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This instructive and inspirational reference work takes readers on a voyage through the visual arts of the many different cultures that have inhabited Earth from primeval times to the present day. After a helpful introductory section dedicated to explaining how to look at and talk about art, the book does just that-it looks critically at and discusses the history, key features, and cultural contexts of specific works of art, artistic movements, and artistic themes. Easy to read and use, the book is divided into six sections arranged chronologically from Ancient Egypt to North American art today. For example, the first section, titled "Prehistory to 1400 C.E.," covers Ancient Egypt (c.3000-300 B.C.E.) through the end of the Khmer Empire (802-1431 C.E.) and everything in between. The sections are color coded on the fore edge of the book's text block, which makes skipping around easy, and each section begins with a time line. The book ends with a practical glossary of terms and a comprehensive index. While there are other art reference books, such as Phaidon's recent 30,000 Years of Art and The Collins Big Book of Art, none features as many high-quality images of as many works as this effort. Both newcomers to art and art connoisseurs will enjoy this picturesque work.