Serious Art History Books
Click here if you want to return to the other book categories
Frans Hals by Seymour Slive (Amazon link)
- It is not cheap(!), but if you want to learn all about the life of the revolutionary Dutch Baroque painter Frans Hals, this is the book to choose. It has beautiful, large illustrations of many of his works, and is written by the famous Frans Hals scholar Seymour Slive. You can either use it as a reference book or a coffee table book.
- This is an absolute classic, widely recognized as the first great art history book. Giorgio Vasari describes in great detail the most famous artists from the Renaissance and a couple of centuries before that. If you are very serious about art history, the full version is a beautiful copy to get. But it's so full of information of lists of artworks that each artist made, that it is hard to get through. Luckily, there are very good abridged versions available, which are much more readable and suitable for most readers.
- A carefully-researched book about the last two decades Claude Monet's life. It provides a wonderful portrait of Monet's character and determination, his social world, and the ups and downs in his life. A truly engaging book following Monet's mission to create a series of enormous paintings of his beloved water lilies.
- One of our favorite art books discusses the rise of Impressionism. While packed with carefully-researched information, it is written like an exciting novel. The two central characters are the painters Édouard Manet and Ernest Meissonier. One is on top of the art world, the other primarily receives criticism. But things are about to change...
- This is probably the most popular textbook on art history. With 90,000 words and many illustrations, it covers art history from the beginning till the end. It is very rich in information and gives you a great foundation on understanding art and its history.