Art: A Field Guide

Art: A Field Guide

by Robert Cumming
     
 
Your eyes will indeed be opened, and what you see in works of art will come newly alive when you have Robert Cumming, the former chairman of Christie's International Art Studies, as your guide.

With tremendous erudition and tart, provocative opinions, Cumming zeroes in on the essential characteristics of more than 770 painters, showing us, for example, what it

Overview

Your eyes will indeed be opened, and what you see in works of art will come newly alive when you have Robert Cumming, the former chairman of Christie's International Art Studies, as your guide.

With tremendous erudition and tart, provocative opinions, Cumming zeroes in on the essential characteristics of more than 770 painters, showing us, for example, what it was that made Rembrandt's art unique. He explains the conventions of narrative and iconography in Western art, such as the representation of St. Lawrence, who is always seen lying on a hot griddle. And Cumming defines several hundred terms— both technical (gouache, sfumato, craquelure) and critical/historical (Expressionism, Mannerism, the Hudson River School)— that so often mystify a viewer.

Cumming's no-nonsense guide is enlightening and entertaining; lavishly illustrated with the key works of hundreds of artists; concise and portable enough to use in the "field" (museums and galleries); and so substantial you will refer to it often at home.

There is nothing like ART.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
This quick-witted, snarky little book is a pure joy ride! Cumming takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of Western painting, covering a larger than average number of painters and packing quite a bit of interesting information into a comparatively little space. The book's two strongest points are the genius of its physical design (a very generous helping of color reproductions of the artworks under discussion, laid out in combinations that are very easy on the eye) and the frankness of Cumming's opinions as he tells his readers various things about each artist. Sometimes these opinions can be infuriating, but that's half the fun!
Publishers Weekly
For a less site-specific and more monetarily focused tour of art history, Art: A Field Guide covers more 770 painters in 700 full-color illustrations, noting how many of their works sold between 2001 and 2000 (with figures on lowest and high prices achieved), along with the highest price paid at auction prior to December 31, 2000 or the record price. Robert Cumming, formerly of London's Tate Gallery and Christie's auction house, is now an independent writer and curator. He explains key forms, techniques, movements and styles, and puts his eye to serious yet entertaining use in this romp through the trade. Readers addicted to Antiques Roadshow will get a similar thrill, with or without the cash to put the book to use. (Nov. 18) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A handy book for novices who would like to have some idea of what to look for during a trip to the art museum. In his introduction, Cumming explains that while working with the public at the Tate Gallery, he learned that most amateurs have four basic questions when confronted with a work of art: What should I look for? What's going on? What is its value? Is it any good? This book answers those questions for more than 770 painters in a concise, easy-to-follow manner. Section one offers an alphabetical listing of artists. Section two consists of an alphabetical listing of "Subjects and Stories." Personalities such as Achilles, Benedict, and James the Just are described, and subjects such as flagellation, mirror, and scales are briefly explained. Cross-references are included. The glossary that comprises the third section defines artistic terms such as abstract expressionism, foreshortening, and gamboge and, when applicable, indicates an artist from section one that illustrates the term. "Art on the Internet" lists sites for reference books and portals; online art journals; and online auction sites, museums, and archives. The index allows searching by artist, title, or subject. The book will help art students who want a quick reference, but it is definitely intended for those with no previous background. The only drawback is that space considerations do not allow all of the paintings described to be shown in the book. The full-color photos that are included add greatly to the explanations.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375413124
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/27/2001
Edition description:
LST AMERIC
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.87(h) x 0.87(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cumming worked at the Tate Gallery in London before moving to Christie's. He is now an independent writer, lecturer, and organizer of exhibitions and television programs.

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