Art: The Definitive Visual Guide by DK Publishing

Are you the kind of person who enjoys art but knows very little about it?  Do you enjoy art museums but sometimes feel overwhelmed and unsure of the deeper elements of famous works?Art: The Definitive Visual Guide

If so, I just came across an excellent book to help you deepen your knowledge and understanding of art from cave paintings and ancient sculptures to the most contemporary works: Art: The Definitive Visual Guide by DK Publishing.

Like all of the DK books I have perused, Art has a great deal of stunning illustrations.  And like the other educational titles, it is packed with information.

But what is so useful about this volume is that it not only helps you learn about art through the ages, but helps you understand how to approach differing types of art and to understand the techniques and ideas behind them.

The book starts with a short section on “Looking at art” that covers Subject and Composition; Perspective and Viewpoint; Light and Shade; Media and Techniques; Color; and Brushstrokes and Texture.  It is a sort of mini-lesson in art.  This is great background to have.

Art inside pageThen as it moves chronologically through the various historical periods and artistic movements it uses this information to take a closer look at specific works of art.

“Key paintings are examined in detail to help you understand the artist’s intentions, style, and method. Thematic galleries are interspersed, showing how artists from different periods and places treat the same subject matter, such as landscape, nudes, or animals.”

So the intro provides a mini-lesson in art and the rest of the book allows you to use that to better understand the history of art; as well as the critical components of famous works.

And it is laid out in such a way that you can you use it as an in-depth study of art or just a reference to dip into certain periods, artists, or specific works.

All in all this is an incredible resource for anyone interested in art.  There is great background and introductory information to help the beginner wanting to learn more.  And there is enough depth and detail to intrest art afficionados.

Whether you are a student or just an auto-didact, is like a course in art and art history in one volume.  And given the cost of education these days, that makes it a bargain.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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