Last night I was looking through a few of the many art books on my shelf, realizing how many of them I have not finished and how much information and inspiration they contain. (A lot.) I was searching for the perfect primer on Western art to lend to a friend. I definitely don’t think it’s the perfect primer, but The Art Book is a good start for someone who doesn’t know a lot about art history and mostly wants to find a work they like. Each page is roughly 80% picture, with a little blurb of information about the artist and work. I think this approachability is the reason why so many people, artists and non-artists, have it.* My copy also has the benefit of being very small, meaning that it’s not a pain to cart across town. Some of our more comprehensive tomes weigh… well, quite a lot.

It was fun to look through it again (it had been a long hiatus) and try to remember the names of famous works and artists from my art history classes without looking at the text.

*It seems like a lot of artists I know have it because it was given to them by a non-artist, usually at the beginning of their training.

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