With spring gift-giving season upon us, what could be more welcome than a revised, slipcased edition of the book that Publishers Weekly described as "destined to establish itself a modern classic"? Most moms, dads, and grads, like the rest of us, know what they like, but how much do we know about art history? Marilyn Stokstad's Art History does a fine job of filling in the gaps in even the most informed aficionado's knowledge. Not content to cover the only usual Western suspects, the lavishly illustrated Art History endeavors to be inclusive of all key world cultures and traditions.
Destined to establish itself as a modern classic, this hugely informative, wholly enjoyable global history of art from prehistoric times to the present views art as a fundamental, inextricable vehicle for the human spirit. Although Western visual art and architecture receive the most attention, there is also extensive coverage of India, China, Japan, Africa, Islamic art and Pacific cultures. Few texts so wide-rangingly connect the artistic output of each period to the artists' lives, sources of funding and historical, social and political context. The 1625 stunning illustrations (761 in color) are unrivaled in their adventurous selection and quality by any book of this type. Time lines chart parallel developments across cultures and civilizations; inserts spotlight literary and intellectual trends and artists' techniques. Stokstad, art history professor at the University of Kansas, has produced both a college text and a layperson's guide that is more fun than H.W. Janson's standard History of Art, and more multicultural.