Perfect introduction to art history and the art world

By Stephen Farthing

Rizzoli, $25.00, 576 pages

If you’ve ever studied art history, you may recall slide after slide of artist’s work with rote memorization of the period and artist’s name. This book supersedes that practice and takes the study of Art History from Periods (eg. 1900-1945) down to Movements (eg. Mexican Art). Each movement is clarified with a timeline of key events (eg. 1939 Kahlo paints The Two Fridas and divorces Diego Rivera), with text tying the art to other socio-cultural events of that time (eg. Kahlos self-portraits also represented her country and the Mexican politics and national identity).  Some of the important key works of the movement include “focal points” to look at highlighted areas of the work in greater detail. The addition of the artist profile gives a glimpse of what may have led to the work and potential influences from art movements.

Art: From Cave Painting to Street Art- 40,000 Years of Creativity is very solid from content to print quality. It would serve any student of art well through Art History courses, but could also be well placed upon the coffee table of an art connoisseur. This book was composed to really appeal to the visual mind with a very clean and consistent layout and timelines that work to tie everything together to give the reader a clearer understanding of the creation, the artist, the art movement, and the period. Many books attempt this, yet few have achieved it in a way that appears so effortless while looking from photography, to painting, to sculpture, installations and more.

Reviewed by Janet Wright
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