BOOKS ABOUT ART : 1

Normana Wight

Normana Wight

Guest blogger Normana Wight has decided to blog about art books that have informed and continue to inform art appreciation for artists, students and all those interested in the discipline of art history. Here are her thoughts.

After creating many blogs about artists’ books, which ARE art, I think it is a good time to pause and look at a few books held in the State Library of Queensland, which are ABOUT art.
A reference in my previous blog pointed out a fabulous book about books and text; The Book of Books: 500 years of Innovation, Thames and Hudson 2012.

It makes a nice link from book-as-object to book-as-servant.
These are not necessarily the latest books but they cover a spectacular ‘quantity’ of change; of change in Western culture in particular, as it becomes part of the 21st Century.
They introduce the reader to the subject – its history philosophies, and technologies.

1.    Understanding Art,  by Betty Churcher, Rigby, 1973.

The author  ‘hopes to involve the spectator with the work of art, to allow the audience to participate in the art form, whether it is the work of an old master or a modern junk sculpture, without being blocked by feelings of bewilderment and confusion’.

The author  ‘hopes to involve the spectator with the work of art, to allow the audience to participate in the art form, whether it is the work of an old master or a modern junk sculpture, without being blocked by feelings of bewilderment and confusion’.

2.  Arts and Ideas, by William Fleming, Holt, Rinehart + Winston, 1985.

Arts and Ideas is a chronologically oriented study of the humanities in the Western World; music, visual art and literature. It is an excellent book for the absolute beginner in the arts.For example, there are chronological charts that show in the late nineteenth century, the Crystal Palace was built during the same time frame as the painters Edouard Manet and  Paul Cezanne were working  and  Darwin’s  ‘On the origin of the species’ was published.(1859)

Arts and Ideas is a chronologically oriented study of the humanities in the Western World; music, visual art and literature. It is an excellent book for the absolute beginner in the arts.
For example, there are chronological charts that show in the late nineteenth century, the Crystal Palace was built during the same time frame as the painters Edouard Manet and  Paul Cezanne were working  and  Darwin’s  ‘On the origin of the species’ was published.(1859)

3.  A History of Art, by H.W. Janson, H.N. Abrams, 3rd revised and expanded edition by Anthony F. Janson, 1986.

 

A straightforward survey of the visual arts from the dawn of history to the present day.

A straightforward survey of the visual arts from the dawn of history to the present day.

4. Shock of the New, by Robert Hughes, British Broadcasting Corporation, 1980.

This book comes closer to the present day.
Shock of the New started as a BBC Television programme, and is probably still available as a DVD somewhere, to be seen ‘in the flesh’ so to speak. It is about how we changed the way of looking at things (city, buildings, sculpture, painting) from the late Nineteenth Century to the 1980’s.

Normana Wight.

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