Art is powerful. We use the arts for our entertainment, cultural appreciation, aesthetics, personal improvement, and even social change. We use the arts in order to thrive in this world. Art is a perfect means to express yourself, bring your imagination to life, question certain standards, ideals, and mentalities, and stirring deep conversations towards the things that we often do not pay much attention to.
Painting, sculpture, and any other form of art go hand in hand with writing. Artists and authors cannot be separated. While artists find expression without words, authors find expression with their words and in some cases, pictures as well. In the early years of abstract art, writers were needed to convey information about the new art trends and philosophies with the use of written language. Over the years, all of this wisdom has been documented in many forms. For this post, we’ll be reviewing a list of top ten art books you must read.
1. Art and Visual perception; A psychology of the creative eye.
Since it was first written in 1954 and has continued to remain relevant, this book by Rudolf Arnheim obviously won’t be going off the scenes any time soon.
It is a must-have for anyone who is looking to gain lifetime adventure or build a career in art. It is sure to stir in you a burning hunger to create something out of the ordinary.
You stand a chance to understand why you should see the visual organization, composition, and development from different perspectives.
2. Just Looking: Essays on Art.
This book by John Updike contains 23 essays on a traditional and modern art show. It puts together the most salient points from a novelist and critic’s point of view, on art and artists, museums and popular culture. There are pieces on cartoonist Ralph Barton, Vermeer, Modigliani, the major impressionists and a couple of other amazing pieces. This book is unlike any book you’ll read on art, a collection about art and artists, carefully put down by a man known for his work in literature.
3. Art and Fear
This is a book about creating art, ordinary art in itself. This book will most definitely give you revelation and release and you’ll be able to see that you’re the only one standing in your way. David Bayles and Ted Orland do great justice to the fact that you do not have to be a genius before you can create art. It explores the processes leading up to the production of art and the reasons why art doesn’t get made as often as it should. It is not your regular art book, it is a book by artists, for artists.
4. Art Since 1900
History!!! How sweet! Here, four historians provide a comprehensive history of art dating back to centuries buried in 100 essays presented in a year by year documentation of key events that contributed to evolving artistic traditions and the coming to play of new forms. Written by Benjamin H.D Buchloh, while this book will be a smooth ride to those already conversant with its terms, to the novice, it might be a series of unfinished conversations. It is a challenging book, but so is art and that’s why it is a .must-read.
5. The Art Spirit by Robert Henri.
For the one who comes across this book early enough, it will be a precious guide, full of advice, criticism, and inspiration. It has been a major source of inspiration for artists as it is filled with valuable advice and wisdom about the place of art and the artist in our world. It is considered one of the most motivational, inspiring and fundamental books for artists and while it might be a bit hard to read, it is a great book to learn a lot from if you’re able to go through to the end.
6. What is Art?
Do you want a book with so much clarity and realistic touch to it? What is Art by Leo Tolstoy is your go-to book. The author invests all his passion for art into this book and in clear terms, using language and ideas that anybody can understand and relate to, he tells what he has observed and read about art. Tolstoy also gives a detailed brief about what philosophers and aestheticians have to say about art. In this book, Tolstoy dissected all avenues leading to the subject of art.
7. Vision and art; The biology of seeing.
Margaret Livingstone, a neurobiologist in this book explains how vision works. She makes it easy to understand why certain art characters look the way they look, for instance; why Mona Lisa’s smile seems so mysterious, she explains what “red” is, how our eye sees red and how our brains perceive it. Vision and art offer insights and allows you to understand the impressionists, art and visual element in nature better. And as you know, when you’re enlightened, you see things from a different perspective, you stand a chance to understand better, how sight and vision work especially with artists.
8. The writer’s brush- Paintings, drawings, and sculptures by writers.
If there is one thing that artists and writers share in common,it the burning desire to make a mark on paper, find expression on paper through any means. Donald Friedman, author of the book has made a collection of 400 paintings, drawings and sculptures most of which are from private collections and have never been published before. Anyone who reads the writer’s brush will be able to see into the minds of their favorite writers and understand the nature of the creative process as well.
9. What Painting is by James Elkins
Ordinarily, from its title, one would expect this book to be about art and painters but instead, the author’s original work has its focus on alchemy and brings to full view, the relationship that an alchemist and a painter share, they both seek to transform and be transformed by their works. Elkins explores in great detail the similarity between painters and alchemists. It is a must-have for painters as it is bound to change your view about painting and art-making.
The use and abuse of art.
This book is as captivating as the title is. It seizes your imagination at once. Jacques Barzun talks about art as a religion, a Redeemer or one who has simply come to destroy. He stretches your mind to comprehend more, yet encouraging you to go on as if you have understood more than you have. It is a concise analysis of how religion and art have taken over from each other over the years.
Books are always a way into the mind of someone. All the books listed in this article provide a window into the world of art. If you’ve been looking to go on a journey into the world of art, these books are a must-have. Go read and thank me later!