An accessible and attractive beginner’s guide to getting the most out of looking at pictures
Beautifully illustrated with some of the world’s greatest pictures, from cave paintings and Roman mosaics to Picasso and Damien Hirst, this affordable guide explains the art of looking at and understanding pictures, equipping the reader with the vision and tools to approach any museum picture with confidence.
Looking at pictures can be an exciting or moving experience, but some picturesoften the most rewardingrequire some explanation before they can be fully understood. Delving into the origins, designs, and themes of over one hundred pictures from different periods and places, this book illuminates the art of looking atand talking aboutpictures. Susan Woodford shows how one can read a picture by examining the formal and stylistic devices used by an artist, and she explores popular themes and subject matter, and the relationship of pictures to the societies that produced them.
This indispensable guide is supplemented by a glossary of key terms, ranging from art movements and technical terms to religious and classical terminology, to give readers all the information they need at their fingertips.
About the Author
Susan Woodford received her BA from Harvard University and her MA and PhD from Columbia University. She teaches art history and lectures at the British Museum. In addition to scholarly articles, she has written five other books for the general reader and was the winner of the Criticos Prize 2003.
Table of Contents
Ways of Looking at Pictures 8
Land and Sea 18
Everyday Things 44
History and Mythology 62
The Christian World 80
Creating Patterns on Flat Surfaces 98
Design and Organization 116
The Depiction of Space 124
Formal Analysis 134
Hidden Meanings 148
Further Reading 172