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Art History, Penguin Concise Dictionary of Hardcover – December 1, 1999

3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Just what we all have been waiting for! An easy-to-read, scholarly yet not lofty, fascinating, and very well-organized book written for everyone and anyone interested in art history. The dictionary has an impressive board of editors, including Richard Brilliant (former editor in chief of The Art Bulletin) and Marilyn Stokstad (author of the newest major survey text, Art History), but in the end it was written in a single voice by Frazier, a former journalist and editor who has written widely on art. She broadens the scope of the traditional art-historical dictionary with a fresh, multidisciplinary perspective that successfully weaves in culture, politics, philosophy, psychology, technology, and economics for a well-rounded point of view. In 1500 entries--ranging from 35 to 600 words--the dictionary takes its subjects out of an art-historical vacuum and places art back in the context of the real world. Helpful cross references are written uppercase, and often an entry begins with an enlightening quote from the subject. The expansive range of entries includes Robert Mapplethorpe, Giotto di Bondone, mezzotint, fluxus, camera obscura, and baroque to name a few. Truly fun to read, this is most highly recommended for all libraries.
-Jennifer L.S. Moldwin, Detroit Inst. of Arts Lib.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This volume seeks to present an interdisciplinary approach to art history. It uses information from a number of fields, such as literature, psychology, history, geography, and economics, to give a cultural context to the changes in art. There are more than 1,500 alphabetically arranged entries, from very short (13 words) to substantial (several pages), encompassing such subjects as Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, the definition of plein air painting, and the use of tropology to study individual works of art.

Each biographical entry includes birth and death dates when known, nationality, medium used, and style of work or school of art. They also include an initial quotation, either by or about the individual. Entries for artists include a more detailed description of their style of art, materials used, a reference to one or more significant pieces of work, some biographical information, and associated artists or styles. Entries on specific styles or movements include the chronological period in which they flourished, a statement of the main tenets of that particular style or movement, and representative artists and works. See also references are included both within and between entries and are displayed in capital letters. First and last entries are indicated at the top of each page, and there is sufficient space to enable easy photocopying.

On the whole, this volume provides a good overview of art history, although illustrations would have made it more useful. Much of the information is available in other one-volume works, such as The Bulfinch Guide to Art History [RBB N 15 96] and The Oxford Dictionary of Art [RBB O 1 97]. Libraries that do not hold these other titles will find the Penguin effort to be an excellent ready-reference source, and it is recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670100153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670100156
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,479,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Some of the writing in this reference book I find extremely shallow, shoddy and unintelligent. Many entries are so poorly conceived and frequently miss the important points about an artist or category. On James Rosenquist, for example, the chief characterization of his art is written, "His colors are a gaudy, Day-Glo assault," without any mention of where or how this artist came to do what he did. Furthermore, the much of the research must have been poorly done, because there are factual errors in this book. For instance, the entry about Paul Klee states that he was denied French citizenship (who ever would have thought such a thing for an artist living in Berne, Switzerland, which celebrates his residency there!).
I will probably throw this book out.....
(Much better is the Yale Dictionary of Art and Artists.)
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Format: Hardcover
Nancy Frazier's Concise Dictionary of Art History is truly a boon to any art lover or student. The entries are informative and often leavened with great wit--not the dry academese that so often mars reference works. A fun book to curl up with on a rainy afternoon, whether you know anything--or everything--about art. Would make a great present.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a well-written, easy to use reference and the author's style is clear, understandable language. Museum goers in particular will especially appreciate it. My husband and I enjoytraveling around the country and we visit musems wherever we are. The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History is a marvelous resource that travels with us and one to which we frequently refer. Not only does it give information about the artists, but the quotations that accompany the write-ups help bring the artists to life. The Dictionary also makes a great gift. We gave a copy to a recent graduate who will be teaching art in hgh school and she was thrilled. In addition, we have been led to seek out other books by the author, Nancy Frazier, and are very impressed with her work.
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