The Art Atlas

The Art Atlas

by John Onians (Editor)

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An invaluable guide to world art from prehistory to the present, complete with over 600 maps and illustrations and a searchable CD.

The Art Atlas is the first work to present the art of the entire world from ancient to modern times through extensive use of specially commissioned maps. Covering painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as other arts and artifacts, the volume provides an entirely new vision of the history of the world’s art by showing how physical and political geography has shaped its developments.

Over 350 pages in scope, Atlas compares countries separated by thousands of miles and many centuries, demonstrating how the art of each is affected by opportunities and constraints dictated by location or culture. Here, for the first time, readers can appreciate the art of prehistoric Oceania and the Nile Valley of the Pharaohs alongside that of nineteenth-century Russia and the twentieth-century United States. In addition to showing where and when great artists lived and worked, Atlas explains how major styles developed and the ways in which art has been influenced by religion, trade, travel, war, and other historical factors. The volume also provides the first comprehensive picture of the impact of the natural world on the development of art, charting the sources of fibers for weaving, pigments for coloring, wood for carving, paper for printing, and stone for use in sculpture and architecture.

With its combination of enormous breadth and constant clarity of focus, abundant illustrations and a user-friendly, searchable CD, Art Atlas provides exceptional insight into what unites art and what makes it so varied. Organized into seven chronological periods and including contributions from 68 internationally renowned art historians, The Art Atlas is an original, comprehensive and up-to-date reference work that will be a benchmark for many years to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789209610
Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/06/2008
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 13.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

John Onians is Professor of Visual Arts at the School of World Art Studies and Museology at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of Art and Thought in the Hellenistic Age: The Greek World View, 350-50 BC (1979), Bearers of Meaning: The Classical Orders in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (1988) and editor of Sight and Insight: Essays on Art and Culture in Honour of E. H. Gombrich at 85 (1994). He was also the founding editor of the prestigious journal Art History.

Read an Excerpt

The Art Atlas

By John Onians

Abbeville Press

Copyright © 2008 John Onians
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0961-0

Excerpt from The Art Atlas

Art, Ideas and Technology 1900-2000

Art has always been connected to the worlds of ideas and technology, but in the twentieth century the connections tightened. Indeed for many the ‘idea’ has been that twentieth century art should directly reflect technology, and this notion lay behind American skyscrapers, Italian Futurism, Russian Constructivism and the International Modernist architecture of the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier before the Second World War, and Jean Tinguely's motorized sculptures, Nam Jun Paik’s video installations and Tony Oursler’s projections after it. One reason why this convergence occurred was because, thanks to new technologies, ideas could be disseminated much quicker and more effectively than before. Another was that some of these technologies, such as those of the cinema, television and computer screen, are themselves visual.

Of the many other ideas that affected twentieth century art, none were more recurrent than those of nationalism and internationalism. The search for visual expressions of national or regional identity, which has roots in tendencies humans share with other animals and has long been important in culture, strengthened in the nineteenth century before further intensifying in the twentieth. For many communities, as in the countries of eastern Europe that acquired independence after 1918, the starting point was a new awareness of vernacular and folk traditions, but in Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany new political and moral ideologies were also involved. Outside Europe, on the other hand, where the suppression of local artistic traditions had been part of the policy both of colonial powers and of the classes that succeeded them, aesthetic and political ideologies were more likely to be combined in some revival of local cultural traditions, as in the Mexican revival of Aztec and the Indian revival of Hindu imagery. In such movements are was an important way for a people to strengthen its sense of a political identity recovered after Independence. The vigorous new regional and ethnic art forms that emerged after 1950 were ore economically driven, only loosely inspired by earlier traditions that were fostered and marketed, often by just one or two individuals. Prominent examples are the stone sculptures of the Canadian Inuit, of the Shona in present-day Zimbabwe and of the Makonde on the borders between Tanzania and Mozambique. But the most successful, perhaps because painting is always liable to be taken more seriously than sculpture, has been the acrylic paintings of the Australian Aborigines which, since 1970, have allowed male and female members of one of the world's most victimized communities isolated in the desert to become world-famous celebrities. These successes, however, have not been easy. For many ethnic communities the regional arts are much lower in the scale than art that claims to be international, as does that displayed in the great international exhibitions in the tradition of the Venice Biennale. Artists represented in such venues, whose work may consciously betray a background in the savannah of Africa or the jungles of Southeast Asia, often prefer to play down their origins and claim instead to be artists in a sense that corresponds to some transcendent European and US norm. Their overriding idea is that they are not craftsman, but ‘artists’.

One of the sources of the concept of an ‘international’ art is the socialist theory of a worldwide human community, and socialism, in its different forms, has been the idea shaping the work of many individuals and movements. Sometimes it has been associated with conservative tendencies, as in the Soviet Union, where, after the brief innovative episode of Constructivism, there was a move to Socialist Realism with its nineteenth-century roots. The same style was then taken up by many other countries in the Russian orbit, and when China became Communist in 1948 it, too, adapter the same mode until after the Cultural Revolution. Sometimes socialism has been associated with more progressive tendencies, as with the worldwide post-Second World War diffusion of architecture in concrete, a material untainted by elitist associations and inherently sharing properties with the ‘masses’. Le Corbusier was the leader in this trend but he also had many local followers, such as Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia. Other types of art driven by socialist political ideas were the more aggressive mural art of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the softer, but still threatening, art of Latinos in the United States. Less necessarily political has been the much longer tradition of Black or African-American art, which now has its parallels in Britain and elsewhere and in art of People of Colour by immigrants from Asia and Africa. Another art which may be more or less political is that driven by the idea of feminism, which emerged strongly in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, before manifesting itself in most other countries in an effort to reclaim an activity from which women have been systematically excluded. Around the world art has now been harnessed to a myriad causes or ‘ideas’.

Finally, there are categories of art that relate to an idea embedded in art-making itself. Dada set out to smash artistic norms, while Surrealism, taking its cue from Sigmund Freud's writing on dreams, sought to give all forms of creativity a new starting point in the unconscious. These two connected movements were centered on Europe and the United States, the post-Second World War Conceptual Art—which typically argues that art is less about making, and more about an idea—has, from the beginning, engaged artists worldwide. Its success, like that of so-called Post-Modernist art, often depends on the use of different technologies, videos, lights, lasers, and even containers of formaldehyde. As such it illustrates to what extent, by 2000, art was often only an idea embedded in a technology.


Excerpted from The Art Atlas by John Onians. Copyright © 2008 John Onians. Excerpted by permission of Abbeville Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents from:
The Art Atlas



Art, Hunting and Gathering 40,000-5000 BC - John Onians
Early Ice Age Art 40,000-20,000 BC - Paul Bahn
Later Ice Age Art 20,000-10,000 BC - Paul Bahn
Postglacial Art 10,000-5000 BC - Paul Bahn


Art, Agriculture and Urbanization 5000-500 BC - John Onians
The World 10,000-3000 BC - Chris Scarre
The Americas 5000-500 BC - Frank Meddens
Europe 7000-2500 BC - Chris Scarre
Europe 2500-500 BC - Chris Scarre
The Aegean 2000-1000 BC - John Bennet
The Mediterranean 1000-500 BC - John Boardman
Africa 5000-500 BC - Peter Shinnie
The Nile Valley 3000-2000 BC - Christina Riggs
West Asia 3000-2000 BC - Paul Collins
West Asia 2000-500 BC - Paul Collins
Central and South Asia 5000-500 BC - Ruth Young
East Asia and China 5000-500 BC - Wang Tao
Japan and Korea 5000-500 BC - Simon Kaner
The Pacific and Indonesia 5000-500 BC - Robert Welsch


Art, War and Empire 500 BC-AD 600 - John Onians
Europe 500 BC-AD 300 - Timothy Taylor
The Aegean 500-300 BC- John Onians
The Eastern Mediterranean 500-100 BC - Martin Henig
The Western Mediterranean 500-100 BC - Martin Henig
The Mediterranean 100 BC-AD 100 - Martin Henig
The Mediterranean AD 100-300 - Martin Henig
Europe AD 300-600 - Martin Henig
Africa 500 BC-AD 600 - Peter Shinnie
The Nile Valley 500 BC-AD 300 - Christina Riggs
North Africa AD 300-600 - Ruth Leader-Newby

West Asia 500-300 BC - Elspeth Dusinberre
West Asia 300 BC-AD 600 - Murray Eiland
Central Asia 5000-500 BC - Ruth Young
East Asia and China 500 BC-AD 600 - Burzine Waghmar and Ruth Young
South Asia 500 BC-AD 600 - Naman Ahuja
China 500 BC-AD 600 - Wang Tao
Japan and Korea 500 BC-AD 600 - Simon Kaner
Southeast Asia 500 BC-AD 600 - Robert Welsch
The Pacific 500 BC-AD 600 - Robert Welsch


Art, Religion and the Ruler 600-1500 - John Onians
North America 600-1500 - Norman Bancroft-Hunt
Central America 600-1500 - Jeffrey Blomster
South America 600-1500 - Frank Meddens

Europe 600-800 - Lawrence Nees
Europe 800-1000 - Lawrence Nees
Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia 600-1500 - Barbara Zeitler
Northern Europe 1000-1200 - Alexandra Gajewsky
Southern Europe 1000-1200 - Alexandra Gajewsky
Northern Europe 1200-1300 - Benjamin Withers
Southern Europe 1200-1300 - Benjamin Withers
Northern Europe 1300-1500 - Thomas Tolley
Southern Europe 1300-1500 - Thomas Tolley
Italy 1300-1400 - Mary Hollingsworth
Italy 1400-1500 - Mary Hollingsworth
North Africa 600-1500 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
Sub-Saharan Africa 600-1500 - Herbert Cole
West Asia and Egypt 600-1000 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
West Asia 1000-1500 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
Central Asia 600-1500 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
South Asia 600-1500 - Daud Ali
China 600-1300 - Martin Powers
China and Tibet 1300-1500 - Jennifer Purtle
Japan and Korea 600-1500 - Bruce Coats
Southeast Asia 600-1500 - Robert Welsch
The Pacific 600-1500 - Robert Welsch


Art, Exploitation and Display 1500-1800 - John Onians
North America 1500-1800 - Norman Bancroft-Hunt
Central America 1500-1800 - Norman Bancroft-Hunt
South America 1500-1800 - Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Europe 1500-1600 - Mark Lindholm
Scandinavia and the Baltic 1500-1800 - Kristoffer Neville
Poland and Lithuania 1500-1800 - Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius
Russia 1500-1800 - Alison Hilton
Britain 1500-1600 - Tim Barringer and Morna O’Neill
Britain 1666-1800 - Tim Barringer and Morna O’Neill
The Northern Netherlands 1500-1800 - Elisabeth de Bièvre
The Southern Netherlands 1500-1800 - Susan Koslow
Germany and Switzerland 1500-1650 - Kristoffer Neville
Germany and Switzerland 1650-1800 - Kristoffer Neville
France 1500-1650 - David Thomson
France 1650-1800 - David Thomson
Spain and Portugal 1500-1800 - John Moffitt
Italy 1500-1600 - Mary Hollingsworth
Italy 1600-1800 - Carole Paul
Southeast Europe 1500-1800 - Stefan Muthesius
Europe 1600-1800 - Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann
North Africa 1500-1800 - Stephen Vernoit
Sub-Saharan Africa 1500-1800 - Herbert Cole
Asia 1500-1800 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
West Asia 1500-1800 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
Central Asia 1500-1800 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
South Asia 1500-1800 - Daud Ali
China and Tibet 1500-1650 - Jennifer Purtle
Japan and Korea 1500-1800 - Bruce Coats
Southeast Asia 1500-1800 - Miranda Bruce-Mitford
The Pacific 1500-1800 - Anne d’Alleva


Art, Industry and Science 1800-1900 - John Onians
North America 1800-1860 - Peter Kalb
North America 1860-1900 - Jonathan Meuli and Peter Kalb
Central America and the Caribbean 1800-1900 - Norman Bancroft-Hunt
South America 1800-1900 - Laura Malosetti Costa

Europe 1800-1900 - Claire O’Mahony
Scandinavia and the Baltic 1800-1900 - Kristoffer Neville
Russia 1800-1900 - Alison Hilton
Britain 1800-1900 - Tim Barringer and Morna O’Neill
The Netherlands and Belgium 1800-1900 - Jane Beckett
Germany and Switzerland 1800-1900 - Stefan Muthesius
France 1800-1900 - Claire O’Mahony
Spain and Portugal 1800-1900 - John Moffitt
Italy 1800-1900 - Claire O’Mahony
Austria-Hungary and Southeast Europe 1800-1900 - Stefan Muthesius
North Africa 1800-1900 - Stephen Vernoit
Sub-Saharan Africa 1800-1900 - Herbert Cole
West Asia 1800-1900 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
Central Asia 1800-1900 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
South Asia 1800-1900 - Marcella Sirhandi
China and Tibet 1800-1900 - Jennifer Purtle
Japan and Korea 1800-1900 - Bruce Coats
Southeast Asia 1800-1900 - Miranda Bruce-Mitford
The Pacific 1800-1900 - Jocelyne Dudding
Australia and New Zealand 1800-1900 - Anita Callaway


Art, Ideas and Technology 1900-2000 - John Onians
North America 1900-1950 - Peter Kalb
North America 1950-2000 - Peter Kalb
Central America and the Caribbean 1900-2000 - Norman Bancroft-Hunt
South America 1900-2000 - Isobel Whitelegg

Europe 1900-2000 - Mike O’Mahony
Scandinavia and the Baltic States 1900-2000 - Anna Brodow
Russia 1900-2000 - Alison Hilton
Britain and Ireland 1900-2000 - Tim Barringer and Morna O’Neill
The Netherlands and Belgium 1900-2000 - Jane Beckett
Germany, Switzerland and Austria 1900-2000 - Mike O’Mahony
Eastern Europe 1900-2000 - Myroslava Mudrak
France 1900-2000 - Stephen Eskilson
Spain and Portugal 1900-2000 - John Moffitt
Italy 1900-2000 - Mike O’Mahony
North Africa 1900-2000 - Stephen Vernoit
Eastern and Central Africa 1900-2000 - Herbert Cole
West Africa 1900-2000 - Herbert Cole
Southern Africa 1900-2000 - Michael Godby
Asia 1900-2000 - Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom
West Asia 1900-2000 - Stephen Vernoit
Central Asia 1900-2000 - Min Mao
South Asia 1900-2000 - Marcella Sirhandi
China 1900-2000 - Michael Sullivan
Japan and Korea 1900-2000 - Bruce Coats
Southeast Asia 1900-2000 - Miranda Bruce-Mitford
The Pacific 1900-2000 - Robert Welsch
Australia and New Zealand 1900-2000 - Anita Callaway
Art Institutions Worldwide 2000 - Rodney Palmer

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