Learning to Look at Paintings  book cover
2nd Edition

Learning to Look at Paintings

ISBN 9780415435185
Published October 16, 2008 by Routledge
304 Pages

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Book Description

Learning to Look at Paintings is an accessible guide to the study and appraisal of paintings, drawings and prints. Mary Acton shows how you can develop visual, analytical and historical skills in learning to look at and understand an image by analysing how it works, what its pictorial elements are and how they relate to each other.

This fully revised and updated new edition is illustrated with over 100 images by a wide range of Western European and American artists, ranging from Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Botticelli to Picasso, Matisse and Rothko, and now includes modern and contemporary artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, Anselm Kiefer, Tacita Dean and Marlene Dumas. In addition, Mary Acton presents new examples highlighting the survival and revival of painting in recent years.

A new introduction situates the book in the wider context of recent changes in the approach to Art History. A glossary of critical and technical terms used in the language of Art History is also included, with an updated but still selective reading list.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition  List of Figures  List of Plates  Preface Acknowledgements  Introduction  1. Composition  2. Space  3. Form  4. Tone  5. Colour  6. Subject Matter  7. Drawing and its Purposes  8. Looking at Prints.  Conclusion: The Use of Comparison as an Aid to Looking.  Appendix 1: Some Questions to Ask Yourself When Standing in Front of a Painting  Appendix 2: Glossary of Art Terms.  References and Further Reading.  Index

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Mary Acton was Course Director of the Undergraduate Diploma and Advanced Diploma in the History of Art at Continuing Education, University of Oxford. She continues to teach at Oxford University and works as a freelance lecturer, and Learning to Look at Paintings is based on her experience over many years as an art historian and teacher. She is the author of Learning to look at Modern Art (2004)


'Each of the six chapters has a succint introduction and a short but useful summary... Recommended.' – CHOICE