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Best Art Books

Looking for the best art books of all-time? Below you’ll find a curated list of the best art books for inspiration, reference or coffee-table shelves.

Whether you’re looking to learn art fundamentals or collect art books for your book shelf, you’ll enjoy this list of the best art books of all-time.

The 10 Best Art Books Of All Time.


1. Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Print | eBook

Synopsis: Ways of Seeing is a key art-historical work that continues to provoke widespread debate. It is comprised of seven different essays, three of which are pictorial and the other containing texts and images.  Berger first examines the relationship between seeing and knowing, discussing how our assumptions affect how we see a painting.


2. The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich

Print

Synopsis: The book is divided into an introduction, 27 chapters each dealing with a defined time period of art history within one or several cultural/geographic contexts, and a concluding chapter summarizing the latest developments in visual arts. The first chapter starts examining prehistoric art and native cultures. The next four chapters are dedicated to the greater ancient cultures, especially Greece and Rome.


3. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

Print | eBook

Synopsis: Over the last decade, Dr. Edwards has refined her material through teaching hundreds of workshops and seminars. Truly The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, this edition includes: the very latest developments in brain research, new material on using drawing techniques in the corporate world and in education, instruction on self-expression through drawing, an updated section on using color, detailed information on using the five basic skills of drawing for problem solving.


4. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Print | eBook

Synopsis: An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.


5. Wall and Piece by Banksy

Print

Synopsis: Wall and Piece is a book about Guerilla artist Banksy. Banksy, a faceless street painter, who is completely covered by a veil, is famous for his graffiti criticism of established customs, powers, and capitalism. In particular, his work has been controversial worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as exhibitions of his works without permission, and video clips of his work.


6. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Print | Audiobook | eBook

Synopsis: The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Correlation and emphasis is used by the author to show a connection between artistic creativity and a spiritual connection with God


7. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Print | Audiobook | eBook

Synopsis: Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer’s prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel’s quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant–and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. 


8. The Art Book by Phaidon Press

Print

Synopsis: An A to Z guide to 500 great painters and sculptors from medieval to modern times, it debunks art historical classifications by throwing together brilliant examples of all periods, schools, visions and techniques. 


9. Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles

 

Print | Audiobook | eBook

Synopsis: This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren’t any people like that.


10. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

 

Print  | Audiobook

Synopsis: It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.


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