Art – The Definitive Visual Guide


As part of the recommended reading Art, the definitive visual guide was mentioned.

I did some searching to see if I could find a nice cheap copy (poor student!) and it finally arrived today much to the chagrin of my poor postman as it is HUGE!

Upon a quick flick through I can officially say it looks really useful and also very well laid out and easy to use. There is an initial section to introduce you on how to appreciate art fully with sections explaining the following:

  • subject and composition
  • perspective and viewpoint
  • light and shade
  • media and techniques
  • colour
  • brush-strokes and texture

This is handy for anyone who has either been interested in art but never explored it further, and also complete beginners! It isn’t a guide on How to do certain things, more how to appreciate it when other people do.

it is very comprehensive covering prehistoric art right up to modern art on every continent.

the author/editorial consultant Andrew Graham-Dixon wasn’t kidding when he used the word, ‘definitive’

I think the part that I find most appealing about this book is tat while it does cover a lot of artists and their work, it also focuses on some quite famous works of art such as Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat


on page 364-5 there is a large version of this painting and on the following pages there is a ‘closer look’ at the composition, technique and character story.

previously when looking at this picture, I was focusing more on the technique of pointillism rather than the story which took more of a back seat. This step by step breakdown is very helpful for getting a better understanding of the picture as a whole and I’ve even noticed things in it that previously I hadn’t.


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