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Art (Annotated Guides) Hardcover – April 4, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA?An exploration of some of the world's great paintings, ranging from the works of 14th-century Giotto through the Renaissance and Baroque periods to Neo-Classicists and Romantics, on to the Impressionists and Cubists up to Picasso. Cumming describes and decodes each of 45 paintings by graphic commentary using six guidelines: the subject, the technique, the symbolism, space and light, historical style, and personal interpretation. Detailed sections of each painting are analyzed to point out symbols or obscure subjects, to locate unusual signings by the artist, and to describe materials used.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Cumming, chair of Christie's Education, London, takes readers on a guided tour of 45 of the Western world's great works of art. In typical Dorling Kindersley style?reflecting the influence of CD-ROMs, perhaps?each work is illustrated in full and surrounded by numerous excerpted details, sidebars, and annotations. Cumming succinctly discusses the subject, technique, symbolism, space and light elements, and historical style of each and adds his personal interpretation. For Hans Holbein's "The Ambassadors," for example, Cumming gives a short biography of the artist, explains the crises in Europe alluded to in the painting, and points out the odd form in the foreground. The latter, he explains, is a distorted death's-head that is meaningless if viewed from the front but from a certain angle takes the shape of a skull. While not as ambitious as Sister Wendy Beckett's The Story of Painting (LJ 11/15/94), this is an exciting introduction to painting for general collections at an attractive price.?Daniel J. Lombardo, Jones Lib., Amherst, Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Annotated Guides
  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: DK; 1st American ed edition (April 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564588483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0888503244
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.5 x 14.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a great introduction or review for adults or teens. Using famous works of art, in color sure beats the first art appreciation book I read in college which had drawings and black and white grainy photos. Even with a degree in art history, I found this book a great refresher.
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Format: Hardcover
I am only 13 years old and I have this book and I thought it was great. It really did explain art. I saw things that I actually wouldn't notice if I was explaining the picture. It was an interesting book and I enjoyed looking at it. It made me understand the pictures and made art funner and more interestig than it used to be. It was very interesting and I hope you buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I got interested in painting while I was living in Italy for a few months. Wish I had this book with me. Some noteable features:

1. Excellent color plates

2. Tastefully selected paintings, each showing a different nuance.

3. Not overly technical so it doesnt lose a layperson like me.

4. Has my favorite painting - The School of Athens, but thats a personal plus.

Unfortunately the nice large plates mean this book (though quite small in terms of number of pages) is not a size that would fit into a travel hand bag to take with you on a trip to see the paintings.

A good companion volume is the 50 greates painters which has paintings by many of the same painters but they complement each other.

eg: Birth of Venus (this book) and Coming of Spring both by Botticelli or Mona Lisa (this book) and Madonna of the Rocks.

Overall these books are both keepers.
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By A Customer on August 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is both fun and informative. Though the language may be pitched at a relatively easy level, there is nothing condescending about it. It is deeply informed, and even the professor will learn from it. Buy it without hesitation if you wish to learn about great paintings.
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By A Customer on April 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In all my years in school I never knew annotated art existed. If I had, art would have become a passion of mine a long time ago. Cummings's book provides such a detailed analytical look at art and explains why these paintings were so extraordinary for their time and teaches you to look beyond your first impression to what the artist had in mind, as well as what you yourself get out of it. Not only does he do this with words, but more importantly, he does it with highlighted areas of the painting and gives historical insight to it. I love art and appreciate it so much more now.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a student at Duke University and I discovered this book while in a classical studies course at Duke. Cumming's insight into Raphael's "The School of Athens" was very helpful. I soon bought this book and his one on Great Artists and have enjoyed learning from both of them. I love to learn but I am not that experienced in art history. This book was the perfect tool for a novice, such as myself.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book to use as a self-study course for art appreciation, to improve your knowledge of great artists or to study for a game show appearance. Each artist is represented by one painting which is then described (techniques, subject matter, history) in detail. For example you will learn all about Rembrant's Balshazzar's Feast. The story behind the painting, the meaning of "handwriting on the wall", the hebrew expression that is written, the people present in the painting (Rembrant's wife), you also get a short bit about each artist's life. I read the book cover to cover and learned so much. I have made it a goal to see as many of the painting as I can in each museum. Other members of my family have also enjoyed reading pages of the book. I first read this book as a library copy, but bought it to read, reread and share. I strongly recommend this as a book to someone who is into self improvement, or wants to learn about art for an appearance on Jeopardy!
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By A Customer on December 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I recieved this book as a gift, and since that time, I have become an avid art-lover. The painting selections are very tasteful, and the reproductions are fabulous! But the best part by far are the annotations. I never fail to be interested by them, no matter which painting I am looking at. This book keeps me engaged for hours, just reading the notes about the paintings. A supurb work.
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