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The Story of Art: Pocket Edition Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1044 pages
  • Publisher: HOLT MCDOUGAL; Pocket edition (October 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714847038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714847030
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 2.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'This is a book which, widely read as it will certainly be, may well affect the thought of a generation. Gombrich writes conversationally and intimately. His learning, though very perceptible to any student of the subject, is worn lightly, but he has something new to say on almost every subject. He can illuminate with a few words the whole atmosphere of a period.' T J Boase, Times Literary Supplement, reviewing the 1st edition, 27 January 1950 'The country's bestselling book on art, never out of print, still in demand (and not just by students) and one of the few "gift books" that actually gets read. The work is not so simplistic as the title implies, but it is this very title that rendered the book enormously attractive in 1950 to a new sort of book buyer: the self-educator. This field was set to grow, publishers eagerly wooing punters into buying the one big book on every impossibly massive but key subject. But with Gombrich, art was all sewn up.' The Times

From the Publisher

Renowned not only as the best concise introduction to art history, but also as a classic of art historical literature, this text reflects the vast knowledge, insights, and expertise of one of this century's greatest art historians and thinkers. Extensively illustrated, it treats the history of art -- both chronologically and geographically -- as a continuous unfolding story. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, OM, CBE (30 March 1909 - 3 November 2001) was an Austrian-born art historian who spent most of his working life in the United Kingdom. He is the author of many works of art criticism and art history. (Photograph: Pino Guidolotti)

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book if you need an introduction to art.
Oivind
The prose is masterfully written and the analysis he presents is very accessible.
"karnas84"
Now in its 16th updated edition, this book is already a classic.
M. B. Alcat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 107 people found the following review helpful By "karnas84" on December 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am currently taking an introductory art history class, and Gombrich's THE STORY OF ART is the textbook. This book was an absolute pleasure to read, as I found myself going beyond the assigned readings. I finished the entire book from beginning to end within the span of two weeks!
Even if you aren't very interested in art history, THE STORY OF ART remains a must read; at worst, you will be entertained, and at best you will gain an entirely new perspective on art. The prose is masterfully written and the analysis he presents is very accessible. He discusses everything from ancient Greek sculpture to Renaissance painting to modern architecture. The reproductions of the artwork in the book are also extremely good (there are several high-quality fold-out pages included, such as one of Leonardo's Last Supper pre-restoration). I was very pleased with both the amount and breadth of coverage he provided.
Even though I haven't read any other introductory art history books, I find it hard to believe that any other book could do the job as well as Gombrich has done it here. I would highly recommend THE STORY OF ART to anyone who wants an art history primer.
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
Gombrich's book has a very specific purpose: he wants to tell the history of art as a continuous story, focusing on Western art and its gradual approach to the visual world. In strong contrast to most other art history texts, Gombrich's book has a thesis, and therefore an argument. In choosing among the various alternates (Janson, Gardner, Stokstad, etc.) it is important to bear this in mind. The size and compression of his book is not its salient feature from a
philosophic standpoint: it is the presence of an authorial voice, and a continuous narrative. Most other survey texts give up the ideal of coherent exposition in favor of a neutral descriptive voice and a fragmented "story" that
continuously interrupts itself in order not to lose any essential historical detail.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Alishya Kovalevych on July 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I must say that this is the best comprehensive art historical book that I have ever come across. It's actually a book that I have been reading more for pleasure than for study, and I recommend it to anyone who is even remotely interested in painting, architecture or any artistic elements. The photos are fantastically sharp and accurately placed near if not next to the corresponding text and in no way is it difficult to read or understand. The author writes as if he were explaining it to the reader for the first time, but it does not feel elementary in any way. An excellent book with fantastic promise. I have learned much with very little effort - the best way to study!!
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Kennedy VINE VOICE on November 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having already been exposed to art history and criticism, I felt at times that this book was overly simplistic. (It was originally written for "young people" after all...) What was harder for me to appreciate were the frequent passages in which Gombrich gives vent to his own personal opinions (gushing on about Rubens for instance.) He makes a token effort to be objective but his Eurocentric bias toward the superiority of Classically-inspired Renaissance art is clear.

However, as an introduction to Art History and Art Appreciation, you could do a lot worse. Gombrich is easy to read, he states himself clearly, he presents the history of art (in Europe) as a steady evolution of ideas, rather than a compartmentalized series of Eras & Styles as so many academic textbooks do. He selected illustrations that most effectively elucidate his point. Useful as his book is, it would be a mistake to treat him as a final authority on the subject. _The Story of Art_ is merely an INTRODUCTION to art. Once Dr. Gombrich has opened the door for you, you should leave him behind and continue your explorations on your own, or at least with a different guide. Form your own opinions; that's part of the experience of art.

About the Pocket Edition specifically: The text is in the front (printed on very thin "Bible" paper) and the illustrations are in the back. Phaidon has provided two built-in ribbon bookmarks so you can keep your place in both sections. It's an interesting solution for making the book smaller. I can vouch for the fact that it's easy to carry around, since I took it with me on two trips while reading it, but the arrangement does have its drawbacks.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ida Kotyuk on January 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Originally, Dr. Gombrich intended (in the 1940s) for this book to be read by high school students; or as he writes "young people." Since then, The Story of Art became popular and his book mushroomed into several languages and editions. Because his language is non-fussy and non-scholarly, I have recommended this book to many non-artist friends; none of whom could get beyond the first few pages. So the reader may need some art background. But if you want to know why the Egyptians chose to draw as they did, or why Gothic art and architecture looks as it does (or "what's THAT all about?"), then this is the book for you. I have reread the book three times and may reread it one or two times more before I go to that great studio in the sky.
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