From Library Journal
Phaidon Press has produced a much-improved edition of Sir Ernst Gombrich's classic narrative study of art history, which was first published in 1950. Among the many competing introductory texts?the central monuments of which are H.W. Janson's History of Art (Prentice, 1986. 4th. ed.) and Helen Gardner's Art Through the Ages (4th ed. o.p.)?Gombrich's venerable work has inhabited a unique niche, having been created specifically for newcomers to art. As his title indicates, he presents the whole of art history as a chronological narrative. Gombrich's voice is lively, opinionated, and almost conversational, yet his erudition shines through to make a book that is both accessible and informative. His premise, that the love of art, not the love of history, is the appropriate basis for its study is communicated directly with his irrepressible enthusiasm for certain masters and his passionate exasperation with 20th century nonobjective artists. While much of the text is unchanged, the format has been completely redesigned with vastly expanded illustrations, improved captions, better charts and an excellent index. This book belongs on every art-lover's bedside table, and even those libraries owning an earlier edition would not regret adding this refinement of an already first-rate work.?Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gombrich's The Story of Art
has been a treasured standard in the field, selling more than 4 million copies since its first edition in 1950. Now in its 16th edition and available for the first time in paperback, this comprehensive look at Western art from prehistoric times on up to the present has been completely redesigned and extensively revised and updated. In addition, the illustrations have all been enhanced, and a total of 443 are now in color. Gombrich is more than an authority, he's an advocate, and his love and deep respect for art infuse his invigorating text. In his discussion of twentieth-century art, for instance, Gombrich explains how even the most experimental contemporary art is connected in some way to what has gone before. Gombrich tells the story of art "as the story of a continuous weaving and changing of traditions in which each work refers to the past and points to the future." Gombrich's invaluable history is a veritable celebration of this "living chain." Donna Seaman