Acknowledging how architecture, painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts reflect the culture and society of their time, this latest addition to the Art Essentials series invites the reader to experience and appreciate the entirety of Western art from prehistory to today.
Focusing on the history in art history, each of The History of Western Art’s twelve chapters opens with a question to ponder, followed by a summary of the major historical developments of the period, touching on social structure, political organization, migration, race, beliefs, scientific advances, and customs. An exploration of these themes in the visualarts reveals how art and architecture from the Great Pyramids and Hagia Sophia, as well as pieces by artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Andy Goldsworthy, Guerrilla Girls, and Faith Ringgold simultaneously shape, reflect, and document the culture of the time and place they were created. A secondary focus explores the constantly evolving aesthetic preferences that swing between naturalism and abstraction, with each era and style either rebelling against the previous or seeking to improve it.
Richly illustrated, this introductory survey by expert art historian and museum lecturer Janetta Rebold Benton offers a succinct and engaging introduction to some of the most important works of architecture, sculpture, and painting in the Western tradition, reinterpreted for a twenty-first-century audience.
Janetta Rebold Benton
Janetta Rebold Benton is the Distinguished Professor of Art History at Pace University, New York, and the author of several books and articles on art including How to Understand Art in the Art Essentials series. She is the recipient of two Fulbright Scholar Awards as visiting professor to China and Russia, respectively, and lectures at the Smithsonian Institution, 92nd Street Y, and previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.