Masterpieces of Western Art traces the history of painting from medieval times to the present day. Unlike conventional publications that merely illustrate a few essentials, this work places 900 paintings taken from every era squarely in the foreground. Each of the ten chapters features an introductory essay profiling the age and the achievements of major artists, and then presents selected works accompanied by searching commentaries.
Readers are guided through the techniques and motifs of the artists, and familiarized with the spirit and background concerns of the age. Artist to artist, era to era, century to century, Masterpieces of Western Art adds up to an authoritative history — it is for browsing, too, where the reader can make new discoveries or meet old friends on every page. This imaginary museum of eight centuries of masterpieces by over 500 artists is a place to explore, to acquire a richer understanding of art — a reliable history as entertaining as it is instructive.
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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.