Isms: Understanding Art

Stephen Little
168 pages
5.5 x 8.1 inches
Cover type: 

Isms: Understanding Art is the perfect pocket-sized guide for gallery and museum lovers who have a general interest in art, but not necessarily any formal education in its history. With this portable and indispensable tool in hand, anyone can guide themselves through the world's prestigious museums and recognize and intelligently discuss the significant movements that have shaped the world of art. In an informative and engaging style, each of the numerous "isms" that are used to define—though they often misleadingly cloud—art movements are explained in simple terms and made accessible to the casual art lover. Readers are encouraged to think of styles as useful tools for conversation and exploration, rather than as hard and fast academic definitions, and to relate to the art itself rather than to a merely conceptual idea. Each chapter is devoted to a single art period and begins with an introduction that explains when the movement emerged, the historical period to which it applies, and the principal disputes over the designation’s applicability, usefulness, or significance. The rest of the chapter is divided into several sections discussing the most important artists and works within the period, related key words, and illustrations that best represent the distinctive features. This little book makes it possible for any reader to gain a clear understanding of Classicism or Cubism while sitting in a cafe or visiting a gallery.