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50 Artists You Should Know Paperback – September 25, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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From the Inside Flap

This vibrant reference guide profiles 50 major artists alongside their representative works. The entries are presented in an eye-catching format that includes brief biographies, time lines, and critical analyses.

About the Author

Thomas Koster has worked as a journalist, author, and editor. He heads an editorial office for lexical projects. Lars Roper has worked as a freelance author, travel writer, and exhibition curator. He is director of a foundation for educational projects.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Prestel (September 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3791337165
  • ISBN-13: 978-3791337166
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David P. Ellis on December 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Presented chronologically and covering the last 700+ years, this book focuses exclusively on painters from Europe and the US, so those interested in non-Western artists (e.g., Hokusai) or other forms of art (e.g., sculpture, pottery, etc.) should look elsewhere. Each of the 50 artists is granted a 4-page layout, with the first left page being prints of the artist's most well-known paintings and the right facing page a written description of the artist, along with a small portrait of the artist. The following two pages have either a larger two-page spread of a single painting or a couple of smaller photos. While the chosen paintings are representative of the artist's most famous works, the written descriptions are sometimes lacking in the kind of information I consider most useful.

Note that I don't object to the brevity of the information, but to the content. For example, I would prefer a brief description of artist's life, along with a description of each painting and why it's significant, much like a docent would on a museum tour. However, most of the content focuses only on the former, with descriptions of the latter appearing only infrequently. This is really disappointing to me because these descriptions are so good when they do appear (e.g., pointing out the reflections of the King & Queen of Spain in the mirror in Velasquez's "Ladies-in-Waiting" painting). Put another way, this book tells you about 50 artists you should know (as the title suggests), but not WHY we should know them!

On a positive note, one of the best features of the book is the timeline across the top of each two-page spread. The timeline places each artist within the context of his/her artistic peers (Michaelangelo with Titian & Raphael), the relevant artistic period (e.g.
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Format: Paperback
50 Artists You Should Know features 50 "Western" artists over an array of styles and eras. Selected artists include well-known masters such as da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Michelango, as well as modern artists like Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. The book is arranged chronologically, beginning with Giotto di Bondone in the 1300's and ending with contemporary painter David Hockney.

Four pages are dedicated to most of the artists, though a small selection have only been given two. The first page is typically one of their most famous pieces, but in some cases multiple works are highlighted. The facing page includes a depiction of the artist, a timeline of his life, and a brief biography. Across the top of the two pages is a timeline showing how the artist's life fits in amongst world events of his time. For most of the artists, the next two pages contain more of their work.

The back of 50 Artists You Should Know includes a short glossary of terminology, and there are other small boxes of information scattered throughout the book, giving the reader more details on topics such as Pointilism, Baroque art, and the Reformation. Because it is designed as an overview of artists throughout the centuries, this book includes artwork that will appeal to anyone - and many pieces that will appeal to very few. Tucked in among da Vinci's Mona Lisa; Jan Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring; and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, are various paintings featuring nudes; The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David; and Joan Miro's decidely abstruse surrealism. While every picture may not be to everyone's taste, the book does its job of educating the reader on the evolution of art and the artists whose works fill our galleries.
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Format: Paperback
As a grade school art teacher (part-time) I always have to search and look around for some famous art pieces to inspire my students. I usually go on google or if I am in a real jam I look through some old artist's catalogs and find what I need. Sometimes the art is good but the artist is a little hazy with history and story. Remember that these are kids that are 10-14 years old. I have to get their attention. I try to pick some interesting paintings yet I have to censor some of the more adult themed ones. I teach at a Catholic Grade school.

I finally found the book I needed and wanted. This is 95% of what I was looking for. Lots of history, lots of pictures and plenty of give to make copies and not break the book. Granted there are some paintings that are not appopriate for children but for the most part they are pretty good. Plus there is a snapshot of what the artists look like as painted by themselves, so that was neat too.

My only qualms for not being a 5 star rating is that it was originally printed in German and the language is a little stilted. Also the binding is a little loose and could wear out in time. Plus the few paintings that are unmentionable because of unmentionable themes (ahem). Remember I teach kids. Do you want your son or daughter really getting the whole scope of Bottacilli's Venus? Alrighty then.

So it is a good and sub-par great resource book and I recommend it to all art teachers!
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As the title suggests, this book is a very brief introduction to 50 various painters from before the Renaissance to modern day painters. On average, the author devotes 2-3 pages to every artist. The writing is clear and very enjoyable. So if you're looking for a short and fun book to read in order to obtain basic knowledge of the world's most exciting painters, this book will be just great for you.
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