Based upon the widely acclaimed "Art History" by renowned author Marilyn Stokstad, "Art: A Brief History" combines a richly illustrated survey of Western art with extensive coverage of other continents including Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Its animated yet clear narrative tells the many-sided story of all the arts.
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Over the many years that I have taught the history of art, I have become convinced that the first goal of an introductory course should be to create an educated, enthusiastic public for the arts. I firmly believe that everyone can and should enjoy their introduction to art history. Only then will people come to appreciate the visual arts as inspired, tangible creations of human skill and imagination.
When an art history book responds to the needs of its audience, that book can make a great difference in the role art assumes in the lives of individuals. All of us—authors and publishers—have tried to make the book from which this work is derived, Art History, a sensitive, accessible, engaging, and comprehensive book. Now in its second edition, Art: A Brief History preserves these goals and many of the features of Art History, while offering a more abbreviated and slightly more popular account.
Art: A Brief History is contextual, in the best sense of the term. This book, like Art History, balances formalist analysis with contextual art history to support the needs of a diverse and fast-changing student population. Throughout the text we treat the visual arts not in a vacuum but within the real-world contexts of history, geography, politics, religion, and culture. We carefully define the parameters-social, religious, political, and cultural-that either constrained or liberated individual artists. And bearing in mind that there is no substitute for experiencing works of art firsthand, we have whenever feasible included works on view in many different museums and collections around the United States, including college and university museums.
Art: A Brief History is wide-ranging and inclusive. We have reached beyond the West to the arts of other regions and cultures, presenting a global view of art through the millennia. We regard art as more than painting, sculpture, and architecture, and so we include drawings, photographs, works in metal and ceramics, textiles, and jewelry. We pay due respect to the canon of great monuments in the history of art, but we also treat artists, including women and minorities, and artworks not previously acknowledged in surveys. We incorporate the best and most up-to-date scholarship, including recent discoveries (the prehistoric paintings of Chauvet cave in southern France, for example), and bring new works to the forefront (the World Trade Center Tribute in Light Memorial, for example).
This book is a pleasure to read and use. As in the previous edition, the text carries the central narrative of Art: A Brief History, while set-off boxes present interesting and instructive material that enriches the text. A number of critical issues boxes focus on thought-provoking concepts such as the use of the idea of the "mainstream" as an art historical label and the way the titles given to works of art, such as "Venus," may affect our perception of them. Other boxes provide insights into contextual influences, such as women as art patrons, the lives of major religious leaders, and the intersection of art and politics. Elements of Architecture boxes explain basic architectural forms and terminology. Technique boxes explore how artworks have been made, from prehistoric cave paintings to Renaissance frescoes to photographs. Finally, Art: A Brief History includes a rich illustration program of 687 photographs—most in full color—as well as 70 original line drawings (including architectural plans and cutaways) that have been universally acclaimed in Art History.
We have strengthened the pedagogy of Art: A Brief History. Every chapter opens with a visually dramatic two-page spread called Looking Forward whose engaging text peaks the student's interest in the material to come. Centered on an image that exemplifies the key concepts of that chapter, each Looking Forward alerts the student to significant points in the narrative to follow. The illustrated Closer Look boxes found in each chapter provide an in-depth examination of a single work of art, demonstrating the variety and richness of art history as revealed by a specific artist, culture, and time. The Closer Look essays also amplify the student's understanding of art history by presenting different ways to explore and appreciate art.
Placed at the end of related groups of chapters ("cultural clusters'), the seven Looking Back double-page spreads are packed with useful teaching tools that reinforce and augment what the student has just read: illustrated timelines offer a visual chronology of the artworks, cultures, and/or movements in a cluster of chapters; illustrated maps put the artworks in their geographical contexts; and concise essays weave the unifying and connecting threads of the preceding chapters.
This edition has an inviting new design and new photographs and line art. Color is used throughout the new design to make the book highly navigable and enticing. Recently cleaned and/or restored works of art and architecture have been rephotographed and are now illustrated in their new states. Among the new images of buildings, fresco cycles, panel and easel paintings, and architectural freestanding sculpture are New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Archaic Greek Kouros, an interior view of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and Raphael's School of Athens.
Content has been significantly revised and expanded. In response to political events and student interest, the material on Islamic art has been expanded to a full chapter, resulting in a beneficial reorganization of the chapters on medieval art. The last four chapters of the book, covering art from the late eighteenth to the twenty-first century, have been completely revised. The bibliography and glossary have been updated and the invaluable Starter Kit expanded.
A complete ancillary package is available for Art: A Brief History. This package includes videos, an interactive CDROM with 1,000 images for study and presentation, a Student Study Guide, an Instructor's Manual with Computerized Test Bank, and the publication A Prentice Hall Guide to Evaluating Online Resources: Art. Ask your Prentice Hall sales representative about custom slide sets to accompany this edition.
Art: A Brief History is also supported by the most effective art textbook interactive website available today at www.prenhall.com/stokstad.
Art: A Brief History represents the cumulative efforts of a distinguished team of scholars and educators. Even in a book of this size, single authorship is no longer a fully responsible proposition. Our world has become too complex, our coverage too wide, and our research on art too sophisticated to entrust the world's art to a single author. An individual view of art may be very persuasive—even elegant—but it remains personal. Now, however, we no longer look for a single "truth," nor do we venerate a static canon of artworks. Art: A Brief History incorporates the work of the original team of scholar-teachers, all with independent views and the ability to treat the art they write about on its own terms and in its own cultural context. The overarching viewpoint—the controlling imagination—is mine, but Art History, from which this book is derived, would not have been successful without the work of the distinguished contributing authors Stephen Addiss, David Cateforis, Chu-tsing Li, Marylin M. Rhie, and Christopher D. Roy.
Finally, Art: A Brief History would have been impossible without the invaluable assistance and advice of scores of other scholars and teachers who have generously answered my questions, given their recommendations on organization and priorities, and provided specialized critiques. They are listed in my acknowledgments. I am especially grateful to my colleagues at the University of Kansas, Amy McNair and Marsha Haufler, for their expert advice on aspects of Asian art; Marni Kessler and Charles Eldredge for modern art; and Sally Cornelison for Italian art. Jonathan Bloom of Boston College provided invaluable help and advice on Islamic art, and Roger Ward of the Norton Museum of Art worked with me on the Renaissance and Baroque periods in Europe. Reed Anderson significantly updated the bibliography. Margaret Oppenheimer labored to condense the revised edition of Art History into the original edition of Art: A Brief History, and Cynthia Henthorn and Holly Jennings contributed their editorial expertise to this new edition. As always Julia Moore played her role as creative and constructive "trailboss." To all these friends I offer my sincere thanks.
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