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The Thames & Hudson Introduction to Art

Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields


The bestselling, comprehensive introduction, which offers multiple ways of looking at the visual arts from prehistory to the 21st century

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The Thames & Hudson Introduction to Art is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of the visual arts. Part 1 introduces the visual language of art, while Part 2 explains how art is made, from such traditional media and processes as stone carving, fresco and oil painting, to contemporary approaches, such as digital and conceptual art and installations. Part 3 offers an overview of the history of art from prehistoric times to the 21st century in all parts of the world, and Part 4 examines art through the major themes that, across cultures and throughout history, have inspired artists to create great works of art.

More than 800 images of art are shown and discussed in a clear and vivid way, offering stimulating insights into the visual arts. Additionally, the authors have selected eight iconic works that represent the extraordinary variety of art created throughout time and around the world. As these great works are examined from different points of view in the four parts of the book, the reader gains a deeper understanding of the skill involved in artistic creation, and the endless expressive possibilities of art.

This is a beautifully illustrated book that emphasizes the astonishing diversity of art in all its forms. Here the reader encounters the timeless primal power of the Woman from Willendorf, made as long ago as 24,000 BCE; dramatically differing architectural masterpieces, from Temple 1 in the Great Plaza of Tikal in Guatemala, built between 300 and 900 BCE, to the twentieth-century innovations of Le Corbusier; the delicate detail of fifteenth-century portraits by Jan Van Eyck alongside Andy Warhol's Double Elvis; and contemporary works ranging from the traditionally crafted Japanese kimonos of Sonoko Sasaki to the dynamic and thought-provoking video art of Bill Viola.

The Thames & Hudson Introduction to Art is the most accessible and complete visual arts guide available, and an indispensable resource for art students and enthusiasts alike.

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'A revelatory volume … Aimed at the teenager and foundation-year student, it still holds plenty of surprises for the old hand'
The Times

'It will send neophyte and aficionado alike out into our museums and galleries afresh'
The Times

'Packed with information and looks good on the shelf too'
Homes & Antiques

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: PLC (with jacket)

Size: 27.5 x 21.2 cm

Extent: 624 pp

Publication date: 21 September 2015

ISBN: 9780500239438

Contents List

How to Use this Book * Gateway Features * Introduction Part 1: Fundamentals 1.1 Art in Two Dimensions: Line, Shape and the Principle of Contrast * 1.2 Three-Dimensional Art: Form, Volume, Mass and Texture * 1.3 Implied Depth: Value and Space * 1.4 Colour * 1.5 Time and Motion * 1.6 Unity, Variety and Balance * 1.7 Scale and Proportion * 1.8 Emphasis and Focal Point * 1.9 Pattern and Rhythm * 1.10 Content and Analysis Part 2: Media and Processes 2.1 Drawing * 2.2 Painting * 2.3 Printmaking * 2.4 Visual Communication Design * 2.5 Photography * 2.6 Film/Video and Digital Art * 2.7 Alternative media and processes * 2.8 The Tradition of Craft * 2.9 Sculpture * 2.10 Architecture Part 3: History 3.1. The Prehistoric and Ancient Mediterranean * 3.2. Art of the Middle Ages * 3.3. Art of India, China and Japan * 3.4 Art of the Americas * 3.5 Art of Africa and the Pacific Islands * 3.6 Art of Renaissance and Baroque Europe (1400 - 1750) * 3.7 Art of Europe and America (1700 - 1900) 3.8 Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: The Age of Global Art Part 4: Themes 4.1. Art and Community * 4.2 Spirituality and Art * 4.3 Art and the Cycle of Life * 4.4 Art and Science * 4.5 Art and Illusion * 4.6 Art and Rulers * 4.7 Art and War * 4.8 Art and Social Conscience * 4.9 The Body in Art * 4.10 Art and Gender * 4.11 Expression Glossary * Further Reading * Sources of Quotations * Illustration Credits * Acknowledgments * Index

About the Author

Debra J. DeWitte is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art & Art History, University of Texas/Arlington.

Ralph M. Larmann is Associate Professor of Art at the University of Evansville, Indiana.

M. Kathryn Shields is Assistant Professor of Art History and Chair of the Art Department, Guilford College, North Carolina.