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The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern

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A layman's guide to art history provides the reader with a basic working knowledge of art and its influence on society. A layman's guide to art history provides the reader with a basic working knowledge of art and its influence on society.


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A layman's guide to art history provides the reader with a basic working knowledge of art and its influence on society. A layman's guide to art history provides the reader with a basic working knowledge of art and its influence on society.

30 review for The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern

  1. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I really did love this book. I am not on artist, never did much with art growing up, but have learned to really appreciate art in my travels as an adult. I've been yearning to learn more about art--a little history, a little interconnectedness, a little about major themes, etc. This book was perfect for all of that. There was enough information to be informative and interesting, but not so much to feel overwhelmed. When I was curious about an artist or piece of art in the book, it was easy to go I really did love this book. I am not on artist, never did much with art growing up, but have learned to really appreciate art in my travels as an adult. I've been yearning to learn more about art--a little history, a little interconnectedness, a little about major themes, etc. This book was perfect for all of that. There was enough information to be informative and interesting, but not so much to feel overwhelmed. When I was curious about an artist or piece of art in the book, it was easy to google for more information. This book has increased my understanding of art and will help me enjoy art even more.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The subtitle of this book states it is 'A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern'. This is a fun, easy to read book that covers a wide spectrum of art throughout history. While an obvious choice for art lovers it is also a good choice for aspiring artist in order to learn and recognize technique/style/etc. Notes A good alternative to dry, academic textbooks. Learning Curve Low: Good for new readers. The subtitle of this book states it is 'A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern'. This is a fun, easy to read book that covers a wide spectrum of art throughout history. While an obvious choice for art lovers it is also a good choice for aspiring artist in order to learn and recognize technique/style/etc. Notes A good alternative to dry, academic textbooks. Learning Curve Low: Good for new readers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lena Nguyen

    My AP Art History teacher distributed this to my high school AP art history class as a textbook, and as a friendlier companion to our monstrously bulky 1000+ paged art history textbook. The Annotated Mona Lisa really is a crash course on art history, covering much of the materials needed in about 200 pages. I literally had a cram study session with my friend the day before our AP Art History exam by reading through this entire book. I'm really glad i did too, because I felt I did really well on My AP Art History teacher distributed this to my high school AP art history class as a textbook, and as a friendlier companion to our monstrously bulky 1000+ paged art history textbook. The Annotated Mona Lisa really is a crash course on art history, covering much of the materials needed in about 200 pages. I literally had a cram study session with my friend the day before our AP Art History exam by reading through this entire book. I'm really glad i did too, because I felt I did really well on the writing portion of the test. Had I not read over this book, I would have still been confused and mixed around the Renaissance artists to the Baroque artists. Reading this book in its entirety and also looking over a bit of my notes really made me understand and do well on my exam, even though it really was last minute studying and cramming. I did, however, have some problems with the book. There are some pictures of artwork in the book that was supposed to be in color, like Gericault's "Raft of the Medusa". The Annotated Mona Lisa DID NOT provide color images of some of the artworks in the book, and that was very frustrating. Not only that, but several times when a remarkably interesting or famous piece of art is mentioned, you would think that the author would provide a picture of the work so the reader can see what they are talking about. Well, they didn't. And that kind of pissed me off because I really wanted to see what they were talking about and compare and contrast the artwork they were talking about with the artwork that was shown. I'd really like the author to please try and release another edition of the book, one with corrections to my two complaints stated. Other than that, this was a very educational and enjoyable read. I just gave the book back today to the school since school's almost out, and I'm actually pretty sad that I had to part with the most amazing textbook ever(: we've been through sweat and blood and tears together, trying to learn art history. I will DEFINITELY go out later to buy myself a copy. A really great book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gabe Forrest

    This book covers art history pretty well. For me anyways, it gave me a great jumping off point to get into art more, and it provided me with a mental timeline of how movements came and went over time. It goes from prehistoric to contemporary in about 200 pages or so, which is made even more incredible by the fact that I actually understood it in such a short time. I found its best feature to be the portions on modern art, as I have an affinity for that as is and to see it explained well was very This book covers art history pretty well. For me anyways, it gave me a great jumping off point to get into art more, and it provided me with a mental timeline of how movements came and went over time. It goes from prehistoric to contemporary in about 200 pages or so, which is made even more incredible by the fact that I actually understood it in such a short time. I found its best feature to be the portions on modern art, as I have an affinity for that as is and to see it explained well was very helpful. Overall, I very much liked it, and anyone else who wants to get into art probably will too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Perfect for a crash course in art history. All the classics and major players through the ages are mentioned here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    In my high-school art history class, we read Janson, Schneider-Adams and this. It is really great for someone who doesn't want to go through the trouble of studying art but still wants to understand it or talk about it. It is also really good for people like me who have a degree in he subject but have not actively studied since receiving said degree. In my high-school art history class, we read Janson, Schneider-Adams and this. It is really great for someone who doesn't want to go through the trouble of studying art but still wants to understand it or talk about it. It is also really good for people like me who have a degree in he subject but have not actively studied since receiving said degree.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Krystal Booth

    Great for a quick overview of Art History that can lead to a ridiculous amount of research topics of interest for anyone interested in art. It does not go into extensive detail about any of the artists or movements, but provides a great base for anyone interested in learning more about art history in general. Quick, easy read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patty Barnett

    This is a great overview of art and artists. I use it as a reference when I need a bit of knowledge or as a quick refresher. Not a book to read from beginning to end but a book to read in pieces. And a book to keep. I will never be finished

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jake Cooper

    Art History 101. How paint tech allowed impressionism. Why romanticism followed neoclassicism. What cubism even is. Best: side-by-side comparisons Be aware: like all good intros, it sacrifices richness for linearity

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emily Snyder

    This book is one of the biggest reasons why I ever enjoyed art history in high school. It absolutely does what it claims: it breaks down lofty concepts and critiques, presenting the world's most famous artworks in an accessible, understandable, and engaging way. This book is one of the biggest reasons why I ever enjoyed art history in high school. It absolutely does what it claims: it breaks down lofty concepts and critiques, presenting the world's most famous artworks in an accessible, understandable, and engaging way.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    This is the best book by far to have. Just put it in your collection. Good for a quick reference guide and lots of detail.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donna Walsh

    Really love this book, it is often my go to book to get me started if I am looking into an artist or period of Art History.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    Great explanation of the various art movements in the western world (though I thought it was odd that so much of the book focuses on the last 150 years, including highlighting so many artists). This might be fixed in later editions but I knocked it down to three stars because some of the paintings were in grey scale and many of the pieces she discussed weren’t even included in the photos. I also wished she had focused a bit more on the art outside of the western canon. There were a lot of refere Great explanation of the various art movements in the western world (though I thought it was odd that so much of the book focuses on the last 150 years, including highlighting so many artists). This might be fixed in later editions but I knocked it down to three stars because some of the paintings were in grey scale and many of the pieces she discussed weren’t even included in the photos. I also wished she had focused a bit more on the art outside of the western canon. There were a lot of references to how artists were “influenced” by African or Japanese but very little explanation or examples of that art.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    A very good short course that hits with broad strokes the canon of Western art, with plenty of small examples that help one visualize many of the styles, as well as important works that many people will be familiar with, as well as anecdotal information that is fun as well. Of course, some artists are slighted, and even overlooked, but what this book serves to do, I think, is give an overview and if you like a certain style(s), as I did, you can do further research, as I did (and will continue t A very good short course that hits with broad strokes the canon of Western art, with plenty of small examples that help one visualize many of the styles, as well as important works that many people will be familiar with, as well as anecdotal information that is fun as well. Of course, some artists are slighted, and even overlooked, but what this book serves to do, I think, is give an overview and if you like a certain style(s), as I did, you can do further research, as I did (and will continue to do).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The author's views on several periods/artists was very obvious at times, which I had a bit of a problem with. It was also dryer than my college texts were. I think it was a great 'crash course' type of thing for people who don't have/don't want to seek those bigger books out, but I'll probably just dig out my old Art History books from college and read them the next time I want to review this stuff. The author's views on several periods/artists was very obvious at times, which I had a bit of a problem with. It was also dryer than my college texts were. I think it was a great 'crash course' type of thing for people who don't have/don't want to seek those bigger books out, but I'll probably just dig out my old Art History books from college and read them the next time I want to review this stuff.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    While this is a good book for anyone interested in art history it should have been subtitled as a course in Westernized art history. There is so much left out from other world cultures that it spoils the lessons of the book for me. I'm still enjoying the reading but only within the limitations of the author's view point which is not a world view of art history. While this is a good book for anyone interested in art history it should have been subtitled as a course in Westernized art history. There is so much left out from other world cultures that it spoils the lessons of the book for me. I'm still enjoying the reading but only within the limitations of the author's view point which is not a world view of art history.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan Liston

    3.5. I've had this book for a long time and just realized I'd never read it. For a book that covers so much territory it was quite quick and easy. A good review, and for anyone just beginning to study art it would be an excellent book to start with. It even has charts to help keep tract of artists that you might get confused at first. 3.5. I've had this book for a long time and just realized I'd never read it. For a book that covers so much territory it was quite quick and easy. A good review, and for anyone just beginning to study art it would be an excellent book to start with. It even has charts to help keep tract of artists that you might get confused at first.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    Wanted more photographs of the art. When you explain a painting or piece of art in-depth, you should provide the image of that piece. Also, photographs of art shouldn’t be in black-and-white, especially if you are expounding on the wonderful color contrasts. Disappointing for this newbie to art history.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Blackburn

    An excellent synopsis of all art ages. May require fact checking, as some side notes seemed to contradict what I learned in art history classes or have read elsewhere. Much can be learned for each period of art. Some of my favorite art periods are Egyptian, Impressionism and Photography.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Mosier Warren

    Despite being a textbook, I found this book to be deeply interesting. I read it over the course of a few days and feel like I have a much better overview of art history. It gives context and vocabulary to art with clear and easy to read text.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maddison Holland

    Read for Art History class - pretty condensed version which was nice not to read too in-depth, but also frustrating not to view all the works mentioned.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Given to me by my daughter after seeing the Mona Lisa together. Interesting.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    Read for the Praxis test. Very good resource, with entertaining information along the way.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pam Jackson

    Basically an outline of art history. I use it for quick information when reviewing for docent tours.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sean Ditmore

    I would recommend watching the Kenneth Clark documentary "Civilisation" instead. This is kind of a dry read. I would recommend watching the Kenneth Clark documentary "Civilisation" instead. This is kind of a dry read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sa Schmidt

    A very comprehensive book. Very detailed about art history and technique.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Fast overview of major painters and movements in the western world.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angelina Attaway

    Good job of packing it all into a small book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark Witzke

    Enjoyable quick overview of art history. By that I mean strictly western art history but it's good for that at least Enjoyable quick overview of art history. By that I mean strictly western art history but it's good for that at least

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emma Grace

    I read the first edition for an Art History class and enjoyed it. I saw a lot of the art in Paris and will see some more in Florence/Venice and have a bit more appreciation for the pieces. I'm still not fully invested in modern art, but appreciate the older stuff (pre-impressionism). I read the first edition for an Art History class and enjoyed it. I saw a lot of the art in Paris and will see some more in Florence/Venice and have a bit more appreciation for the pieces. I'm still not fully invested in modern art, but appreciate the older stuff (pre-impressionism).

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