Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A History of Art for Beginners and Students: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture by Clara Erskine Clement

As the title of the book says, it discusses the evolution of art over the centuries. The author divided the book into five major sections, namely; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Ancient Greece and Italy, and Medieval Painting. There is some useful information on the styles or "schools of art" that flourished in particular places or periods.



The types of art and architecture were discussed briefly but the author left out so many things and focused on the lives of the artists instead. There is also very little information in the first three chapters and the author has a tendency to insert her own observations and opinions of the works of the artists that it can hardly be called a history book. The lives of the artists, particularly those from the medieval period are interesting, but the author uses the same pattern in recounting their lives and works. Her accounts of the location of the artworks also take up too much space and defeat the purpose of the book. Besides Egypt, Assyria and Babylon there is no mention of art in other parts of the world. The author focused only on western art. The title is misleading and the book itself is a disappointment although there still are plenty of helpful material for the study of history of art.

Rating: 4 out of 10