The Story of Art
E. H. Gombrich was a naturalized British citizen, highly educated and spent his formative years surrounded by artists of all sorts.
The Story of Art was originally meant to be an introductory book to art for high school students, and so its written from the point of view that we, the readers, know nothing about art. (Which in my case, much to the chagrin of my Greco-Roman Art prof, is sadly all too true.)
Rather than catalogue the works by artist such as Vasari did, this one groups them by movements. My particular edition had a ton of fabulous photographs that let you really see what he is getting at, what they were trying to show you. He does a wonderful job of explaining the ideals behind each movement, what each of these groups was striving for. It’s extremely engaging, and I was as engrossed with it as I would have been were it a novel.
I wish I had it before me to illustrate some of the text, but unfortunately I had to return it to the library last Wednesday. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Go out and read it! I intend to get this one for my permanent library.
There were only two tiny little things that bugged me about this book, and neither I think the writer could help. The first was the lack of women. I understand the times, I do. It just purports to be modern and I wish there was more female representation. The second is, well, I get this whiff of white male Brit pomposity. Maybe it’s me but there was a phrase here and there that gave me that vague feeling.
Four and a half out of five stars.