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Art History, Volume I Paperback – Unabridged, July 27, 1995

45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0133575002 ISBN-10: 0133575004 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This attractively packaged two-volume set attempts an almost impossible task: to present the art of the entire world, from vibrant cave paintings dating back 30,000 years to the creative trends of the late 20th century. Though the arts of Europe are the most thoroughly analyzed, respected scholars in several specialized fields cover other cultures with cogent essays. A more unusual feature is the space devoted to art created by women, such as the late-Renaissance painters Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana--the latter was invited in 1560 to be an official painter at the Spanish court. Relationships between the art of different cultures are emphasized and, while each section can stand alone, each is shown to fit meaningfully into the overall development of the world's artistic heritage. Beautiful images grace the production's 1,200 pages, not only well-known icons but a wealth of lesser-known gems are here, carefully chosen to demonstrate the points made in the text. There are many delightful surprises among the illustrations, many of which are in color, printed to high quality standards in Japan. For instance, line drawings explain technical details, from "Lost-wax Bronze-casting" to "Elements of the Skyscraper." A vast amount of information is presented, but it is very well organized and easy to access, and an extensive glossary answers many questions. Marilyn Stokstad's Art History is a true tour de force, and its light and humanistic approach is a refreshing change from previous encyclopedic art-historical studies. --John Stevenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Destined to establish itself as a modern classic, this hugely informative, wholly enjoyable global history of art from prehistoric times to the present views art as a fundamental, inextricable vehicle for the human spirit. Although Western visual art and architecture receive the most attention, there is also extensive coverage of India, China, Japan, Africa, Islamic art and Pacific cultures. Few texts so wide-rangingly connect the artistic output of each period to the artists' lives, sources of funding and historical, social and political context. The 1625 stunning illustrations (761 in color) are unrivaled in their adventurous selection and quality by any book of this type. Time lines chart parallel developments across cultures and civilizations; inserts spotlight literary and intellectual trends and artists' techniques. Stokstad, art history professor at the University of Kansas, has produced both a college text and a layperson's guide that is more fun than H.W. Janson's standard History of Art, and more multicultural.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Art History (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall College Div; 1 edition (July 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0133575004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0133575002
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,684,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
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.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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60 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 1997
Format: 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 By Dirk Diggler on September 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By Carson on May 13, 2007
Format: 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 By A Customer on August 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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