We are all naturally drawn to art—it can be beautiful, mysterious, and even shocking. Art and visual images surround us in our everyday lives and impact our understanding of history and of other cultures. Every culture on the planet devotes time and energy to creating and caring for works of art. Whether a ceramic vase, a painted portrait, or a video installation, a work of art can stimulate us, engage us, and even anger us.
This book, part of the successful “Handy Answer Book” series, explores the meaning and history of art from around the world by rethinking the history of art as a series of accessible questions. Questions range from broad to specific in order to provide insights into the fundamentals of art, cultural context, and details about specific works. Explanations of key terms and the inclusion of a glossary will help the reader to expand his or her art vocabulary and engage more deeply in art history discourse.
Each chapter is filled with helpful charts, spotlight questions, and of course, high-quality color images of the art discussed. The eight main chapters are divided into smaller sub-sections so as to place works of art and associated movements into broad context. For example, “From the Industrial Revolution to World War I, c. 1850–1914” discusses the ways in which art changed during the nineteenth century, compares and contrasts major movements such as Realism and Impressionism, explores the emerging role of photography, and explains the role of important non-Western art movements on the art of that period.
Many traditional art history books focus solely on the art of the Western world; however, when writing The Handy Art History Answer Book, the goal was to present art traditions from around the world. The art of every inhabited continent is covered here, presented chronologically along with the art of Europe and the United States, making this an inclusive and wide-reaching book.
Art, and the history of art, inspire the passions of both the artist and the viewer. When we visit galleries and museums, come into contact with public art, or look at the images in books, art can amaze, soothe, and also confound us. It is my sincere hope that The Handy Art History Answer Book not only provides useful, thorough, and engaging information on the history of art, but also stirs your passions and encourages you to continue reading, learning, and exploring the diverse and enigmatic world of art.