Perceptions of Art: New Books

Check out some of the recent additions to our art sections – this time with a focus on how we look at and appreciate different works of art. These books span from classical paintings, all the way through to modern design and the creativity of artificial intelligence.

Look again : how to experience the Old Masters / Ward, Ossian
“An approachable guide to Old Masterpaintings from a newperspective that offers a simple aid to looking at and demystifying the often obscure strategies of the greatest painters of all time. Look Again does not deny the specific complexities and barriers associated with looking at art from other eras, instead it offers methods that not only provide the viewer with the tools to interpret the art, but also assumes that we intuitively hold some of this knowledge within ourselves already.” (adapted from Catalogue)

From A to Eames : a visual guide to mid-century modern design / Whybrow, Lauren
“This sophisticated A to Z picture book for adults is an illustrated journey through midcentury modern design, perfect for any reader with a keen eye for style. With eighty tales of design, laid out in a fun and easy-to-read A to Z format, design lovers will be reading this book to each other before bed. If you didn’t know that E stands for Eames, Egg Chair, and Elrod House (or don’t know what any of those words actually mean) then this book belongs on your coffee table. And if you can’t afford an Eames coffee table, then rejoice in knowing that From A to Eames makes an inexpensive and equally satisfying alternative.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Old in Art School, Nell Painter (Audiobook)
Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school-in her sixties-to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Great women artists
“Five centuries of fascinating female creativity presented in more than 400 compelling artworks and one comprehensive volume. In museums, galleries, and the art market, previously overlooked female artists, past and present, are now gaining recognition and value. This essential volume reveals a parallel yet equally engaging history of art for an age that champions a greater diversity of voices.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Colin McCahon : there is only one direction. Vol. I 1919-1959 / Simpson, Peter
“The first of an extraordinary two-volume work chronicling forty-five years of painting by New Zealand’s most important artist, Colin McCahon. This material enables us to begin to understand McCahon’s work as the artist himself conceived it. This will be the definitive work on New Zealand’s leading artist for many years to come.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The creativity code : how AI is learning to write, paint and think / Du Sautoy, Marcus
“As humans, we have an extraordinary ability to create works of art that elevate, expand and transform what it means to be alive. But can machines be creative? Marcus finds out how long it might be before machines come up with something creative, and whether they might jolt us into being more imaginative in turn. The result is a fascinating and very different exploration into both AI and the essence of what it means to be human.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Almost lost arts : traditional crafts and the artisans keeping them alive / Freidenrich, Emily
“The perfect antidote to the digital age. This book celebrates twenty artisans around the world who are breathing new life into traditional crafts. Gorgeous photographs reveal these craftspeople’s studios, from Oaxaca to Kyoto and from Milan to Tennessee. Two essays explore the challenges and rewards of engaging deeply with the past. With an elegant three-piece case and foil stamping, this rich volume will be an inspiration to makers, collectors, and history lovers.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The story of painting : how art was made.
“A fascinating new history of art, this gloriously illustrated book reveals how materials, techniques, and ideas have evolved over the centuries, inspiring artists and giving them the means to create their most celebrated works. Covering a comprehensive array of topics. The Story of Painting follows each step in the evolution of painting over the last 25,000 years, from the first cave paintings to the abstract works of the last 150 years.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rick Steves Europe’s top 100 masterpieces : art for the traveler / Steves, Rick
“This essay collection features Rick’s unique take on Europe’s best-known works of art, from the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa to Picasso’s Guernica, providing historical context as well as a personal examination of the pieces. The book also covers Europe’s most striking architecture… sure to inspire both history buffs and novice travelers alike.” (Adapted from Catalogue)