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African Art in Detail (Art in Detail)


African Art in Detail (Art in Detail) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This book opens with the question, What is African art? The answer is a brilliantly colorful and detailed look at the myriad materials and genres, forms and meanings, cultural contexts and expressions that comprise artistic traditions across this vast and varied continent. Viewing artworks in their contexts--ancient and modern, urban and rural, western and eastern, decorative and functional--the book is nothing less than a virtual tour of African culture. Masks, textiles, royal art, sculpture, ceramics, tools and weapons--in each instance, the book features examples that reveal the most significant aspects of workmanship, materials, and design in objects of wood, stone, ivory, clay, metalwork, featherwork, leather, basketwork, and cloth. Photographs of each piece alongside close-ups of fine details afford new views of these works and allow for intriguing comparisons between seemingly unrelated objects and media. The featured details evoke the hand and eye of the most accomplished craftspeople across Africa, past and present. In sum, these photographs, along with Chris Spring's enlightening commentary, offer an experience of African art that is at once broad and deep, richly informed and intimately felt. They are, at the same time, a kaleidoscopic view of art from prehistory to gestures prefiguring the future.

Book News Annotation:

Spring, curator of the African galleries at the British Museum, prefaces this gorgeous assemblage of African art with the reminder that there are many misconceptions about Africa, one especially being that the Sub-Saharan area is a basically homogenous culture. In his selection and organization of the art, he reinforces his point. The works vary in time from 1400 BCE to the twenty-first century. Most of the examples are from the twentieth century. The artists both live in Africa and in the countries of the diaspora but they all draw on the forms of their particular African traditions. Many of the artists are profiled along with the art. Each colored photograph is accompanied by background notes. The art is arranged by medium for the most part: textiles, painting, tools and metalwork and ceramics. Exceptions are chapters on West African representations of kingship and the final chapter, "Africa around the World". This is a beautiful introduction to the kaleidoscope of African art. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Chris Spring is curator of the African galleries at the British Museum. He is the author of African Arms and Armor, North African Textiles, and African Textiles: Library of Style.

British Museum

Product Details

Spring, Christopher
Harvard University Press
Spring, Chris
Art, African - Themes, motives
Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions - Permanent
Art-History and Criticism
ART Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions, Permanent Collections
Art in Detail
Publication Date:
February 2010
Grade Level:
150 color illustrations
9 x 9 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » African
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions » Permanent Collections
Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism

African Art in Detail (Art in Detail) New Hardcover
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Product details 144 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674036222 Reviews:
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