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Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary Hardcover – October 20, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What must a big book of art contain to make it a great big book of art? Many color reproductions, including close-ups. A fluid mix of art history and interpretation set against the larger panorama of world history. Lots of brief artist bios. Clear and concise explanations of media, techniques, aesthetics, styles, and intent. A sense of continuity and stories of radical departures and infamous scandals. Works and artists the reader has never encountered before. A jump-starting foreword by an eloquent art historian, such as Ross King, who opens this exemplary volume, one that surpasses all the criteria above, by declaring, “Great art, more than anything else, is the benchmark of human achievement.” From the genuinely informative introductory primer, “Looking at Art,” to in-depth scrutiny of seminal works to overviews of universal and timeless themes, and a phenomenal array of artists past and present, this grand and exciting survey of the art of Europe and the U.S. with forays into Africa, Asia, India, South America, and Australia, should be the anchor for art collections of all sizes. --Donna Seaman


"ART is a standout book for any student or aficionado, a volume [Ross] King aptly describes as 'an admirable feat and a true joy.'" --BookPage, November, 2008

Chock-full of gorgeous color reproductions and images, helpful timelines, detailed close-ups, artists biographies, and with histories and explanations written in clear, concise prose, ART is a standout book for any student or aficionado, a volume [Ross] King aptly describes as an admirable feat and a true joy. --BookPage

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 612 pages
  • Publisher: DK; 56155th edition (October 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756639727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756639723
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.8 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I graduated in Social Anthropology and Visual Anthropology, and am currently working for a part-time, postgraduate degree in History - On the making of a revolutionary journalist.

After quickly realising that hardly anyone knew what Anthropology was, I tried documentary (arts therapy for mental health, dancing skeletons etc) and saving the world (Greenpeace, Oxfam, IVS etc) before combining those interests on a UN-sponsored magazine (TVE) and then moving into non-fiction/reference.

I've worked mostly in non-fiction publishing as a writer and editor. I now work for a start-up helping to produce and promote cutting-edge immersive thrillers for iPad.

I also translate from French in the hope that one day I might be allowed to resubtitle A Bout de Souffle.

Besides the titles listed here, I have covered a vast range of subjects, including history, art, religion, origami, and even anthropology, for encyclopedias and coffee tableweights with solid sounding names, such as, er, History and Art.

When I get a moment, I divide my spare time between attempting to resuscitate Marat's corpse, imagining James Dean and Marilyn Monroe on a first date, compiling soundtracks to non-existent films and watching too much Breaking Bad.
I used to surf but gave it up after falling over too many times.

I'm always open to interesting offers of work.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I downgrade this book primarily because its title strikes me as false advertising. Yes, it includes over 2500 color illustrations spread over 600 10-by-12-inch pages, but these are mostly very small images that do not allow their true appreciation as works of art. This is not an art book per se but a comprehensive historical reference work.

The vast majority of the volume is devoted to chronological listings of major artists. Individual painters and sculptors are given anywhere from a sixth of a page to a full page for a brief biography, a description of their milieu, and from one to a handful of photos of representative works. Occasional two-page spreads give readers a closer look at a particularly important piece, such as a Rembrandt self-portrait.

The book presents a good but brief introduction to art appreciation that illustrates the various things one must consider when evaluating artworks, such as subject, composition, perspective, light, shade, medium, color, and texture. There is a timeline at the beginning of each of the six periods of art that the book encompasses: before 1400, the 15th and 16th centuries, the 17th and 18th centuries, the 19th century, the early 20th century, and after 1945. These periods are further broken down into the predominant schools of the era. A glossary and index are included at the end.

This is by no means a bad book. As with all Dorling Kindersley titles, it is authoritatively written, and production values are superb. But understand what you are getting: a reference rather than an art book. On the other hand, if you want a beautiful, well-made, comprehensive book of art, I recommend "The Art Museum" by Phaidon Press, a 1,000-page oversized tome (approximately 19 x 14 x 3 inches) that weighs in at nearly 20 pounds and presents more than 2,500 carefully-selected artworks. It will cost you about $100, but your coffee table will thank you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Art: Over 2,500 Works vs. The Art Museum

I purchased both "Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary" (hereby referred to as "Art") from DK Publishing and "The Art Museum" from Phaidon Press, and found them to be very different books. In summary, if you are looking for a reference book, get "Art;" if you are looking for a visual guide, get "The Art Museum." If you are just looking for a single art book, get "Art."

If you drop "Art" at 7lbs., you won't necessarily bend the corners of the cover, and you can kind of awkwardly carry the book in your arms or in your lap. With "The Art Museum" at 18lbs., you will most certainly bend the corners of the cover if you do drop it, and you will need to read this book on a large, clear surface.

The paper of the pages of "Art" almost feel twice as thick of "The Art Museum," with "Art" having more of a glossy finish, while "The Art Museum" is more of a matte finish. This makes the pictures of "The Art Museum" a little easier to look at, at the cost of durability. Because the weight of the paper in "Art," this seems a much more hardy book. With "The Art Museum," I have to be extremely careful that I do not tear or crease the pages as I leaf through the book.

Hands-down, "The Art Museum" has done a much better job in reproducing the original colors of the artworks. "Art's" pictures, when comparing the same paintings, seem washed-out and under-saturated. And as written by other reviewers, without a doubt, the pictures in "Art" are far too small to be of any real aesthetic use. The large format of "The Art Museum" allows pictures to be seen in far more detail than in "Art," as "The Art Museum's pictures are generally four times as large as those found in "Art.
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Format: Hardcover
We were impressed by Phaidon's '30,000 years of art'. Then our colleague brought this DK publication to our attention. WOW! DK known for their quick summary books and children education material went world class with this tome. A large handsome book which definitively covers the span of art from cave works to contemporary.

A beginning section details how artists use different means and media to bring their inspirations to fruition.

Then the bulk of the book presents each artistic movement - from renaissance to impressionism to pop and abstract (and so much more). Techniques, styles, influences. Interesting anectdotes and stories along with characteristics of individual themes.

We enjoyed the accompanying graphics, comparasins, overlays, and detailed close-ups.

More than 2500 beautifully reproduced works by more than 700 artists in all the different media.

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life" (Picasso).... Indeed this book shall refresh you after a grey listless day malaise.

A very accessible and engaging comprehensive book.. . . ... An art joy not to be passed up! An essential global gallery for your art book collection.
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Format: Hardcover
About the only thing I can say in the negative about this compendium is that space constraints allow only a few large reproductions. Older eyes need a magnifying glass to get much more than a brief glance at too many of the images. Those of us who are familiar with most of these artworks will be a little disappointed, but pleased to see familiar faces, no matter how small. I only am concerned for the audience who has no prior art appreciation background, that their initial introduction to so many of these pieces has to be so small. However, in fairness, to properly present this art, the book would have had to cost easily $200-300, instead of the reasonable $40. Kudos for the choices and write-up, all the same.
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