- Hardcover: 688 pages
- Publisher: Phaidon Press; 16th Revised ed. edition (April 9, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780714833552
- ISBN-13: 978-0714833552
- ASIN: 071483355X
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.9 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 171 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #309,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Story of Art, 16th Edition Hardcover – April 9, 1995
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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
Top customer reviews
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The book is 600 pages with lots of pictures so he is covering about 5,000 years in about 90,000 words which means he understandably breezes through parts, leaving important artists and pieces unmentioned and not giving a very deep understanding of the social and political environment which spawned them. What I did was to read in front of my computer so that as he mentioned things, I could consult wikipedia or other sources for further information. I often wandered off reading of the Franco-Prussian War or the Annunciation but it all broadened my knowledge and I could also look at other works of an important artist.
As it is a survey work, I would recommend reading further about periods or artists which interest you but you will at least have a fledgling knowledge to begin.
It's worth noting that, with the exception of one chapter on Islamic and Chinese art, Gombrich covers western art almost exclusively. While this might be unsatisfying to some, I think sacrificing comprehensiveness is worth maintaining narrative flow.
My only complaint is that all the illustrations are lumped together in the back of the pocket edition. This necessitates constant flipping back and forth while reading. I suppose the publisher had to do this to keep the price low and the size small, but it becomes tiresome pretty quickly.
A few words on the pocket paperback edition. It is a gorgeously constructed book, with a matte jacket and two place-holding ribbons. The first section is the text, printed on bible-thickness paper in a nice typeface. The second part contains high-quality (but tiny) images of all the works referenced in the text, in the order that they are referenced. If possible, I would suggest buying one of the full-sized editions so you don't have to flip back and forth, and so that the images will be larger. However, those editions are a bit heavy to tote around all day.
will gain from this magnificent book.