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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece...
Marilyn Stokstad has put together a real masterpiece of art history with her book, Art History. In collaboration with Bradford Collins, and with contributed chapters from Stephen Addiss, Chu-tsing Li, Marylin Rhie and Christopher Roy, this large volume published by noted art publishers Henry N. Abrams, Inc. is deserving of pride of place on any art bookshelf.
The...
Published on May 17, 2003 by FrKurt Messick

versus
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book's purpose
Stokstad's book is an excellent teaching tool and resource, as the printed reviews suggest; but it is important to note that it is also the latest product of a series of late 20th century art history texts that have aimed at encyclopedic range. The price that is paid for such vast coverage is narrative purpose: older surveys of
art history, from Vasari to the early...
Published on January 29, 1997


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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece..., May 17, 2003
Marilyn Stokstad has put together a real masterpiece of art history with her book, Art History. In collaboration with Bradford Collins, and with contributed chapters from Stephen Addiss, Chu-tsing Li, Marylin Rhie and Christopher Roy, this large volume published by noted art publishers Henry N. Abrams, Inc. is deserving of pride of place on any art bookshelf.
The scope of this work is as broad as is the expanse of human history. Indeed, the first chapter begins with a survey of prehistoric art and prehistory. Spanning all the ancient cultures, there are chapters devoted to the art of the ancient Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, Etruscan and Roman art, Christian, Jewish and Byzantine art, Islamic art, the art of India, China, Japan, the Americas and Africa. And from there, it gets complicated!
This book tackles all the issues of art: philosophical considerations (the relationship between art and reality, and the meaning and importance of beauty in art), focus on artists in general and in particular, society's relationship to art, including the role of the patron, the importance of museums, and an investigation that goes behind the phrase, 'I know what I like.'
'Art history, in contrast to art criticism, combines the formal analysis of works of art--concentrating mainly on the visual elements in the work of art--with the study of the works' broad historical context. Art historians draw on biography to learn about artists' lives, social history to understand the economic and political forces shaping artists, their patrons, and their public, and the history of ideas to gain an understanding of the intellectual currents influencing artists' work.'
In addition to presenting a history of art, Stokstad and her contributors also present an introduction to various aspects of art appreciation, without with art history loses much meaning. Each chapter has an explanation of the techniques that were developed and important during the time under examination (for instance, lost wax casting, glassamking and Egyptian faience, Japanese woodblock technique, and Islamic carpet making, among many others, are illustrated in detail to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the finished art works). Each chapter and time period also has a section entitled Elements of Architecture, which include discussion on elements from pyramids to skyscrapers and much in between.
The text is clear and concise, carefully explaining technical terms when they are used, and then using them sparingly. Every page is a visual feast, with full colour plates of photographs of paintings, sculpture, artists, locations, or architectural examples in great form, as Henry N. Abrams, Inc. publishers are famous for doing. There are literally thousands of illustrations, as there are often many per page; almost no page is without one, and the book is nearly 1200 pages long.
As an aid for those who will use this book for more scholarly purposes, there is an extensive bibliography in the back, in three classifications of listings -- general surveys and art history references, a selected list of art history journals, and then a chapter-specific directory of further reading for each art topic/period. Additionally, it has after the bibliography as Website Directory of Museums, which includes museums in every state in the United States and most major museums around the world. The index includes listings by artist, period, topic, and particular works of art.
This book has been intended to be useful as a text for a course in art appreciation, but also designed to be a joy to read for the casual reader who might not want an academically rigourous presentation. As Stokstad says in her preface, the intention was make this book itself a work of art, and in that task she has succeeded admirably.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb overview & reference!, May 4, 2003
By A Customer
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This book is simply wonderful. It is indeed physically ponderous (this 2nd edition is one very, very large book, not two slipcased books as shown in some illustrations). However, its content easily compensates for its considerable bulk. All historical periods of art history are chronicled, with copious illustrations well-produced and nearly all in color. The text is incisive and easy to follow, yet never boring.
I recommend this book to any and all art lovers, whether beginners, advanced students, or just those who desire a comprehensive reference for library or home use. I personally consider this publication a better choice than the otherwise excellent Janson "History of Art" for most readers-- the writing is just more user-friendly, in my opinion (and the content is more inclusive, especially regarding non-Western art).
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58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book's purpose, January 29, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Art History (Hardcover)
Stokstad's book is an excellent teaching tool and resource, as the printed reviews suggest; but it is important to note that it is also the latest product of a series of late 20th century art history texts that have aimed at encyclopedic range. The price that is paid for such vast coverage is narrative purpose: older surveys of
art history, from Vasari to the early 20th century, were attempts to tell the story of art history from certain points of view, and for specific purposes. Art was literally a story: it had beginnings, a middle, and an end, and it had good and bad characters, and a plot.

Never before in history has it seemed a good idea to avoid judging cultures and artworks. The neutrality that texts such as this one achieve is sometimes a worthy corrective to prejudices about other periods and cultures; but it also gives us an emotionally neutral (or uniform) picture of artworks that were never--either in their makers' eyes, or in the judgments of contemporaneous historians--the objects of neutral description. In choosing an art survey text, therefore, it may sometimes make sense to augment a
book like Stokstad's with an historically more normative, and rhetorically more "biased," history such as Ernst Gombrich's "Story of Art." (See my review of the new edition.)
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for $30 version (only a study guide), September 20, 2004
The $30 version is too good to be true. Although it would appear that you are ordering an "attractively packaged two-volume set," you are actually ordering a study guide for what I am sure is an attractively packaged two-volume set.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Art Historical Survey Book and Source for Further Reading, May 13, 2007
This review is from: Art History (Hardcover)
Although large and weighty, the book is beautifully packaged and binded. The quality of the text is certainly worth the cost. Stokstad's Art History briefly covers the history of art from pre-historic to contemporary early 21st century art. The types of art range from medieval to roccoco with several chapters covering non-western art (Chinese, Japanese, African, Pre-Columbian, etc..). In addition to the wide range of material, the author provides a text that is an excellent source of definitions for art terms and a substantial bibiliography. Although it is only a survey of a variety of art, the bibiliography is an excellent source for locating other texts for further reading on the topic of your interest.

Most importantly, the cd-rom that comes with the book contains both a study guide and the images of the excellent illustrations which are found throughout of text.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art History: Second Edition, August 15, 2002
By A Customer
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After taking an art history class, I found this book to be very handy in many ways, although if preparing for an AP test, it does leave some major works of art out. I found using The Annotated Mona Lisa, and Janson's Art History also helped majorly in preparing for the AP test.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, January 12, 2006
Marilyn Stokstad has put together a real masterpiece of art history with her book, Art History. In collaboration with Bradford Collins, and with contributed chapters from Stephen Addiss, Chu-tsing Li, Marylin Rhie and Christopher Roy, this large volume published by noted art publishers Henry N. Abrams, Inc. is deserving of pride of place on any art bookshelf.

The scope of this work is as broad as is the expanse of human history. Indeed, the first chapter begins with a survey of prehistoric art and prehistory. Spanning all the ancient cultures, there are chapters devoted to the art of the ancient Near East, Egypt, the Aegean, Etruscan and Roman art, Christian, Jewish and Byzantine art, Islamic art, the art of India, China, Japan, the Americas and Africa. And from there, it gets complicated!

This book tackles all the issues of art: philosophical considerations (the relationship between art and reality, and the meaning and importance of beauty in art), focus on artists in general and in particular, society's relationship to art, including the role of the patron, the importance of museums, and an investigation that goes behind the phrase, 'I know what I like.'

'Art history, in contrast to art criticism, combines the formal analysis of works of art--concentrating mainly on the visual elements in the work of art--with the study of the works' broad historical context. Art historians draw on biography to learn about artists' lives, social history to understand the economic and political forces shaping artists, their patrons, and their public, and the history of ideas to gain an understanding of the intellectual currents influencing artists' work.'

In addition to presenting a history of art, Stokstad and her contributors also present an introduction to various aspects of art appreciation, without with art history loses much meaning. Each chapter has an explanation of the techniques that were developed and important during the time under examination (for instance, lost wax casting, glassamking and Egyptian faience, Japanese woodblock technique, and Islamic carpet making, among many others, are illustrated in detail to enhance the knowledge and appreciation of the finished art works). Each chapter and time period also has a section entitled Elements of Architecture, which include discussion on elements from pyramids to skyscrapers and much in between.

The text is clear and concise, carefully explaining technical terms when they are used, and then using them sparingly. Every page is a visual feast, with full colour plates of photographs of paintings, sculpture, artists, locations, or architectural examples in great form, as Henry N. Abrams, Inc. publishers are famous for doing. There are literally thousands of illustrations, as there are often many per page; almost no page is without one, and the book is nearly 1200 pages long.

As an aid for those who will use this book for more scholarly purposes, there is an extensive bibliography in the back, in three classifications of listings -- general surveys and art history references, a selected list of art history journals, and then a chapter-specific directory of further reading for each art topic/period. Additionally, it has after the bibliography as Website Directory of Museums, which includes museums in every state in the United States and most major museums around the world. The index includes listings by artist, period, topic, and particular works of art.

This book has been intended to be useful as a text for a course in art appreciation, but also designed to be a joy to read for the casual reader who might not want an academically rigourous presentation. As Stokstad says in her preface, the intention was make this book itself a work of art, and in that task she has succeeded admirably.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fabulous-A Must Have for ANY Art Historian!, April 24, 2007
This review is from: Art History (Hardcover)
I was instructed to buy this book for my art history class here at Concordia College. I initially cringed at the price, but after purchasing the oversized book I was amazed at what I saw. The glossy, large pictures are surrounded by information that you wouldn't find anywhere online. It's written intelligently, but you don't feel as though you were being spoken down to. The images are high quality and can be accessed on the CDRom, and the information is extremely useful and easy to understand. I didn't feel like I was reading a textbook when I used this book, in fact I found myself reading some of it for fun (as nerdy as that might sound). All in all it's a fabulous book that any student or art historian should at least take a look at. It's worth the price!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One thick book., February 22, 2007
This review is from: Art History (Hardcover)
This book is chocked full of good art history information from the cave paintings in Lascaux to pieces from the early 2000's (nothing from the early 2000's that I'm familiar with, but there is a bit included). There are plenty of good pictures included in the book, and the CD-ROM seems like it would be really helpful for studying slides for art history tests, although i haven't done that yet. This book is pricey, yet its a good reference book for all those into art and art history. (plus its fun to look at even for those who aren't really into art (a good coffee table book after you've forgotten how much it cost??)) Well written material so I would recommend buying it if you are serious about art history.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gender & ethnic inclusive art history survey at last!, February 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Art History (Hardcover)
A beautifully written and organized, gender and ethnic inclusive survey of the world's art history, east and west. Since almost all early art was made in and through a spiritual tradition, there is here much needed art historical attention to the basic teachings of world religions. Also included are special sections on art methods and materials, providing an excellent survey for studio as well as history of art majors. Richly gender inclusive -- give this to your daughter if she wants to be a sculptor, an architect, a printer or painter!
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Art History, Combined (3rd Edition)
Art History, Combined (3rd Edition) by Stephen Addiss (Hardcover - February 15, 2007)
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