30,000 Years of Art

The story of human creativity across time and space


1000 great works of art from all periods and regions in the world.


Conceived and edited by Phaidon Editors


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Price: USD$59.95

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About the book

30,000 Years of Art presents 1000 great works of art from all periods and regions in the world, arranged in chronological order for a general readership. Breaking through the usual geographical and cultural boundaries of art history, it celebrates the vast range of human artistry across time and space. Each work is accompanied by key caption information (date, title, place of origin, style or culture, medium, dimensions etc.), and a short text providing more information and explaining the art historical context.

The book presents art in a way different from other art history compendia, revealing the huge diversity, or in many cases similarity, of man’s artistic achievements through time and around the globe. Ordered chronologically, the resulting timeline of works leads to compelling browsing: surprising juxtapositions offer intellectual pleasure and a sense of wonder and discovery. The selection of works from across the world, arranged in the sequence in which they were made, take the reader on a global and historical journey, as a Chinese Shang urn stands next to a Mycenaean vase, and Michelangelo’s Slave is followed by a contemporaneous male sculpture from Nigeria. The chronological arrangement responds to such questions as where does the earliest art appear? What were artists creating in China or Africa while Rembrandt was painting self-portraits in Leyden? How were similar subjects – equestrian themes, landscapes, religious scenes – manipulated by artists in Aztec Mexico and Medieval Europe?

Although the sequence of works in the book is strictly chronological, the selection of entries for an individual culture comprises an abbreviated history of the art of that people. Thus, while artworks from ancient Greece or the European Renaissance or pre-Columbian Americas are interspersed with contemporaneous works created in Africa, India or Japan, an extraction of the Greek or Renaissance or American works could stand alone as an essential abridgement of the finest art of that period or culture.

 



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