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The Art Museum
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The Art Museum

2.6 8
by Phaidon Press

The Art Museum offers the museum experience without the boundaries of space and time. The unique structure of the book has been created by specialists in all fields of art, from institutions worldwide, who have collected together important and innovative works as they might be displayed in the ideal museum for the art lover.

As any great museum the book is


The Art Museum offers the museum experience without the boundaries of space and time. The unique structure of the book has been created by specialists in all fields of art, from institutions worldwide, who have collected together important and innovative works as they might be displayed in the ideal museum for the art lover.

As any great museum the book is divided into galleries, presenting the extraordinary variety of artistic output, from ancient Greece, to Australasia and Oceania, Byzantine art to that of the Pre-Columbian Americas, the Renaissance to twentieth-century art, with an emphasis on later western art. Rooms examine important aspects and movements within the gallery. Corridors between the rooms allow the reader to focus on seminal works of each period and culture, with the huge reproduction format allowing for detailed examination.

The rooms present the finest examples of human creativity, each piece labelled with key data (including dates, medium and dimensions) alongside a brief description, and the group of works explained by a curator. Painting, sculpture, metalwork, textiles and ceramics comprise the wide variety offered to the reader, as individual works are all contextualised with expert contributors detailing the works’ significance to the evolution of art history. With cross-references throughout, a comprehensive glossary and detailed location maps, The Art Museum is both fantastic to browse through and an indispensable guide to art throughout the ages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Phaidon has outdone itself with The Art Museum, a coffee table art book large enough to function as a small table itself. Likely the most comprehensive of its kind, this remarkable tome presents a survey of world art ranging from 30,000 BCE to the 21st century. Concentrations that would normally comprise specialized volumes are brought together here, organized into "rooms" that mimic the spatial layout of brick-and-mortar museums. Brief but informative introductory essays provide a historical and cultural context of each room, giving readers (or visitors) essential knowledge otherwise found in art history textbooks. For all its accomplishments, the collection is predictably Occident- and Eurocentric, a mirror to the reality of the museum. While allowing for wonderfully detailed representations of the artworks, the book's size makes flipping back to the indices clunky and annoying. Including each work's real-world locations in the accompanying description would be preferable, but for space-saving reasons their method is understandable. Nevertheless, the maps, glossary and museums/gallery index are welcome supplements. This is a compendium worth the investment if you have the money and space. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"Unprecedented, unique, and vast in scope, this visually spectacular survey of world art belongs in large public, academic, and special libraries. Destined to delight, inspire, and educate, as well as become an invaluable classic, art reference resource, it is very highly recommended."- Library Journal Starred Review"

A category killer. Packed with 3,000 large illustrations of the world's greatest artworks."- VOGUE

"The dream collection. . .The appeal of having 3,000 years of masterpieces at your fingertips is obvious."- Art & Auction

"If this [The Art Museum] were a real museum and not just a book, there would hardly be need for another."- NPR's "All Things Considered""

If the world's best curators could create a collection containing every notable work for all time, its catalog would resemble The Art Museum."- Conde Nast Traveler

"It's an original and compelling concept: a book conceived and organized to resemble a museum - one that happens to take readers on a tour of art history from King Tut to Jackson Pollack and beyond."- Worth magazine

"The 2,500 works that really matter in 1,000 stunning pages."- Reader's Digest

"The monster of all Christmas art books, this year and maybe for a while. . .this tome is chock-full of things you don't often see reproduced on this scale, and other things you may not even know about and will love on sight."- The New York Times

". . .as in an actual museum, once you plunge into its 990-some pages, you risk getting lost. So turn off the stove, walk the dog, and text the kids before you spend the evening looking at vase paintings and no one hears from you again."- Town & Country

". . .an astonishing book. . .an exciting, nearly perfect collection of the greatest visual art in human history. . .The scope of the book encourages readers to make unexpected connections, as when rooms devoted to African masks and carvings usher us into a section on the Cubists, hinting at the affinities between the two."- BookPage

"If someone asks you, 'What is art?' you could launch into a lecture. Or you could just hand them this battering ram of a book."- Entertainment Weekly

"An encyclopedic art museum between covers, with "permanent" holdings for some 3,000 creme-de-la-creme objects appropriated from collections around the globe."- Holland Cotter for The New York Times Book Review

"The boldest publishing experiment of 2011."- NPR

"Not only does The Art Museum showcase rarely seen works from private collections, it also benefits from the wisdom of 65 of the world's most respected curators and art historians. . .this extensive compendium is easy to digest."- The Washington Post

". . .you couldn't give a more impressive gift. . .Imagine some ten-year-old getting lost in it over Christmas."- Blake Gopnik for The Daily Beast.com

"An astonishing book-an exciting, nearly perfect collection of the greatest visual art in human history."- Bookpage

". . .the most colossal and ambitious publication in the field. . .Indeed, it has some of the characteristics of a real museum, among them an invitation to wander on and on. . .Recommended."- Bloomberg News

"Like a world-class museum that fits on a coffee table."- USAnetwork.com

"Planning a trip to Paris to visit the Louvre? Headed to New York City for a tour of the MoMA? Cancel those plans. All you need is The Art Museum."- The National Post, Canada"

. . .the book is a perfect crash course for art-world novices and a collectible for experts."- ELLE.com

Product Details

Phaidon Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
19.20(w) x 14.40(h) x 5.30(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Conceived and edited by Phaidon editors, with a consulting global team of specialists in all fields of art.

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The Art Museum 2.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
sleeps9hours More than 1 year ago
I rarely buy books anymore. I figure the public library can hook me up for free and has a lot more storage space than I do. But the combination of savvy marketing by Phaidon, a recent one-day, 50%-off sale at BN.com, and $75 of BN credit sitting in my wallet brought this beast into my possession this week. I was totally taken in by the scope of the project. Who wouldn¿t after reading this: ¿It is the most comprehensive and visually spectacular history of world art ever published. Ten years in the making, this unique book was created with a global team of 100 specialists in art history, who have collected together important works as they might be displayed in the ideal museum for the art lover.¿ Now that I have it though, I'm thinking of returning it. It is humongous, I mean seriously mammoth, and very heavy, I¿m not even sure where to put it. The paper is pretty thin so it¿s not one for the kids to look at alone. I imagined many hours of pouring through it together, but it's not easy to leaf through because of its size, and again, I think it could be easily torn. My kids love Janson¿s (much less) huge History of Art, and The Art Musuem has more range, more pictures, bigger pictures, but it's unwieldy. Also, because so much is packed in--1000 years of art, many mediums, spanning the globe--it is a very brief treatment for each section. For instance, impressionism is covered in 12 pages, minimalism another 12. In addition, though the picture quality and color is okay, I expected to be more impressed by it. As an odd side-note, the book emits an unpleasant chemical smell, I assume from the printing process. The text is also incredibly sparse, pretty much just identifying the works and giving very brief descriptions of movements. As I¿m sure is inevitable with any project of this scale, there are idiosyncratic choices of who and what to cover and how much. In photography there is one small Ansel Adams mixed in with 4 others on a page, followed by an entire page, with 3 pictures, by Cindy Sherman (kudos to Sherman, she is wonderful). Photography in general gets short shrift. Absent are Edward Weston, Helen Levitt, Imogen Cunningham, Paul Caponigro. Hiroshi Sugimoto gets a nod, but unfortunately it¿s one of his Theatres pics, rather than one of the more spectacular Seascapes. The Art Museum fits the bill as a comprehensive survey, displaying great works throughout time and inspiring ideas of what to explore in more detail elsewhere. With the first flip through I learned of artists and movements I'd never heard of before and was intrigued by, but I'm thinking it might be better left to the libraries. I wish I could give it a better review, because I think it's a worthy idea, but an idea better suited to a computer program, website, or app, because the medium of the book cannot hold the scope of this project. As I see it, art books should serve at least one of two purposes: 1) High quality reproductions of beautiful art, and/or 2) A solid, durable, user-friendly reference work. Unfortunately, ¿The Art Museum¿ fulfills neither. The reproductions are too poor for the former, and the physical object of the book is too fragile and unwieldy for the latter. It¿s an ambitious (and exciting idea), but I suspect that the scope of ¿human art¿ is too broad for a single work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought this to give to my sister, a huge art history buff, as a present--am wishing I could afford to buy one just for myself though! Great selection of paintings shown plus lots of smart commentary.
EgyBibliophile More than 1 year ago
For as enormous as the book is, it wasn't as comprehensive as I was hoping it to be. So I returned it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not order from B&amp;N if you expect item to arrive undamaged. Packed with no padding and arrived with corners bent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish this book were available as an e-book. It has excellent pictures and content, but it is oversized and heavy and has fine print. I plan to return it because I cannot hold it comfortably and need a magnifying glass to read it. I would enjoy viewing it on a computer.
Queenpenguin More than 1 year ago
I thought this book would be a good purchase when I heard about it on NPR. When I opened the book and browsed through the "galleries" I was amazed by its beautiful quality of photographs and their descriptions. You can actually take a trip to the wor;d's best museums right from your armchair. This is an exquisite gift to give to someone you love. I give it 10 Stars!!!!!!!