Shared by Santosh on 10 September 2023
This is a synopsis of an interesting book titled "The Joy of Art: How to Look At, Appreciate, and Talk about Art" by Carolyn Schlam. The author herself is an American award-winning practicing artist. The book is about Western visual arts, that is drawing, painting, and sculpture.
She does not cover art in other cultures. She starts the book by listing the reasons why she wrote the book. She then goes into basic definitions like what is visual arts. To quote her, "Visual art is something created by an artist that people look at and enjoy with their eyes and feelings. When an artist makes music, he turns his feelings into sounds. A writer uses words to express herself and a dancer uses her body moving through space.
A visual artist makes pictures and objects that are meant to be seen." Laymen generally are aware of what art is, but are not aware of many technical terms that are used by artists and by the appreciating audience in verbally describing the artists' work. In her words, "I’ll be giving you an art vocabulary that will help you to understand and to discuss visual art. I’ll also give you the tools to decode what you see and make sense of it." Carolyn explains these terms of art vocabulary so that the reader can then follow her explanations of various genres of visual arts.
She does not cover the history of art because that is a vast subject by itself, though she does mention historical trends that have influenced the genres and the examples that she describes. She has devoted one chapter to answer twenty-one questions about art. She has described how to look at art with general and specific criteria. She has included separate chapters for art subjects like figurative art, landscape, still life, abstract art, sculpture and other artistic practices like photography with accompanying write-ups on the master artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and others in each subject.
Finally, there is a chapter on the future of art, with reference to art by 3D printing. There is an appendix titled "Art Games: Sharpen Your Skills", in which a reader can test the knowledge acquired by reading this book. The accompanying photographs of works of art are from the public domain and are featured in this book which has 150 colour photographs of visual artworks.
To conclude, it is a joy to read "The Joy of Art" by Carolyn Schlam.
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