An intimate look at 10 of the world's most famous portraits and their artists, including DaVinci's Mona Lisa and Picasso's Weeping Woman.
Children's LiteratureOur faces are fascinating. Every single one is different. Portraits have been painted for thousands of years. This is a collection of faces through the years with a focus on a few artists. The earliest portraits are gods and kings. The statues of Easter Island are a good example of ancient portraits whose significance and origin are not completely understood. Other well-known portraits from ancient times are the funerary mask of Tutankhamen and busts of Roman emperors. During the Renaissance artists expanded their range and included more portraits of ordinary people with attention to realistic detail. Modern art of the late nineteenth and 20th century saw artists breaking away from tradition to paint in new ways. Ten artists portraits are featured. Pablo Picasso's portrait of a grieving woman was a response to the suffering of the Spanish Civil War. Frida Kahlo's suffering was more personal but still visible in her self-portraits. Diego Velazquez's portraits of the Spanish royals are good examples of artwork from the 17th century. 2000 (orig. 1997), Peter Bedrick Books, Ages 8 to 12.
VOYAEach of these slim books in the Art Gallery series focuses on a specific theme: the history of faces in art and the history of stories in art. Both books are divided into three distinct sections. The first part gives a brief overview of the theme as seen in art through the ages, from ancient times to the twentieth century. This history is followed by a look at ten paintings, mostly by well-known artists including da Vinci, Bruegel, Vermeer, and Picasso, along with thumbnail biographies. The final section looks at a few aspects of the main theme, such as caricature for Faces and storytelling devices for Stories. Because almost every chapter is only a two-page spread, it is understandable that the text is not extensive. Nevertheless these books contain enough information to educate and raise curiosity about the paintings and their aesthetics. Attractive color reproductions enhance the text. Most general art history books follow a chronological arrangement, but those readers with little knowledge or interest in art history might find the theme-oriented focus to be more engaging. A bibliography or further reading section would have been welcome for those wishing for more meaty, in-depth information. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Peter Bedrick, 48p, Index, Illus., Photos. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Jane Van Wiemokly VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-8-Scanning history, the author reveals images from ancient and medieval times to the Renaissance, Impressionism, and Modern Art. The central focus of the book is a trio of paintings and a self-portrait by each of 10 artists (Francesca, da Vinci, Holbein, Vel zquez, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Renoir, van Gogh, Picasso, and Kahlo). A brief concluding section features images from around the world. The accompanying text provides insight as to the importance of each portrait. Comments concerning the faces, when not terse and generalized, are full of specific details and written in an intriguing manner. The book promises a lot, but the format and design lessen the interest, excitement, and value. The paintings are often so small that the faces are difficult to see. Mini-enlarged sections do provide an excellent look at details, but they focus on flowers, squirrels, or lace. Colored side panels, while distracting, provide background information on the artists, often with a self-portrait. Readers will benefit if they pause long enough to attend to the commentary.-Ronald Jobe, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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