Ian Chilvers
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Buy *Art: The Definitive Visual Guide* by Ian Chilvers online

Art: The Definitive Visual Guide
Ian Chilvers
DK Publishing
612 pages
October 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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As an introduction to the works featured in Art: The Definitive Visual Guide, subjects such as perspective and viewpoint, light and shade, and brushstroke and texture are explained in a twenty-page "Looking at Art" chapter. After learning about the language of art and how to read it, readers delve into a world of cave paintings, cuneiform tablet writings, mummies and gothic art. Following a timeline that begins at 3000 BCE and ends at 1400 CE, readers are introduced to prehistoric and ancient art from around the world. Clear, colorful labeled photographs accompany every entry in this book- sometimes accompanied with a "Closer Look" photograph. For example, a statue of Zeus photograph is shown in full, but his face is turned slightly away from us. The Closer Look photograph is used to bring his face into focus, allowing us to see details around the eyes, nose and mouth.

Divided into centuries, the remaining chapters focus on the 15th and 16th centuries, the 17th and 18th centuries, the 19th century, and the early 20th century. The final chapter is entitled "1945 and Beyond." Equal in length and detail, each chapter follows a timeline and includes one or two themes. Nudes, myths and legends, landscapes, still life, animals, love, children, work, war, and portraits were chosen as themes to showcase how a variety of artists paint, draw or sculpt the same subject. On the two pages that focus on love, for example, one sculpture shows two people kissing, while a picture by Francis Picabia shows a group of machine parts. The medium, the size, the age, and the subjects in the pieces vary, but they all represent love in some form, whether platonic, spiritual or sexual.

This remarkable book was formed in collaboration with the Bridgeman Art Library and with the help of many consultants and contributors working or knowledgeable in the field of art. With over 2500 full color works of art by over 700 artists, readers will become familiar with the key periods in art history and see the styles and methods artists throughout time have used to inspire, amaze and move us. The information about individual artists and their art pieces is easy to follow and easier to find in the index. This is an excellent purchase for a library reference collection or as a gift for anyone who appreciates art.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Tanya Boudreau, 2008

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