on May 16, 2013
Containing around a thousand paintings, this book serves as a great guide to a huge number of artists and artistic movements. The book is split into six main categories (prehistory, antiquity, middle ages, renaissance, baroque and modern times) and the chronological ordering is useful in charting the changes in painting techniques and styles across the ages. Just flicking through I found it fascinating to see how trends and motifs recurred and then disappeared between artists and their peers/successors.
Focussing on such a large timeframe I thought the book was balanced and didn't place unnecessary emphasis on one art movement over another. I also thought in spite of the sheer number of paintings collected, they were laid out well and rarely appeared to crowd the page, and the reproductions are great (especially given the price). Dipping in and out of the text, it seems to provide a decent overview of the various art movements and ages over the years.
Overall, I found this chunky book to be a great overview of painting and painters from across the ages and think it would equally work as a teaching tool or a book for browsing through at home.