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 first artworks ever made to art’s central role in culture today
 
“This lively volume is ideal for the precocious high-schooler, the lazy collegian . . . and any adult who wishes for greater mastery of the subject. . . . Mullins leav[es] readers with an expansive, no-regrets appreciation of art and the human story.”—Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal
 
“A fresh take on art history as we know it.”—Katy Hessel, The Great Women Artists Podcast
 
Charlotte Mullins brings art to life through the stories of those who created it and, importantly, reframes who is included in the narrative to create a more diverse and exciting landscape of art. She shows how art can help us see the world differently and understand our place in it, how it helps us express ourselves, fuels our creativity and contributes to our overall wellbeing and positive mental health.

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?

Mullins introduces readers to the Terracotta Army and Nok sculptures, Renaissance artists such as Giotto and Michelangelo, trailblazers including Käthe Kollwitz, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and contemporary artists who create art as resistance, such as Ai Weiwei and Shirin Neshat. She also restores forgotten artists such as Sofonisba Anguissola, Guan Daosheng and Jacob Lawrence, and travels to the Niger valley, Peru, Java, Rapa Nui and Australia, to broaden our understanding of what art is and should be.

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. Currently art critic at Country Life, she was formerly editor of Art ReviewV&A Magazine and Art Quarterly. She has published over a dozen books on visual art.

“This lively volume is ideal for the precocious high-schooler, the lazy collegian . . . and any adult who wishes for greater mastery of the subject. . . . Mullins leav[es] readers with an expansive, no-regrets appreciation of art and the human story.”—Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal

“Author and art historian Charlotte Mullins aims to challenge the ‘myopic prioritisation of male Western art’ in earlier art history publications.”—Gareth Harris, Art Newspaper

“While this slim single volume, the size of a paperback, is necessarily a distillation of art’s story, it is a story that now includes many different artists from around the world. I hope it highlights the ongoing power of art to move us, to speak beyond words, to talk to our emotions directly, to have an impact.”—History News Network

“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.