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30,000 Years of Art: The Story of Human Creativity Across Time and Space Hardcover – October 22, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This enormous, extraordinary collection brings together 1000 high-quality color illustrations, showcasing the evolution of creative arts over diverse cultures from prehistoric to modern times. Arranged chronologically, each piece is given its own page and a condensed summary of its provenance, key features and cultural context. Book-ended by a ritual "lion man" figurine from 28,000 B.C. found in a cave in southern Germany, and an as-yet-unfinished environmental sculpture by American artist James Turrell (materials: "Extinct volcano and light"), it also contains two time-lines, one covering major movements in the 13 cultures represented (Mesopotamia, Iran and the Arabian Peninsula; Anatolia and the Eastern Mediterranean; Egypt and Africa; Europe; North America; Central America and the Caribbean; South America; Oceania; Japan; Korea; China; Southeast Asia; and Central Asia) and another comprised of a 28 page horizontal index that sets each piece against major world events. A 10-page glossary and comprehensive index completes this invaluable resource. Ably capturing the ancient and insuppressible creative drive of the human spirit and the sweep of history, this is a book art-lovers and cultural anthropologists-scholars and laypeople alike-are guaranteed to cherish.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

'1,000 beautiful plates ... illustrate such a variety of objects that even the most erudite reader is bound to find something new.' The Sunday Telegraph 'one for the cultured armchair traveller looking for inspiration for future journeys.' The Times 'This enormous tome of encyclopedic proportions is an essential addition to any library.' The Bookseller 'this is a book art-lovers and cultural anthropologists-scholars and laypeople alike-are guaranteed to cherish.' Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1072 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; First edition (October 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714847895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714847894
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 4 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

This book is beautifully done with one color image on each page.
Amazon Customer
I too am reading my way through this mamouth book and am enjoying the trip.
Robert Busko
I'd recommend this to anyone interested in art history and world history.
ash

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Beverly M. Carl on November 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With great cynicism, I bought this book at the Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, NM where I am a docent. By arranging pieces from around the world according to time periods, a whole new perspective evolves. Very exciting to see what's happening in different places at different times around the globe. The images and their placement is first rate. Having recently returned from Papua New Guinea, I was especially interested in those pieces--they are stunning. Thank you Phaidon.
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Howard Mcpherson on December 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought I was familiar with art history but nearly everything shown in this book was new to me. The book has a fair amount of art from the first 25000 years. The book covers a wide variety of art types and locations. It is not simply a review of European art but includes Asian, and some African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian art. The book does not have references so that following up on a piece of art will involve art dictionaries, monographs and the internet. MAGNIFICENT
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mike Ventura on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was surprised by the fine image quality and the concise, but informative text accompanying the images. I am actually reading this book as I would a novel. What makes it especially interesting is that it is in chronological order, so the reader can compare art from different regions that was made contemporaneously. Please note, I was NOT an art major and am surprised at how interesting I have found this book to be.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert Busko VINE VOICE on December 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Two things make 30,000 Years of Art a surprising book. First, the photography. Absolutely worth the purchase of the book. Second, the organization. Organized in chronological order, the reader is allowed to make comparisons between cultures. Wonderful. Also, the text accompanying the photos is concise and extremely informative.

I too am reading my way through this mamouth book and am enjoying the trip.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
30,000 Years of Art is a hard-to-beat collection of 1,000 works of art that will bring you in touch with hundreds of works that you've never seen before. It's like taking 50 trips to museums you've never visited before.

If you are used to seeing the art canon displayed in a certain way, this book will expand your horizons. I was amazed at how many prehistoric works are just as abstract and "modern" as works I see produced today. The repetition of themes (such as the ubiquitous pregnant female) across cultures was also fascinating.

One of the nice surprises was that small objects are illustrated to scale so you approximate the experience of seeing the object in a museum from one angle.

I was also pleased by the large page size that allows larger works to be represented in a way that made more detail available to see. The drawback to the book is that there are no foldouts which would have many many of the enormous screens and sculptures easier to see in detail.

I found the book to be most rewarding in showing me art from countries that I seldom see works from and for providing lots of prehistoric works.

From a religious point of view the book is pretty ecumenical in terms of the major religions (except those that frown on literally representing what's on Earth).

Don't think, however, that this book will replace buying other art books. Many obvious world favorites aren't in this book. I don't know if it was for reasons of economy (reproduction rights being costly for important works) or to expand our horizons. I mentally "looked" at those works where they fell in chronological order.

The photography and printing are excellent. Bravo!

The main drawback is that the book is very heavy. I found that I could most comfortably read it in a recliner with a pillow to help hold up the heavier side.

If you decide to give only one art book as a gift this year, this is the book to give!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By ash on January 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I remember as a little girl, I'd grab my big sister's copy of the Janson art book and peruse it for hours. As I got older I realized how much of the world the book missed. So imagine my surprise to find this among my birthday presents. I am not a professional artist or archaeologist, but have long enjoyed reading about both fields. This book more than fills my interest in both. What amazes me is the age of some of these pieces, and how the editors included these from around the world, not just western countries. I was also impressed by the text, giving just enough information, describing the piece and putting it in context with others. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in art history and world history. I'd also recommend this to anyone who knows little about art, but is still interested in it.

BTW I had to laugh at the last few examples, of 'art' in the 1990s. Dear lord, if in 30,000 years someone looks at those examples, they are going to think that we actually went backwards in our ability to express ourselves through artistic means.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By AK on January 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been hoping for a book that truly includes numerous cultures equally in the history of art. Most art history books focus on Europe, but this one give beautiful illustrations of works from all over the world. I teach art history and this is now our text. There are amazing works that I have never seen before and the images are great. Each has a short bit of written information which is just perfect for people that are learning about these various cultures and their art. The binding is an issue if you use the book a great deal as I do. The unfortunate size in order to create this inclusive book makes it a problem to open and close a lot. I might have made it a 2 volume book set in a box although then Phaidon would not be able to sell it so inexpensively.
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