This intriguing take on the history of art focuses on groundbreaking moments that changed the course of artistic development, from cave paintings to contemporary works.
The first portrait, the first realistic animal drawing, the first nighttime scene, the first nude study, the first still life. These “firsts” and others are closely explored in twenty-five chapters that help the general reader and art lover alike understand how innovation spurred artistic growth through the years and around the world. Each chapter opens with a specific artist or work that introduced a new concept and includes examples of masterpieces that exemplify them. Colorful illustrations and lively texts show how each concept influenced other contemporary works as well as future generations. For example, self-portraits painted by Rembrandt, van Gogh, and even Max Beckmann can be traced back to the first recorded self-portrait by Jan van Eyck. A Miraculous Draught of Fishes, by fifteenth-century artist Konrad Witz, paved the way for later landscapes by Dürer, Constable, and Wyeth. Arranged chronologically, the chapters in the book can be studied individually to deepen our understanding of a particular aspect of art or as a whole—to appreciate the ever changing patterns of artistic development.