"Gombrich (1909-2001) had a gift for clear, conversational language, a narrative approach, and an interest in pop culture--he even included mass media and cartoons in The Story of Art. The book, which receives high praise in the CAA report [a recent assessment of art history textbooks by the College Art Association], is today the world's best selling art history textbook, with total sales of 8 million copies." -Art News, February 2006
E.H. Gombrich's warm, lively, opinionated--yet never patronizing--authorial voice brings history to life in a way that attracts both adults and young readers alike. Last year the first English translation of A Little History of the World, originally written in 1935 in German, was a surprise publishing success. Yet, this isn't even Gombrich's most popular work. The Story of Art has sold over 8 million copies, has been translated into more than 30 languages and served as the standard introduction to art history for students around the world for the past century. Now, the book will be available in a new affordable format, in wide release for the general public, just in time for the holidays.
Phaidon Press is pleased to announce the publication of THE STORY OF ART: POCKET EDITION by E.H. Gombrich, a re-designed, re-formatted compact edition of one of the best-known and best-loved books on art ever written. This new edition combines smoothly flowing text with a clear, simple design in a convenient and accessible format. The new edition allows this classic work to continue its triumphant progress for another generation, and to remain the first choice for all newcomers to art.
Phaidon Press commissioned Gombrich during World War II to write a history of art for young people. In 1950, The Story of Art was published and so a classic was born. Gombrich dictated the whole text from memory, using illustrations from books in his library as prompts. The outcome was a seminal work of criticism and one of the most accessible introductions to the visual arts. Starting with the cave paintings at Lascaux and stretching as far as Postmodernism, the whole of art history is presented as a chronological narrative. Using vivid imagery, storytelling and sly humor, Gombrich's voice draws in all--the student, connoisseur, or amateur.
The Story of Art has always been admired for two key qualities: it is a pleasure to read and a pleasure to handle. The pocket edition is no exception. With this new edition this classic work is now as accessible as the story inside. Gombrich's extraordinary knowledge and wisdom will continue to teach and inspire generation after generation....Continua
Incredibile come Gombrich riesca a far scorrere circa 25 secoli di arte con tanta semplicità e capacità narrativa. È una storia, del resto, e G. ne è grande narratore. Il testo - specialmente in questa edizione con illustrazioni grandi e a colori - è un'ottima introduzione che invoca approfondimenti di ogni genere. Gombrich procede con passi da gigante e quindi in mezzo ci si perde, come è ovvio per una disamina sintetica, molto. Ma l'essenziale c'è tutto e alcune osservazioni di G. sono a tutti gli effetti illuminanti. Solo un po' più debole la parte finale, ma come nota anche G. la storia ha bisogno di distanza per essere ben descritta....Continua
Just a dozen or so pages into this book, I knew that it was one I wish I would have had access to when I was first seriously exposed to art. While in many respects, it is a conservative textbook (being first published in 1950), it is fundamentally meant for someone who has little to no previous formal contact with art history. Of course, if you have some, this can make you seriously engage some of your previously held assumptions about what you like and why you like it, but I got the distinct impression while reading that it was meant to initiate a teenager - a teenager who very much reminded of me of myself - into a whole new world.
The inclusions and exclusions of certain artists are, of course, always arbitrary. However, Gombrich's choices do not deviate too much from a standard art history text. What particularly drew me to the book was what I perceived to be its inordinate focus on medieval and especially Renaissance art. Of the twenty-eight chapters included in the book, about five mostly focus on Western medieval images (6 and 8-11). Another six chapters (13-18) focus on the art of the Western Renaissance. Most surveys of art history to which I had been previously exposed paid scant attention to medieval art and they sometimes did not give the Renaissance the space that I felt it deserved. There is no doubt the medieval and Renaissance art Gombrich's pet periods here (and, admittedly, they're mine, too.)
What makes it so special is that, instead of spending the first chapter in an abstract exercise of thinking about what "Art" is, he forces you over and over again to take the art on its own terms. While discussing the various visual perspectives painted by the artist of "The Garden of Nebamun," he says: "To us reliefs and wall-paintings provide an extraordinarily vivid picture of life as it was lived in Egypt thousands of years ago. And yet, looking at them for the first time, one may find them rather bewildering. The reason is that the Egyptian painters had a very different way from ours of representing real life. Perhaps this is connected with the different purpose their paintings had to serve. What mattered most was not prettiness but completeness. It was the artists' task to preserve everything as clearly and permanently as possible. So they did not set out to sketch nature as it appeared to them from any fortuitous angle" (p. 60). It is the occasional insight like this that makes the book most worthwhile for a neophyte. After all, how many of us have measured something we saw by the standards of our particular narrow time and place? He really drives home the point that thinking about art seriously means thinking about other perspectives (both literally and figuratively), other preoccupations, and other aesthetic modus operandi. This is a lesson that should be lost on none of us, about art, or about anything else....Continua
It is a very good book to lay the fundations of the history of art. As it was written in the 50's a large part of contemporary art is missing but the author's perception and final chapter leaves the door open for what is to come, exposing quite well what were the first traces of the problems that are virulently ailing the art world now. Recommended to those who want to start somewhere to understand why art developed the way it did and the reasons why we find so difficult to appreciate some aspects of contemporary art....Continua