Art history books!

Discussion in 'Books' started by Bozza Bostik, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    The graphic novel thread reminded me of a quick question for the arty types on the board.

    Can anyone recommend any art history books? Nothing complex and fancy, a book for the layman really.

    See, I do love a browse around the art museums, but I don't really know much about it. Maybe that's good, ignorance is bliss and all that...I can just like what I like. But it might be nice to learn a little about the styles and history.

    I'm quite fortunate that I live right next to one of the major art museums in the city, it's literally a one minute walk away. It's free for a few hours on a Friday, so it's nice to look at the exhibitions, go home, read up on the artist then go back and look again.
  2. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Ooops - We have a place for books!

    Can anyone move this? Greatly appreciated if you could.

  3. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    It's such a broad subject I think you're better off choosing a period and getting a more specific book.

    But, as a general primer, The Story of Art by Ernst Gombrich is good, though it was published in 1950 so no use for contemporary stuff.
  4. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    There's always Gombrich's famous one but that is dense and a big ask for someone only tangentially interested.
    Probably best to read a little about the things you like, find out the context and then that might lead you into other areas?

    One thing I hate is talking to clueless people about art. My neighbour spouted the "picasso was rubbish...I can draw like that" line. Clearly not knowing that Picasso was a genius and his more famous works in later life were an exploration rather than representative of his "skill".
  5. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Yeah, definitely. I've never read it cover-to-cover!

    But, having such a broad range of art, you can flick through until you find a picture you like and then read about it.
  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Man..I tried...had it on the reading list for Uni so like a muppet I assumed I was meant to read it. Didn't reach the end.
  7. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    Ok. Thanks. Yeah, maybe I should pick certain artists and styles.

    But see that's the problem, at this point....I like it all. Or should I say find it all interesting and appreciate the skill and work involved in creating the piece, whether it's old realistic stuff or modern art. I've been to the Picasso museum in Barcelona a couple of times and I do like his stuff, especially the blue period, maybe I should start there.

    I really can't discuss art, but the negative attitudes you often hear towards modern art really annoy me. I had the same discussion about Picasso recently and tried to explain the same thing....didn't do a good job and didn't convince anyone...then again, I doubt they can be convinced!
  8. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Yeah, it can be tough.

    It's very much like talking to people about music. It's easy for people to say that Schoenberg's serialism sounds horrible, which it does, but what they don't get is that he is playing with the form of music.


    Much like Piet Mondrian, who I rate at least as highly as Picasso for exploring the limits of form.

    Attached Files:

  9. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Contemporary art these days is a different kettle of fish though. Students aren't expected to have any craft or skill, it's all about your documentation and how you can justify (i.e. blag) your "work".

    There's still some interesting stuff, but I do find most of it to be pap.
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I wasn't on the Picasso train until I saw this painting. Which I think is amazing. Clearly a draughtsman of skill despite what his later work looks like or where he ventured artistically.

  11. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    It may be cheesy but you could always go for one of those "50 paintings to see before you die" type books?
    They may be populist and lacking in depth but they can be a good sampling of genres and movements and usually give you some good background on the iconic work every gentleman (or woman) of intellect should know about.
  12. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    There's a problem with that idea. I've bolded the relevant part. ;)
  13. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

  14. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

  15. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Yeah it is. That's what I mean. Those sorts of lists might not contain your personal favourite stuff or go into the history of the work but they do tend highlight the iconic, the important, the influencial, the landmarks and broad movements, etc.
  16. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Although I've only seen 16 of them (IIRC).
  17. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

  18. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Do it! Doesn't get more inconic than that.
    Although IIRC Munch did quite a few variations of that image? So there might be another version closer to home?
    Pretty sure I've seen a variation of the Scream in a London Gallery.
  19. rabid_wombat

    rabid_wombat Valued Member

    Something that's likely to hit a broad array of disciplines and periods without being too in depth would be to look at local universities or colleges and see what book they're using for art appreciation type courses and try to find a copy cheap. Even older editions are great to study.
  20. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Your question is one to be answered by a visit - with time to hang out - to your local library. Browse the art section. Talk to a Librarian there.

    You can search all sorts of stuff for free to get a feel for narrowing down what you are looking for.

    Really, a Library visit is the answer to your question. I know, I am biased, but it really is the answer. :hat:

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