Posted 20 hours ago

The Art Book: New Edition

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It's for such an audience/reader that this book is great, to get acquainted (to pick a sample of names) to "older" (say, born before mid nineteenth century) artists like Hendrick Avercamp, Honore Daumier, Atkinson Grimshaw, John Martin, Jean Francois Millet, and also more modern ones (again, a biased sample of some I found extra memorable) like Max Beckmann, Victor Brauner, Edward Burra, Paul Delvaux, Otto Dix, Raoul Dufy, James Ensor, George Grosz, Gwen John, Wifredo Lam, Laurence Stephen Lowry, Roberto Matta, Paul Nash, Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Alfred Wallis, Carel Weight. Impressionism was as an interesting experiment and the last of the tolerable departures from traditional painting, but everything after that - I just found myself turning the pages without even looking at the names of the authors of yet another solid cube, formless splatter or weird installation.

Though it might frustrate those looking for an in-depth analysis, The Art Book is great for casual appreciation or anyone who doesn't know where to start. The work's connection with minimalism is demonstrated by the lack of emotion and illusionism in the painting's construction.As the name suggests, the defining criteria for arte povera were poverty and lack of refinement, whether of means, materials or effect. Reading the book, it's difficult to ignore a theme which comes up repeatedly, so many artists seem to be even more manifesto loving, social driven creatures than some stereotypes suggest.

In conclusion, with either a chronological or thematical arrangement, this would have made a passable art book. It was a nice introduction to artists I hadn't heard of before, and it gave a brief synopsis of the work and the artist. Ryman's work concentrates on emphasizing the qualities of the materials used, both the paint itself and its support (canvas, plastic, aluminium and so on). So if you re-titled this, "The (Almost Entirely Western) Painting and Sculpture (14th - 20th Century) Book, you'd know what you're in for - but it's not exactly pithy.Minimalist in style, like all his other pieces, the work is deliberately intended not to represent, imitate or express anything. My copy is a small version however the photos of the art work are printed clearly and you can see all the textures of the paintings as well. Also the depicted scenes (at least until the beginning of the 20th century) are from either Roman or Christian mythology or Western European aristocratic and everyday life. Great little book if you take it for what it is - something to dip into to stimulate ideas or discussion.

Anyway, art is different, it requires technical skill (well, see subsequent paragraphs on that), and comes from a tradition of manual workmanship, perhaps it makes sense that when the apprenticeship system weakened amidst the social changes of the modern age, substitute forms would take its place.To quote an amusing and absurd part from the description, "Caro didn't transform his materials into something else". other thing is for the the art have mandy year's old and have mandy people want to learn more about art. Note: there are two versions of this book: A large coffee-table sized one published in 1994, and a smaller pocket-sized one published in 2005. If the blurb is talking about symbols, concepts, ideas and the philosophy of the artist, chances are something ridiculous follows and that something is from the twentieth century (with exceptions of course, the century has had its share of impressive artists).

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