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5 Books about the history of art

Reading List For 11 Plus Exam Vocabulary

If you are interested in art, you will enjoy finding out more with these books.

Art and How it Works: An Introduction to Art for Children by Ann Kay

This enticing introduction to art appreciation for children looks at art history, themes in art, and art techniques – from cave paintings to modern art.

Children will learn to step back, think, and look at art in a new way. This fabulous book explores themes in art, including women in art and symbolism in art. Kids will be encouraged to look closely at a painting and understand why and how it was made.

By tapping into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths), Art … And How it Works helps with the understanding of colour and the materials artists use. The mathematical side of art will be highlighted and kids will learn about patterns and shapes in art.

The book looks at the history of art for kids – from prehistoric paintings, Impressionism, abstract art, through to the art of today. It includes biographies of major artists from Fra Angelico to David Hockney. Art … And How it Works cuts through the jargon that surrounds the art world and offers a fresh, new, and accessible approach for kids.

A History of Pictures for Children Hardcover by David Hockney and Martin Gayford

Winner of the prestigious BolognaRagazzi New Horizons Award 2019

A History of Pictures for Children takes readers on a journey through art history, from early art drawn on cave walls to the images we make today on our computers and phone cameras. Based on the bestselling book for adults, this children s edition of A History of Pictures is told through conversations between the artist David Hockney and the author Martin Gayford, who talk about art with inspiring simplicity and clarity. Rose Blake s illustrations illuminate the narratives of both authors to bring the history of art alive for a young audience.

Portrait of an Artist: Vincent van Gogh by Lucy Brownridge and Edith Carron

★★★★★ – visually stunning account of Van Gogh’s life
★★★★★ – Perfect introduction to the artist and his work
★★★★★ – A wonderful resource for parents and teachers.
★★★★★ – sensitively written

Vincent van Gogh was born in the Netherlands and today is one of the world’s best-loved painters. But during his lifetime, Van Gogh struggled to find fame and fortune through his art, making very little money from his paintings, which now sell for millions of dollars. This book tells the story of Van Gogh’s life through his own artworks, and shows how he came to create some of the most famous paintings in the world, including the Sunflowers and Starry Night. Learn about the importance of brotherly love, his struggle to find the right path and the lasting impact he had on the history of art in this book that brings his work to life.
A Van Gogh masterpiece is featured on every spread. This art story also includes a closer look at 10 of Van Gogh’s masterpieces at the back.

‘A thoughtful and colourful biography’ – Kirkus

A Child’s Introduction to Art: The World’s Greatest Paintings and Sculptures by Heather Alexander and Meredith Hamilton

The newest volume in Black Dog’s best-selling, award-winning Child’s Introduction series explores the fascinating world of art and artists and includes do-it-yourself art projects throughout.

In the tradition of Black Dog’s best-selling Child’s Introduction books, which include The Story of the Orchestra and A Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky, A Child’s Introduction to Art introduces kids ages 9 through 12 to the art world’s most famous painters, styles, and periods, all brought to life through full-colour photographs of 40 masterpieces, as well as charming original illustrations.

The book highlights 40 painters and sculptors, including Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Diego Velasquez, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol, providing information on their life, inspirations, influences, technique, and a full-colour photo of one of their signature works of art.

It also includes an overview of various styles and periods (Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, etc.), instruction on how to view and appreciate art, and information on the colour wheel and other tools artists employ.

Fun art projects throughout, such as Can You Find It?, Q-tip pointillism, making a stained-glass window with tissue paper, and Spatter Paint like Pollock, allow kids to learn about painting techniques and explore their own artistic abilities.

Also includes five masterpiece paintings to color.

Meredith Hamilton’s witty illustrations add another dimension to the excellent text and photographs.

We are Artists: Women who made their mark on the world by Kari Herbert

We Are Artists celebrates the life and work of 15 female artists from around the globe and the distinctive mark they made on the art world and beyond. Presented as a collection of engaging biographical narratives, We Are Artists reveals how each artist s unique approach and perspective provided the art world and society at large with a new way of seeing things. It places the spotlight on women painters, sculptors, printmakers, illustrators, designers and craftswomen, who all too often are left out of history and art history books for children. Through their personal stories, readers will come to know the circles and art movements each artist worked in, and the influence they exerted on both the art world and society as a whole.

Following in the wake of the Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls phenomenon, We Are Artists is aimed at inspiring young readers and aspiring artists, no matter what their gender, to find their own unique way of making a contribution to the world.

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