A New Way of Seeing The History of Art in 57 Works

Kelly Grovier

An exciting new critical voice explores what makes art great through an illuminating analysis of the world’s artistic masterpieces, now in paperback.


From a carved mammoth tusk (c. 40,000 BCE) to Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (1505–1510) to Duchamp’s Fountain (1917), a remarkable lexicon of astonishing imagery has imprinted itself onto the cultural consciousness of the past forty thousand years.

Author Kelly Grovier devotes himself to illuminating these and more than fifty other seminal works in this radical new history of art. Stepping away from biography, style, and the chronology of “isms” that preoccupies most of art history, A New Way of Seeing invites interaction with art, learning from the artworks and not just about them. Grovier identifies that part of the artwork that bridges the divide between art and life and elevates its value beyond the visual to the vital. This book challenges the sensibility that conceives of artists as brands and the works they create as nothing more than material commodities to hoard, hide, and flip for profit.

Lavishly illustrated with many of the most breathtaking and enduring artworks ever created, Grovier casts fresh light on these famous works by daring to isolate a single, often overlooked detail responsible for its greatness and power to move.


Finally, a book that asks, with a restless and sensitive eye, what it is that makes masterpieces sing across the centuries. A highly enjoyable history of art that is also a fascinating meditation on excellence.

— Jonathan Jones The Guardian


Kelly Grovier


Kelly Grovier is a feature writer for BBC Culture and the author of several acclaimed studies on art, including A New Way of Seeing: The History of Art in 57 Works and The Art of Color.