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1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die Hardcover – March 20, 2007

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


For insatiable art lovers, this book brings together longstanding calassics and contemporary masterpieces from some of the world's most famous galleries and museums. From Italian frescoes to the Renaissance masters, and French Impressionists to American Abstract Expressionists, 1001 Paintings in public domain.

Organized chronologically and accompanied by beautiful reproductions, 1001 Paintings traverses centuries and genres- Giotto, Jasper Johns, El Greco, da Vinci and Degas- no master is left behind. The artworks featured in the book are the most compelling controversial, important, widely loved and, sometimes, despised paintings that alter the trajectory of painting's evolution as well as make us reconsider its past. Whether for discovery or rediscovery, 1001 Paintings is an accessible and addictive chronicle of the world's most essential painting. -- SFDC News 2007.02 Summer Fall

Sophisticated art lovers will get a kick out of the critics' choices. Amateurs will get savvy guidance in an easy to understand format." -- 04/24 MIAMI HERALD

"A painting or two per page, plus insightful commentary, 1001 Paintings adds up to a rich browsable read or an ambitious vacation guide." -- Jun HOUSE BEAUTIFUL

"comprehensive, yet compact and concise volume" -- May NEW YORK LIVING

"you actually come away from it with an expanded curiosity for that which you don't know"..."a stunning overview" -- 5/21 BLOG ON BOOKS

1001 series review "to-do, until Death" -- Jul NEW YORK POST

About the Author

Stephen Farthing is a graduate of the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford and a professional fellow at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1998 and executive director of the New York Academy of Art in 2000. He has been teaching fine art since 1977, and he is a painter.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Universe; First Edition edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780789315243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789315243
  • ASIN: 0789315246
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The very title of this book will probably offend serious art lovers as well as the cover art that strains to imitate Magritte. But don't be fooled by the packaging in this case. This is a fine little volume that covers an enormous variety of paintings through time and is designed in a format that places one painting per page (though the page are not large) with an accompanying commentary on the painting, the artist, the historical content and some astute remarks by a staff of well informed writers.

Ancient paintings as well as contemporary paintings are in this collection of 'must sees' and actually each of the selections could well qualify for the designation of the title. What the book does not do is provide a travelogue to guide the reader to the locations of each of the works, but it does present a survey of great art, succinctly distilled in well chosen word descriptions, that proves t be a valuable introduction to the works considered by many to be the great moments in art history. This would be a fine book for young or new art lovers, a volume that would interest those who fear the magnitude of the realm of art history here made accessible - like cliff notes! A great idea for a gift - for other and for your own library. Grady Harp, September 07
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The concept behind this book is an intriguing one: If you had seen most of the best paintings in the world, which 1001 would you recommend that others see if at all possible? My initial reaction was that there probably aren't 1001 paintings that I would recommend to everyone else.

With that perspective in mind, I first read through the book to identify which paintings would be on my list. I came up with 72. Almost all of those were on my mental list when I started reading the book. I was also missing about 100 of my favorites, but few of the artists were omitted. So if I had been new to paintings and became familiar with the 65 artists who did the 72 paintings, I would have eventually uncovered almost all of the other 100. That experience confirmed my impression that this book would be of most value to those who have seen relatively few great paintings and want to get a sense of what they like.

The images were quite well done for such small reproductions. Most paintings are represented on one page (a few are two to a page) with the minimum size being about one inch by two inches. But the printing was done well enough that you get a decent idea of the painting. I have seen more than 600 of these works in person and found that the reproductions often looked better than the originals: So don't be too disappointed when you see the real thing. Naturally, others look at lot better in person: You cannot capture the Sistine Chapel's paintings very well in a small image, for example.

The nice surprise for me was to find that the book contains works from private collections, several of which were new to me. This made me feel like I was visiting a blockbuster traveling show, especially when the works were by some of my favorite artists.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Scott Woods on December 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An enormous, beautifully compiled collection of artwork whose title I couldn't agree with more. Filled with easily digested insights into some of the greatest artwork in history, this almost 1000-page book is great for people only mildly interested in art or for serious art-core types.
The pictures are lovely and there's just enough text to get you interested in someone new (or old) at every turn.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hirsh on July 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book but it would be a great book if the paintings were indexed by location. If you are planning a trip to say...Florence you cant get a list of what's in that city.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jodi-Hummingbird on December 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book based on the reviews here, I thought the book was pretty good.

My main problem was with the size of the images. Someone here said most images are one to a page, or two to a page... and that the smallest images are an inch by an inch.

I'd expected all the images to be a lot bigger. Many of the images, maybe even 25% - 50% weren't much bigger than an inch by an inch. This is a real problem if you are looking at the book as an artist and want to see how the brushstrokes were made a little bit etc. at least on some of them. But the images were too small for this, and no detail views were shown (except a very smalll number at the start of each section).

I found it really hard to look at all the small images and take in the painting properly too. Many were just too small for me.

I'd rather have had less white space and 30% bigger images, this could easily have been done without sacrificing much text or design quality. (The cover art was awful too!)

I also bought '1000 Masterpieces of European Painting: From 1300 to 1850' at the same time and this book was so much better at having larger images and showing details than this book (despite the book being far SMALLER and having far less pages than this one too!). It had a nicer feel too, the arrangement of the images and text was far less uniform than in this book and therefore much more interesting. It did have less white space but was actually far more elegant despite this.

The selection of images seemed very good though (despite the bad graphic design of the book) and it was well-made. It weights an absolute TON but then it would!
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