Synopses & Reviews
The Art Museum
is the finest art collection ever assembled between two covers. This revolutionary and unprecedented virtual art museum in a book, features 1,000 oversized pages of over 2,500 works of art. It is the most comprehensive and visually spectacular history of world art ever published. Ten years in the making, this unique book was created with a global team of 100 specialists in art history, who have collected together important works as they might be displayed in the ideal museum for the art lover.
Unrestricted by the constraints of physical space, this volume contains an unprecedented wealth of masterworks spanning three millennia and culled from 650 museums, galleries and private collections from 60 countries to tell the history of world art. It is organized by innovative color-coded, galleries, rooms, corridors and special exhibitions, which display the paintings, sculptures, frescos, photographs, tapestries, friezes, installations, performances, videos, woodblock prints, folding screens, ceramics and manuscripts that tell the history of world art. This is the only museum to house Leonardo's Mona Lisa, a collection of Rembrandt's finest self portraits, Velázquez's Las Meninas and Picasso's Guernica, as well as ceramics from China, Hokusai's woodblock prints, gold artefacts from Peru, and works by Jackson Pollock in one place.
With intelligent in-depth text throughout, explanatory lels for each artwork, a comprehensive glossary and detailed location maps, The Art Museum, is accessible for everyone from casual art fans to experts in the field.
"Phaidon has outdone itself with The Art Museum, a coffee table art book large enough to function as a small table itself. Likely the most comprehensive of its kind, this remarkable tome presents a survey of world art ranging from 30,000 BCE to the 21st century. Concentrations that would normally comprise specialized volumes are brought together here, organized into 'rooms' that mimic the spatial layout of brick-and-mortar museums. Brief but informative introductory essays provide a historical and cultural context of each room, giving readers (or visitors) essential knowledge otherwise found in art history textbooks. For all its accomplishments, the collection is predictably Occident- and Eurocentric, a mirror to the reality of the museum. While allowing for wonderfully detailed representations of the artworks, the book's size makes flipping back to the indices clunky and annoying. Including each work's real-world locations in the accompanying description would be preferable, but for space-saving reasons their method is understandable. Nevertheless, the maps, glossary and museums/gallery index are welcome supplements. This is a compendium worth the investment if you have the money and space. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Unprecedented, unique, and vast in scope, this visually spectacular survey of world art belongs in large public, academic, and special libraries. Destined to delight, inspire, and educate, as well as become an invaluable classic, art reference resource, it is very highly recommended."- Library Journal
"A category killer. Packed with 3,000 large illustrations of the world's greatest artworks."- VOGUE
"The dream collection. . .The appeal of having 3,000 years of masterpieces at your fingertips is obvious."- Art and Auction
"If this [The Art Museum] were a real museum and not just a book, there would hardly be need for another."- NPR's "All Things Considered"
"If the world's best curators could create a collection containing every notable work for all time, its catalog would resemble The Art Museum."- Conde Nast Traveler
"It's an original and compelling concept: a book conceived and organized to resemble a museum - one that happens to take readers on a tour of art history from King Tut to Jackson Pollack and beyond."- Worth magazine
"The 2,500 works that really matter in 1,000 stunning pages."- Reader's Digest
"The monster of all Christmas art books, this year and maybe for a while. . .this tome is chock-full of things you don't often see reproduced on this scale, and other things you may not even know about and will love on sight."- The New York Times
". . .as in an actual museum, once you plunge into its 990-some pages, you risk getting lost. So turn off the stove, walk the dog, and text the kids before you spend the evening looking at vase paintings and no one hears from you again."- Town and Country
". . .an astonishing book. . .an exciting, nearly perfect collection of the greatest visual art in human history. . .The scope of the book encourages readers to make unexpected connections, as when rooms devoted to African masks and carvings usher us into a section on the Cubists, hinting at the affinities between the two."- BookPage
"If someone asks you, 'What is art?' you could launch into a lecture. Or you could just hand them this battering ram of a book."- Entertainment Weekly
"An encyclopedic art museum between covers, with "permanent" holdings for some 3,000 creme-de-la-creme objects appropriated from collections around the globe."- Holland Cotter for The New York Times Book Review
"The boldest publishing experiment of 2011."- NPR
"Not only does The Art Museum showcase rarely seen works from private collections, it also benefits from the wisdom of 65 of the world's most respected curators and art historians. . .this extensive compendium is easy to digest."- The Washington Post
". . .you couldn't give a more impressive gift. . .Imagine some ten-year-old getting lost in it over Christmas."- Blake Gopnik for The Daily Beast.com
"An astonishing book?an exciting, nearly perfect collection of the greatest visual art in human history."- Bookpage
". . .the most colossal and ambitious publication in the field. . .Indeed, it has some of the characteristics of a real museum, among them an invitation to wander on and on. . .Recommended."- Bloomberg News
"Like a world-class museum that fits on a coffee table."- USAnetwork.com
"Planning a trip to Paris to visit the Louvre? Headed to New York City for a tour of the MoMA? Cancel those plans. All you need is The Art Museum."- The National Post, Canada
". . .the book is a perfect crash course for art-world novices and a collectible for experts."- ELLE.com
The Art Museum offers the museum experience without the boundaries of space and time. The unique structure of the book has been created by specialists in all fields of art, from institutions worldwide, who have collected together important and innovative works as they might be displayed in the ideal museum for the art lover.
As any great museum the book is divided into galleries, presenting the extraordinary variety of artistic output, from ancient Greece, to Australasia and Oceania, Byzantine art to that of the Pre-Columbian Americas, the Renaissance to twentieth-century art, with an emphasis on later western art. Rooms examine important aspects and movements within the gallery. Corridors between the rooms allow the reader to focus on seminal works of each period and culture, with the huge reproduction format allowing for detailed examination.
The rooms present the finest examples of human creativity, each piece labelled with key data (including dates, medium and dimensions) alongside a brief description, and the group of works explained by a curator. Painting, sculpture, metalwork, textiles and ceramics comprise the wide variety offered to the reader, as individual works are all contextualised with expert contributors detailing the works significance to the evolution of art history. With cross-references throughout, a comprehensive glossary and detailed location maps, The Art Museum is both fantastic to browse through and an indispensable guide to art throughout the ages.
About the Author
Conceived and edited by Phaidon editors, with a consulting global team of specialists in all fields of art.