Art a GoGoArt Over Easy


How to Learn More About Art
Part One: Books


Baffled by Byzantine? Confused by Cubism? Dumbfounded by Dada? To many, the names assigned to these artistic movements are as baffling as the art itself. People are intrigued by art and yet they are often overwhelmed and intimidated by it.

So what's the solution to this dilemma? How can you learn about art and not be so overwhelmed by what you see? The answer can be found in one word--preparation. Taking a little time to gain an overview of art before a visit to a museum will certainly enhance your viewing experience.

A good place to start is to visit our bookstore, or your local public library. One glance at the art section in any bookstore or library and you'll immediately discover an absolute truth…most art books are BIG! The sheer size of these imposing tomes of taste make them more likely candidates for a doorstop than something that you would actually want to sit down and read. But do.

As soon as you open a book that contains art of the Italian Renaissance or French Impressionism, for example, you become increasingly drawn into the images and the stories that surround them. You may begin to wonder what kind of art preceded these movements. And where can we begin to trace the story of Western art created by Man (or woman).

Here are some Art a GoGo book ideas to help you help you begin to learn more about art. Most of these books are packed with images and will provide useful information for your next museum visit. Oh yeah, the classic art history books will also look great on your coffee table!

Brain Friendly Recommendations

Sister Wendy's Story of Painting by Sister Wendy Beckett
This companion book to the popular PBS series tells the story of over 800 years of painting in the West. More than 450 masterpieces are reproduced in color. Currently the number one art book at Great details!

Art for Dummies by Thomas Hoving
Even though Hoving is the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he hasn't lost his sense of humor or the ability to communicate with the general public. In this book, Hoving attempts to demystify the history of art (no small task, to be sure!). Although most of the contents are entertaining, there is a real shortage of pictures to accompany his narrative. This is no problem for someone familiar with these works of art, but he loses his audience if they don't possess this knowledge. Due to the lack of pictures, this book is best used along with one of the more traditional books.

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America by Robert Hughes
There are few books devoted solely to American art that are as beautiful and as well-written as this book is. Hughes traces the history of American art and not only describes the artistic developments, but also places it within the context of American social history over the last five centuries. Robert Hughes knows how to tell a great story!

Instant Art History: From Cave Art to Pop Art by Walter Robinson
In a mere 240 pages, Walter Robinson describes the history of art. For a quick read, you can't beat it! It's concise, accurate, and funny.

Classic Art History Books

These books are classics, and set the standard for art history texts. Yes, they are large, but they are filled with beautiful color reproductions and accurate discussions about the artwork.

The Story of Art by Ernest H. Gombrich
History of Art by H.W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson
The History of Art for Young People by H.W. Janson and Anthony F. Janson
Art History by Marilyn Stokstad and Bradford R. Collins

Art Books for Kids

Annotated Art (DK Annotated Guides) by Robert Cumming
Even though this book is designed for children ages 12 and up, we were fascinated with it. The author discusses in detail the elements seen in 45 of the Western world's artistic masterpieces. After looking at just a few of these paintings, you won't be able to put the book down.

A Child's Book of Art: Great Pictures First Words by Lucy Micklethwait
Kids like looking at picture books, so why not give them something good to look at. Over 100 paintings are used to illustrate a child's first words. It's an excellent opportunity to combine a learning experience with art. Great gift idea! Reading level is for ages 4 to 8.

Great Artists (DK Annotated Guides) by Robert Cumming
You'd think that Robert Cumming had cornered the market on art books for children. There's a whole series of books by DK Annotated Books, and you really can't miss with any of them. The DK books are clear, concise, and very inexpensive.

Child's Book of Art: Discover Great Paintings by Lucy Micklethwait
This book gives kids an excellent overview of paintings by such artists as Botticelli, Bruegel, Velasquez, Copely, and Van Gogh. The Child's Book of Art features full color pictures, including some detail views. Question and answers challenge kids to learn more about each painting.

We hope you enjoy our art book picks. In part two of How to Learn More About Art, we'll review some of the best art videos.

Reviews -- Features -- News -- Events -- Store
Art Links
-- About -- Home

© 2003 Art a GoGo All Rights Reserved
Questions or Comments?
Subscribe to Art a GoGo Art a GoGo Home News & Events About Art a GoGo Art Links The Buzz On Art Art A GoGo Interview Reviews & Commentary Home About Art Links Store Events News Features Reviews