A Little History of Art
A thrilling journey through 100,000 years of art, from the first artworks ever made to art’s central role in culture today
“This lively volume is ideal for the precocious high-schooler, the lazy collegian . . . and any adult who wishes for greater mastery of the subject. . . . Mullins leav[es] readers with an expansive, no-regrets appreciation of art and the human story.”-Meghan Cox Gurdon, Wall Street Journal
“A fresh take on art history as we know it.”-Katy Hessel, The Great Women Artists Podcast
Charlotte Mullins brings art to life through the stories of those who created it and, importantly, reframes who is included in the narrative to create a more diverse and exciting landscape of art. She shows how art can help us see the world differently and understand our place in it, how it helps us express ourselves, fuels our creativity and contributes to our overall wellbeing and positive mental health.
Why did our ancestors make art? What did art mean to them and what does their art mean for us today? Why is art even important at all?
Mullins introduces readers to the Terracotta Army and Nok sculptures, Renaissance artists such as Giotto and Michelangelo, trailblazers including Kathe Kollwitz, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and contemporary artists who create art as resistance, such as Ai Weiwei and Shirin Neshat. She also restores forgotten artists such as Sofonisba Anguissola, Guan Daosheng and Jacob Lawrence, and travels to the Niger valley, Peru, Java, Rapa Nui and Australia, to broaden our understanding of what art is and should be.
This extraordinary journey through 100,000 years celebrates art’s crucial place in understanding our collective culture and history.
"An energetic, illuminating and wonderful book" - Edmund de Waal "Brilliantly insightful. A fresh take on art history as we know it." - Katy Hessel, host of The Great Women Artists Podcast "Charlotte Mullins' 'A Little History of Art' is a wonderfully refreshing, inclusive and readable romp through global art history. At once erudite and accessible, I can't recommend it enough - I wish it had been available when I was an art student!" - Jennifer Higgie, author of The Mirror and the Palette "Charlotte Mullins tells the story of art with a wonderfully vivid style, taking the reader on an exhilarating time-travelling journey, covering thousands of years and hundreds of artworks." - Will Gompertz, author of What Are You Looking At? "A remarkable achievement. Charlotte Mullins tells a story of human creativity that takes us around the world and across vast panoramas of time. She introduces each of her chosen topics with lucid prose, guiding us deftly through changing artistic landscapes and bringing us face to face with artists as they work: we step with her into prehistoric French caves, Florentine squares and New York lofts. A Little History of Art will not only be an inspiring introduction to young readers - its pages contain much to intrigue and entertain anyone interested in human culture." - Susan Owens, author of Spirit of Place
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