A Little History of Art

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Charlotte Mullins

View Inside Format: Hardcover
Price: $25.00
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A thrilling journey through 100,000 years of art, from the origins of mark making to art’s pivotal role in culture today

Why did our ancestors make art? What did art mean to them and what does their art mean for us today? Why is art even important at all?
Charlotte Mullins brings art to life by focusing on those who made it, from teenage prodigies to nonagenarians. This little history introduces us to overlooked artists, busts a few art history myths, and celebrates global networks of art, from Japan and India to South America and the Middle East.
Mullins shows us the first artworks ever made and early masterpieces such as the Terracotta Army and Nok sculptures. She tells the story of the Renaissance, from Giotto to Michelangelo, and introduces us to subsequent leading artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Rembrandt, and Hokusai. Through the turbulence of the twentieth century, we see artists group together and break apart and meet trailblazers including Käthe Kollwitz, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Jacob Lawrence. More recently contemporary artists such as Ai Weiwei and Shirin Neshat create art as resistance as they address today’s urgent issues. This extraordinary journey through 100,000 years celebrates art’s crucial place in understanding our collective culture and history.

Charlotte Mullins is an art critic, writer, and broadcaster. A former editor of ArtReview, V&A Magazine, and Art Quarterly, she has published more than a dozen books on visual art.

“An energetic, illuminating and wonderful book” – Edmund de Waal

"Brilliantly insightful. A fresh take on art history as we know it." – Katy Hessel, host of The Great Women Artists Podcast

“Charlotte Mullins' 'A Little History of Art' is a wonderfully refreshing, inclusive and readable romp through global art history. At once erudite and accessible, I can't recommend it enough – I wish it had been available when I was an art student!” – Jennifer Higgie, author of The Mirror and the Palette

“Charlotte Mullins tells the story of art with a wonderfully vivid style, taking the reader on an exhilarating time-travelling journey, covering thousands of years and hundreds of artworks.” – Will Gompertz, author of What Are You Looking At?

“A remarkable achievement. Charlotte Mullins tells a story of human creativity that takes us around the world and across vast panoramas of time. She introduces each of her chosen topics with lucid prose, guiding us deftly through changing artistic landscapes and bringing us face to face with artists as they work: we step with her into prehistoric French caves, Florentine squares and New York lofts. A Little History of Art will not only be an inspiring introduction to young readers – its pages contain much to intrigue and entertain anyone interested in human culture.” – Susan Owens, author of Spirit of Place

“Ambitious in scope and beguilingly written, this is a "little" history with great soul” – Jacqueline Riding, author of Hogarth: Life in Progress

“Charlotte Mullins brings art history to life in this compact and exciting retelling of the story of art. Inclusive and expansive, it is the perfect book for art students and those who want to understand, explore and enjoy the important impact art is continuing to have on the world.” – Axel Rüger, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts

ISBN: 9780300253665
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
336 pages, 5 3/8 x 8 1/2
80 color + 40 b/w illus.