Appropriate for one-semester art history surveys or historically-focused art appreciation classes, A History of Western Art, Fifth Edition, combines sound scholarship, lavish visuals, and a lively narrative to provide students with an accessible and engaging introduction to art history. Focusing on the Western canon, the text presents a compelling chronological narrative from prehistory to the present. A non-Western supplement, World Views: Topics in Non-Western Art, addresses specific areas of non-Western art and augments the Western chronology by illustrating moments of thematic relationships and cross-cultural contact.
It's difficult for any author trying to produce a beginning-level art history textbook to come up with something that is truly exemplary because the very nature of the task requires skimming or excluding so much of what is vital to understanding the subject. Adams ( Art and Psychoanalysis , LJ 9/15/93) has produced a work like many others in that it provides an enticing but fuzzy snapshot of each artistic period as it races from the Venus of Willendorf to Jean-Michel Basquiat in 500 pages. One of Adams's most valuable innovations over such standard texts as H.W. Janson's History of Art or Helen Gardner's Art Through the Ages is the beginning chapter, which covers the language of the visual artist--a brief but straightforward discussion of form, line, and value relating directly to later chapters. She has also included a much higher proportion of color images than do other titles in this price range and has added sidebars to enhance her main text. Ultimately, this book will be useful to students in first-year Western art history classes, but it need only be purchased by college libraries where such courses are common.-- Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., Cal.