 (Oxford History of Art)
by Evelyn Welch (May 16, 2001)
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The Italian Renaissance was a pivotal period in the history of Western culture during which artists such as Masaccio, Donatello, Fra Angelico, and Leonardo created some of the world's most influential and exciting works in a variety of artistic fields. Here, Evelyn Welch presents a fresh picture of the Italian Renaissance by challenging traditional...
The Art of Describing
Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century
by Svetlana Alpers (Apr 14, 1984)
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"The art historian after Erwin Panofsky and Ernst Gombrich is not only participating in an activity of great intellectual excitement; he is raising and exploring issues which lie very much at the centre of psychology, of the sciences and of history itself. Svetlana Alpers's study of 17th-century Dutch painting is a splendid example of this exciteme...
The Painting of Modern Life
Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers
by T. J. Clark (Oct 17, 1999)
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The Paris of the 1860s and 1870s was supposedly a brand-new city, equipped with boulevards, cafés, parks, and suburban pleasure grounds—the birthplace of those habits of commerce and leisure that constitute "modern life." Questioning those who view Impressionism solely in terms of artistic technique, T. J. Clark describes the painting of Manet, Deg...
The Annotated Mona Lisa
A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern
by Carol Strickland (Jun 01, 1992)
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A layman's guide to art history provides the reader with a basic working knowledge of art and its influence on society....
Outline of European Architecture, An
by Nikolaus Pevsner (Oct 01, 2009)
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One of the most widely read boks on European architecture, Nikolaus Pevsner's landmark work was first published in 1942. Through several revisions and updates during Pevsner's lifetime, it continued to be a seminal essay on the subject, and even after his death, it remains as stimulating as it was back in the mid-twentieth century. Sir Nikolaus Pe...
Theories of Modern Art
A Source Book by Artists and Critics (California Studies in the History of Art)
by Herschel B. Chipp (Jun 14, 1968)
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Herschel B. Chipp's Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book By Artists and Critics is a collection of texts from letters, manifestos, notes and interviews. Sources include, as the title says, artists and critics—some expected, like van Gogh, Gauguin, Apollinaire, Mondrian, Greenberg, just to name a few—and some less so: Trotsky and Hitler, in the sec...
Art Since 1940
by Jonathan Fineberg (Jan 23, 2000)
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Widely praised when it first appeared in 1995, Art Since 1940 tells the story of six decades of art in America and Europe through a series of in-depth biographical profiles of individual artists, astutely linked by illuminating discussions of the cultural influences on their work. ARTnews hailed this lively volume as "a fascinating book" by "a supe...
The Classical Language of Architecture
by John Summerson (Dec 14, 1966)
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The author's purpose is to set out as simply and vividly as possible the exact grammatical workings of an architectural language.Classical architecture is a visual "language" and like any other language has its own grammatical rules. Classical buildings as widely spaced in time as a Roman temple, an Italian Renaissance palace and a Regency house al...
Take a romp through the last two thousand years of Western Art with the Guerrilla Girls as your guides, and find out the real who, what, when, and why of art history. Who put all those naked men in the classical section of museums? What were the "do's" and "don'ts" for female artists as "civilization" marched across Europe? Why did nuns have more f...
History of Modern Art
by H. H. H Arnason (Sep 07, 2003)
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For undergraduate course in Modern Art, Origins of Modernism, Art Since 1945, Contemporary Art and other courses focusing on art in the 20th century. Long considered the survey of modern art, this engrossing and liberally illustrated text traces the development of trends and influences in painting, sculpture, photography and architecture from the m...
Women, Art, and Society
by Whitney Chadwick (Sep 30, 2012)
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This acclaimed study challenges the assumption that great women artists are exceptions to the rule who transcended their sex to produce major works of art. While acknowledging the many women whose contributions to visual culture since the Middle Ages have often been neglected, Whitney Chadwick's survey reexamines the works themselves and the ways i...
The Art of Art History
A Critical Anthology (Oxford History of Art)
by Donald Preziosi (Apr 14, 2009)
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The history of art has been written and rewritten since classical antiquity. Since the foundation of the modern discipline of art history in Germany in the late eighteenth century, debates about art and its histories have intensified. Historians, philosophers, psychologists, and anthropologists among others have changed our notions of what art hist...
Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy
A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style (Oxford Paperbacks)
by Michael Baxandall (Jul 27, 1988)
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Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy An introduction to 15th century Italian painting and the social history behind it, arguing that the two are interlinked and that the conditions of the time helped fashion distinctive elements in the painter's style. Serving as both an introduction to fifteenth-century Italian painting and as a text...
Art in Theory 1900 - 2000
An Anthology of Changing Ideas
by Charles Harrison (Oct 21, 2002)
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This popular anthology of twentieth-century art theoretical texts has now been expanded to take account of new research, and to include significant contributions to art theory from the 1990s.New edition of this popular anthology of twentieth-century art-theoretical texts. Now updated to include the results of new research, together with significant...
Art history
A critical introduction to its methods
by Michael Hatt (Apr 29, 2006)
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This book provides a lively and stimulating introduction to methodological debates within art history. Offering a lucid account of approaches from Hegel to post-colonialism, the book provides a sense of art history's own history as a discipline from its emergence in the late-eighteenth century to contemporary debates....
Art History
by Marilyn Stokstad (Jul 15, 2004)
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Now this acclaimed work is presented in a slipcased, two-volume set. With its informed and accessible narrative next and varied illustrations, this revised edition offers all the necessary tools for experiencing the works of art and architecture with understanding and delight. 1,617 illustrations, 750 in color....
For nineteenth-century Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, the Italian Renaissance was nothing less than the beginning of the modern world - a world in which flourishing individualism and the competition for fame radically transformed science, the arts, and politics. In this landmark work he depicts the Italian city-states of Florence, Venice and Rom...
For art courses where there is a writing component. This best-selling text has guided tens of thousands of art students through the writing process. Students are shown how to analyze pictures (drawings, paintings, photographs), sculptures and architecture, and are prepared with the tools they need to present their ideas through effective writing......
On Painting
by Leon Battista Alberti (Jul 02, 1991)
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Artist, architect, poet and philosopher, Leon Battista Alberti revolutionized the history of art with his theories of perspective in On Painting (1435). Inspired by the order and beauty inherent in nature, his groundbreaking work sets out the principles of distance, dimension and proportion; instructs the painter on how to use the rules of composit...
Art History, Revised Second Edition, Volume II
by Marilyn Stokstad (Jul 05, 2005)
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This slipcased survey of art history covers the masterworks of the Western world and also provides exhaustive coverage of the unique traditions of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and more, producing a resource that is refreshingly global in scope. The essays, which pay special attention to the context of each artwork, are accompanied by nearly 2,000...
Principles of Art History
The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art
by Heinrich Wölfflin (Jun 01, 1950)
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What are the fundamental differences between classic and baroque art? Is there a pattern underlying the seemingly helter-skelter development of art in different cultures and at different times? What causes our entirely different reactions to precisely the same painting or to the same painter?In this now-classic treatise, published originally in Ger...
John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X
by Deborah Davis (Jul 28, 2003)
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The subject of John Singer Sargent's most famous painting was twenty-three-year-old New Orleans Creole Virginie Gautreau, who moved to Paris and quickly became the "it girl" of her day. A relative unknown at the time, Sargent won the commission to paint her; the two must have recognized in each other a like-minded hunger for fame.Unveiled at the 18...
The Man Who Became Caravaggio
by Peter Robb (Feb 10, 2000)
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A New York Times Notable Book of the YearAs vividly and unflinchingly presented herein with "blood and bone and sinew" (Times Literary Supplement) by Peter Robb, Caravaggio's wild and tempestuous life was a provocation to a culture in a state of siege. The end of the sixteenth century was marked by the Inquisition and Counter-Reformation, a backgro...
by Simon Schama (Jan 01, 2012)
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"Great art has dreadful manners," Simon Schama observes wryly at the start of his epic and explosive exploration of the power, and whole point, of art. "The hushed reverence of the gallery can fool you into believing masterpieces are polite things; visions that soothe, charm and beguile, but actually they are thugs. Merciless and wily, the greatest...
After Modern Art 1945-2000
by David Hopkins (Nov 25, 2000)
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Modern and contemporary art can be both baffling and beautiful; it can also be innovative, political, and disturbing. This book sets out to provide the first concise interpretation of the period as a whole, clarifying the artists and their works along the way. Closely informed by new critical approaches, it concentrates on the relationship between ...
Old Masters, New World
America's Raid on Europe's Great Pictures
by Cynthia Saltzman (Jul 28, 2009)
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In 1870 a group of wealthy and culturally ambitious New Yorkers founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a Manhattan brownstone with a lackluster collection and not a single major work of art. Americans came late to the game of art collecting and raced to catch up. Soon, America’s new industrial tycoons began to compete for Europe’s extraordinary ...
Making the Mummies Dance
Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art
by Thomas Hoving (Jan 22, 1993)
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No museum in the world is like the Metropolitan Museum of Art - and no man has ever run it, or revolutionized it, quite like Thomas Hoving. In a decade, Hoving changed almost everything people had grown accustomed to from the Met, shaking the institution out of royal repose and transforming it into the most vital cultural presence in the country. N...
Vanished Smile
The Mysterious Theft of the Mona Lisa
by R.A. Scotti (Apr 06, 2010)
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In Paris at the start of a radically new century, the most famous face in the history of art stepped out of her frame and into a sensational mystery.On August 21, 1911, the unfathomable happened—Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa vanished from the Louvre. More than twenty-four hours passed before museum officials realized she was gone. The prime suspect...
A History of Western Architecture
by David Watkin (Jun 29, 2015)
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This highly acclaimed book, now available for the first time in the United States in simultaneous paperback and hardcover editions, is particularly valuable for its unique approach to architectural history: The author explores structures not as separate, neatly labeled museum pieces but as part of a vital, living continuity through the ages. Beginn...
Art History and Its Methods
by Eric Fernie (Jul 09, 1995)
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'Approaches' are probably more varied -- and more debated -- in the history of art than in any other branch of history, and a study of different historical approaches is becoming an increasingly important component of many student courses. In this anthology of art-historical writings from the Renaissance to the present day, key texts have been chos...
Gardner's Art Through the Ages
by Fred S. Kleiner (Mar 17, 2004)
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The market-leading text for the art history survey course, GARDNER'S ART THROUGH THE AGES has served as a comprehensive and thoughtfully crafted guide to the defining phases of the world's artistic tradition. With this book in hand, thousands of students have watched the story of art unfold in its full historical, social, religious, economic, and c...
Stealing the Mystic Lamb
by Noah Charney (Apr 03, 2012)
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Jan van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece is on any art historian's list of the ten most important paintings ever made. Often referred to by the subject of its central panel, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, it represents the fulcrum between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is also the most frequently stolen artwork of all time.Since its completion i...
The Venus Fixers
The Remarkable Story of the Allied Monuments Officers Who Saved Italy's Art During World War II
by Ilaria Dagnini Brey (Jun 21, 2010)
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In 1943, with the world convulsed by war and a Fascist defeat in Europe far from certain, a few visionaries—civilians and soldiers alike—saw past questions of life and death to realize that victory wasn’t the only thing at stake. So was the priceless cultural heritage of thousands of years.In the midst of the conflict, the Allied Forces appointed t...
Lives of the Artists
by Giorgio Vasari (Dec 31, 2007)
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Packed with facts, attributions, and entertaining anecdotes about his contemporaries, Vasari's collection of biographical accounts also presents a highly influential theory of the development of Renaissance art.Beginning with Cimabue and Giotto, who represent the infancy of art, Vasari considers the period of youthful vigour, shaped by Donatello, B...
Recommended by
Paul Graham
A painter and architect in his own right, Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) achieved immortality for this book on the lives of his fellow Renaissance artists, first published in Florence in 1550. Although he based his work on a long tradition of biographical writing, Vasari infused these literary portraits with a decidedly modern form of critical judgment. ...
Recommended by
Ryan Holiday
For 1000s of art lovers both amateur & professional, esthetic life began with Janson, as his History of Art is often called. In the 1st edition, published in 1962, he spoke to that perennial reader he gently called "the troubled layman." His opening paragraph revealed his sympathy: "Why is this supposed to be art?" he quoted rhetorically. "How ofte...
Stealing Rembrandts
The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists
by Anthony M. Amore (Jul 03, 2012)
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A spellbinding journey into the high-stakes world of art theftToday, art theft is one of the most profitable criminal enterprises in the world, exceeding $6 billion in losses to galleries and art collectors annually. And the masterpieces of Rembrandt van Rijn are some of the most frequently targeted.In Stealing Rembrandts, art security expert Antho...
Art History
A Very Short Introduction
by Dana Arnold (Apr 07, 2004)
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This clear and concise new introduction examines all the major debates and issues in the field of art history, using a wide range of well-known examples. Dana Arnold also examines the many different ways of writing about art, and the changing boundaries of the subject of art history.Other topics covered include the canon of art history, the role of...