The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History

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9780140514209: The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History

"Truly fun to read." (Library Journal)

The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History has more than 1500 entries on artists and architects from ancient times to the present, setting works, movements, and styles into their cultural contexts. With entries on leading artists, from Alberti to Ingres to Wyeth; on period techniques and terms, from Action Painting to Mezzotint to X-radiography; on significant artistic influences and events, from the Armory Show to Marxism, to the cleaning of the Sistine Chapel, this is the ideal reference for high school and college students, as well as anyone interested in art.

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About the Author:

Nancy Frazier is a former Newsweek reporter and magazine editor. She has written widely on art and worked with a distinguished panel of advisers for this dictionary.

From Booklist:

This volume seeks to present an interdisciplinary approach to art history. It uses information from a number of fields, such as literature, psychology, history, geography, and economics, to give a cultural context to the changes in art. There are more than 1,500 alphabetically arranged entries, from very short (13 words) to substantial (several pages), encompassing such subjects as Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, the definition of plein air painting, and the use of tropology to study individual works of art.

Each biographical entry includes birth and death dates when known, nationality, medium used, and style of work or school of art. They also include an initial quotation, either by or about the individual. Entries for artists include a more detailed description of their style of art, materials used, a reference to one or more significant pieces of work, some biographical information, and associated artists or styles. Entries on specific styles or movements include the chronological period in which they flourished, a statement of the main tenets of that particular style or movement, and representative artists and works. See also references are included both within and between entries and are displayed in capital letters. First and last entries are indicated at the top of each page, and there is sufficient space to enable easy photocopying.

On the whole, this volume provides a good overview of art history, although illustrations would have made it more useful. Much of the information is available in other one-volume works, such as The Bulfinch Guide to Art History [RBB N 15 96] and The Oxford Dictionary of Art [RBB O 1 97]. Libraries that do not hold these other titles will find the Penguin effort to be an excellent ready-reference source, and it is recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries.
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