E.H. Gombrich

The Story of Art

This book is an incredibly well written comprehensive history of art. It covers such a broad amount of time yet gives thorough explanations on different art movements and the influence of art with the simultaneous evolution of civilisation. It starts from pre-historic cave paintings right up to the early 20th century covering so much of the visual arts.

I’d always wanted to read a comprehensive guide of art as there’s so much to learn about with art as there are a lot of great figures, movements and work to show for thousands of years. Also, I have an interest in the purpose of art in relation to the human species and our desire to create and consume art. So, when I came across this book it couldn’t have been more perfect.

I learnt a lot from this book and Gombrich does an incredible job of balancing explanations with the open-ended nature of the philosophical questions of art. From the ambiguity of cave paintings in prehistory and native cultures, to great ancient societies in Greece and Rome, onto the Enlightenment and Central European art and then into modern civilisation in the past few centuries. The thing I enjoy about books like this, with a broad scope, is that they help you to discover more distinct aspects of art that you may have a specific interest in and are great for finding new topics of interest.

I think this is the best-selling art book of all time and with good reason. You should definitely take a read if you have an interest in visual art of any kind as the physical book also has beautifully printed photographs of paintings, drawings, architecture and sculpture. Gombrich is such an incredible writer as I also said in my thoughts of A Little History of the World and I’m excited to read more of his work.