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Universal Principles of Art: 100 Key Concepts for Understanding, Analyzing, and Practicing Art Hardcover – November 15, 2014
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From the Publisher
Universal Principles of Art:
A compositional pleasure: Johannes Vermeer (1632–75) Woman Holding a Balance, c. 1664, Oil on Canvas, 155/8 × 14 in (39.7 × 35.5 cm). A woman holds a delicate gold balance while the vertical line of the frame behind her exactly bisects the canvas. The painting celebrates balance both in its composition and subject matter.
Skill, expertise, and workmanship: Edward Burne Jones (1833–98) and William Morris (1834–96) David’s Charge to Solomon, 1882, Stained-glass, about 80 × 80 in (200 × 200 cm). The Arts and Crafts movement inspired the painter Burne-Jones to engage in traditional crafts such as stained glass.
Trading beauty and repose for excitement and movement: Jacopo Pontormo (1494–1557) Joseph in Egypt, 1518, Oil on canvas, 175/16 × 195/16 in (44 × 49 cm) Pontormo’s composition breaks away from the repose of High Renaissance models by introducing frenetic movement and sweeping lines. Figures are elongated unnaturally and postures are somewhat forced.
Knocking the viewer’s socks off Art: Jeff Koons (1955–) Puppy, 1992, 488 × 327 × 358 in (1,240 × 830 × 910 cm), Steel framework coated with fresh flowers. Installed at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain.
"John A. Parks published Universal Principles of Art: 100 Key Concepts for Understanding, Analyzing, and Practicing Art, an elegantly-designed compendium of "one hundred principles, fundamental ideas and approaches to making art, that will guide, challenge and inspire any artist to make better, more focused art." The writing is simple, clear English with each chapter remaining brief enough to be read in a few minutes. In all it gives a solid overview of the world of art and art making." - LINEA
About the Author
John A. Parks trained at the Royal College of Art in London in the 1970's and subsequently pursued a career in New York, exhibiting his work with several of the most renowned art galleries in the city. His work has received considerable critical acclaim, including a review in the New York Times by Roberta Smith, the chief art critic. Parks' paintings are represented in a number of museum collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design. Parks has been a member of the faculty at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 1979 teaching a broad array of courses in painting and drawing at every level, from undergraduate to post-graduate. He has also taught courses for adults for many years amassing wide experience in presenting approaches to making art to people of every background and time of life. In the early 90's Parks began to write for the art magazines using a concise and lucid style that makes his writing highly accessible to a broad audience. He has since written more than 150 feature articles for publications such as American Artist Magazine, Drawing Magazine, Watercolor Magazine as well as pieces for the New York Times. His writing has explored very broad array of subjects, ranging from profiles of contemporary artists such as Lucien Freud and Wayne Thiebaud, to historical figures such as Rubens, Raphael and Whistler. His writings on art technique again cover considerable ground including a major article on the painting technique of Vel\u00e1zquez as well as pieces on quill pen drawing, watercolor and gouache techniques. Parks also published a regular column on the business of art in American Artist Magazine.
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The information in the book is organized, readable and straightforward. There are two pages dedicated to each of 100 “universal principles of art”. The left hand page is an informative, yet concise written explanation of a specific idea. The right hand page displays well chosen, high quality visual images exemplifying that topic.
The key concepts are actually presented in alphabetical order. There is no need to read one topic before any other, so it is easy to browse the book. Topics range from art making techniques, to movements in art history, to universal concepts connecting artistic endeavors throughout human existence. As the title indicates, there is a lot of information in this book, but it is presented to us in a palatable manner.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in: studying ART, teaching ART, making ART, understanding ART, discussing ART, viewing ART, but mostly for enjoying ART. I plan to buy copies for friends who claim, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” This books provides clues about why we like what we like.
Beautifully designed, and smartly written, this is a welcome addition to any artist's bookshelf.