David Franchi – Sunday, 5th June 2016

“Introduction to art” by Thames and Hudson a great book.The Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” is a complete guide book to all aspects of the visual arts.

Besides the introduction, it is divided in four parts each approaching an element of the visual arts.

An important part is the Introduction, as it explores the primary questions What, Where, Who, Why and the last is When but divided into Value and Censorship.

The four parts, instead, are: Fundamentals; Media and Processes; History and Context; and Themes.

The first part, Fundamentals, introduces to visual language of arts, by analysing the indispensable elements and principles of art that create the language of artworks.

The second part, Media and Processes, describes how art is made, from such traditional media and processes, for example stone carving, fresco and oil painting, to contemporary approaches, such as digital and conceptual art and installations.

The third part, History, deals with the forces and influences that have shaped art throughout the course of human history. It offers and overview of the history of art from prehistoric times to the twenty – first century in all over the world.

The fourth part, Themes, explains art through the major cultural and historical themes that have stimulated artists to create great works of art.

While the introduction outlines the most important knowledge and skills you need to analyse and understand art, you can read the chapters of Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” in any order, because is an entirely modular publication.

This manual has lots of references, practical examples and features. There are eight boxes called ‘Getaway to art’ which explore eight famous artworks and repeatedly analyses them using different approaches, throughout all the chapters of the book, each time from a different angle – compositional, stylistic, biographical, etc.

More than 1,000 images of art are reproduced and considered in a neat and vibrant way.

The vast knowledge of art is well synthesised, although is a difficult task. Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” is thick but however not exhaustive, for art is an immense matter. Some points can be developed.

Superbly illustrated, this energetic and handy book is particularly suitable for the art enthusiast as to those looking for an exceptional educational resource. It is also sensible for those who have no knowledge and would like to move their first steps into the art world. No other book currently available has such an extensive coverage, presented in a modular form, which enables students and teachers to work in a really flexible way.

The authors are highly competent and with a good curriculum. Debra J. DeWitte has studied art history at the University of Texas Arlington, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Texas at Dallas. She has developed an award – winning online art appreciation course at UT Arlington.

Ralph M. Larmann has a BFA from the University of Cincinnati and an MFA from James Madison University. He currently teaches at the University of Evansville and is a past President of Foundations in Art: Theory and Education.

Kathryn Shields has a Ph.D. in art history from Virginia Commonwealth University and has taught at the University of Texas at Arlington and at Guildford College.

Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” was firstly published in the UK in 2015. Originally was published has’ Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts’ in 2012 by Thames and Hudson Inc. (USA).

This is publication very good. Thames and Hudson “Introduction to art” is an unmissable book for all kinds of art lovers.