Why a reading list of the best books on Art History? Well, Art History is the study of art in its historical context. It covers a wide range of topics, from the art of ancient civilizations to the art of the modern-day. Art history is important for a number of reasons. First, it helps us to understand the art of other cultures. By studying the art of different cultures, we can learn about their history, religion, and ways of life. Second, art history can help us to appreciate art more. Often, when we see a work of art, we focus only on its aesthetic value. However, when we study art history, we learn to look beyond surface appearances and to appreciate the work for its historical and cultural significance. Finally, art history is important because it is a source of inspiration for artists. By studying the great masters of the past, artists can learn new techniques and develop new ideas. For these reasons, art history is an essential part of a well-rounded education.

Art history books provide a wealth of information about the development of art movements and the lives of famous artists. By studying art history, we can gain a greater understanding of the trends that have shaped the art world over time. We can also learn about the influences that artists have had on one another, and how art has been used to reflect the changing values of society. In addition, art history books often contain beautiful illustrations that can provide inspiration for our own work. Whether we are interested in painting, sculpture, or any other form of art, art history books can offer us a valuable window into the past.

Please enjoy this list of the best art history books.


art through the ages - best books on art historyGardner’s Art Through the Ages by Fred S. Kleiner

Art history books are essential for art students and budding art historians. They provide detailed information about art movements, artists, and artworks. One of the most popular art history books is Gardner’s Art Through the Ages by Fred S. Kleiner. This book covers a wide range of topics, from prehistoric art to contemporary art. It includes over 1,000 illustrations and photographs, as well as concise explanations of art concepts and styles.

Whether you’re just starting to learn about art or you’re already an expert, Gardner’s Art Through the Ages is a great resource for anyone interested in art history.

the story of art - best books on art historyThe Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich

The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich is one of the most popular books on art history. Published in 1950, it has been translated into more than 20 languages and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Gombrich’s accessible and engaging writing style has made The Story of Art a classic in the field, and it remains an essential resource for art lovers of all levels of interest and expertise.

In addition to chronicling the history of art from prehistoric times to the present day, Gombrich also offers insightful analysis of individual artworks and movements. With its combination of scholarship and sheer readability, it is no wonder that The Story of Art continues to be one of the most beloved books on art ever written.

the short story of art - best books on art historyThe Short Story of Art by Susie Hodge

The Short Story of Art is an art history book written by Susie Hodge. The book covers a wide range of topics, from the art of ancient civilizations to the modern art movements of the 20th century. In addition to providing a brief overview of each period, the book also includes several in-depth case studies of famous works of art. As a result, The Short Story of Art is an essential resource for anyone interested in learning about art history.

Although the book is concise and easy to read, it is also packed with information, making it an invaluable resource for art students and enthusiasts alike.

duccio to leonardo - best books on art historyDuccio to Leonardo: Italian Painting 1250 – 1500 by Simona Di Nepi

Anyone interested in art history will find much to enjoy in Simona Di Nepi’s Duccio to Leonardo: Italian Painting 1250 – 1500. This book offers a comprehensive overview of one of the most important periods in art history, featuring work by some of the most iconic names in the field. Di Nepi does an excellent job of contextualizing each painting within its historical moment, allowing readers to appreciate the full significance of each work.

In addition, her descriptions are clear and accessible, making this book an ideal introduction to Italian Renaissance art. Whether you’re a seasoned art historian or just getting started, Duccio to Leonardo is sure to offer you new insights into this fascinating period.

a world history of art - best books on art historyA World History of Art by Hugh Honour and John Fleming

A World History of Art by Hugh Honour and John Fleming is an excellent book for art lovers and art students alike. The book covers the history of art from prehistoric times to the present day and does an excellent job of providing a broad overview of the subject. While it is impossible to cover every artist and every period in a single book, Honour and Fleming do an admirable job of selecting representative works and artists, and provide a well-rounded view of art history.

The book is also beautifully illustrated, with hundreds of full-colour plates accompanying the text. Overall, A World History of Art is a fascinating book that provides a great introduction to the world of art.

manet to picasso - best books on art historyManet to Picasso by The National Gallery

Manet to Picasso is a comprehensive art history book published by The National Gallery. It covers a wide range of artists and art movements, from the Impressionists to the Cubists. The book includes an extensive collection of illustrations and photos, making it an invaluable resource for anyone interested in art history.

In addition, the book features essays by leading art experts, providing insights into the lives and works of some of the most influential artists of the time. Whether you’re a seasoned art historian or a casual art lover, Manet to Picasso is a book that you’re sure to enjoy.

Janson's history of art - best books on art historyJanson’s History of Art by Penelope J.E. Davies, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph F. Jacobs, David L. Simon, Ann S. Roberts and Family Trust Janson.

Janson’s History of Art is a book that covers the history of art from prehistoric times to the present day. It was first published in 1962 and has been through eight editions since then. The authors are Penelope J.E. Davies, Frima Fox Hofrichter, Joseph F. Jacobs, David L. Simon, Ann S. Roberts and Family Trust Janson. The book is used as a textbook in many art history courses around the world. It is considered to be one of the most authoritative sources in art history.

The book is over 1,000 pages long and includes more than 2,500 illustrations. It covers a wide range of topics, including art movements, artists, styles and artisanship. It is an essential reference for anyone interested in art history.

abstract art - best books on art historyAbstract Art: A Global History by Pepe Karmel

Art history is important because it allows us to understand the context in which art was created. Abstract Art: A Global History by Pepe Karmel is a comprehensive and accessible guide to understanding this art movement. The book covers a wide range of topics, including the origins of abstract art, its spread around the world, and its impact on the art world today.

In addition, Karmel provides insights into the work of key artists, such as Piet Mondrian and Jackson Pollock. With its clear and concise writing, Abstract Art: A Global History is an essential resource for anyone interested in understanding this important art movement.

the big book of art - best books on art historyThe Collins Big Book of Art: From Cave Art to Pop Art

The Collins Big Book of Art is an art history book that covers a wide range of art from cave art to pop art. The book is organized chronologically, with each chapter covering a different period in art history. In addition to providing an overview of art movements and major artists, the book also includes hundreds of photographs and illustrations.

As a result, it is an ideal resource for anyone interested in learning about art history. Whether you are a casual reader or a serious student, The Collins Big Book of Art is sure to provide you with a better understanding of the art world.

art that changed the world - best books on art historyArt That Changed the World by DK

Art That Changed the World is a fascinating book that takes readers on a journey through art history. From prehistoric cave paintings to modernist masterpieces, the book explores the works of art that have had the biggest impact on the world. The book also discusses the artists behind these works and the stories behind their creations.

In addition to being a fascinating read, Art That Changed the World is also a beautifully illustrated book, with hundreds of full-colour photographs. Whether you’re an art lover or simply curious about the history of art, this book is sure to provide hours of enjoyment.

show time - best books on art historyShow Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art

art history buffs and contemporary art enthusiasts alike will appreciate Show Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art. The book offers a detailed examination of some of the most important art exhibitions of the past few decades, tracing the origins of each show and exploring its impact on the art world.

In addition to providing valuable insights into art history, the book also serves as a reminder that art is always evolving and changing. As such, Show Time is an essential read for anyone interested in keeping up with the latest trends in the art world.

the art book - best books on art historyThe Art Book by Phaidon

The Art Book is a landmark publication from Phaidon Press. First released in 2002, it quickly became a bestseller and has since been translated into over 20 languages. The Art Book is essentially a compendium of art history, featuring 512 pages of full-colour images and concise texts on 100 of the world’s most influential artists. While some art books focus on a specific period or region, The Art Book takes a more global approach, featuring artists from all corners of the world and spanning the entire history of art.

In addition to being an invaluable reference tool, The Art Book is also highly browsable, making it an enjoyable read for both art enthusiasts and general readers alike. With its mix of accessibility and scholarship, it is no wonder that The Art Book has become one of the most popular art books of all time.

are the definitive guide - best books on art historyArt: The Definitive Visual Guide by Andrew Graham Dixon

Art: The Definitive Visual Guide is a book that offers readers a comprehensive look at the history of art. Written by Andrew Graham Dixon, the book covers a wide range of topics, from the art of ancient civilizations to the art of the Renaissance. In addition, the book includes more than 1,000 illustrations, making it an essential resource for anyone interested in art history.

With its clear and concise explanations, Art: The Definitive Visual Guide is sure to appeal to both art enthusiasts and those who are new to the field.

the national gallery - best books on art historyThe National Gallery: An Illustrated History

Art history buffs and art lovers alike will appreciate The National Gallery: An Illustrated History. This book offers a detailed and comprehensive look at the history of one of the world’s most famous art museums. Readers will learn about the National Gallery’s founding in the early 1800s, as well as its extensive art collection, which includes works by some of the most renowned artists in history.

In addition, the book features numerous illustrations and photographs, making it a visually striking addition to any art lover’s library. Whether you’re an art history buff or simply enjoy admiring beautiful works of art, The National Gallery: An Illustrated History is sure to delight.

ways of seeing  - best books on art historyWays of Seeing by John Berger

In his book Ways of Seeing, John Berger offers a groundbreaking perspective on art history and the act of seeing art. Through a series of essays, Berger challenges common assumptions about art and its value. He argues that art is not simply a static object to be admired, but rather a dynamic force that can shape our understanding of the world. In essence, Berger shows us that there are multiple ways of seeing art and that these ways can change over time.

For example, he discusses how the invention of photography changed the way we see art by making it more accessible to the masses. By providing such insights, Ways of Seeing allows us to view art in a new light and appreciate it in more depth than ever before.


For anyone interested in art, art history is a fascinating topic. There are books on art history that cover any and every period and genre imaginable. A person could easily spend a lifetime reading about art history and never get bored. What’s more, art history is not just about learning about famous paintings and artists; it is also about understanding the culture and events of the time period in which the art was created. In other words, art history can help us to understand the past and learn more about other cultures. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your knowledge of art, consider picking up a book on art history. You might just be surprised at how much you enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this reading list of the best books on art history you may also want to check out the most inspiring books for artists.

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