Symbols in Art


A reference guide to fifty of the most frequently occurring symbols in global art history


ISBN: 9780500295748 Category:

Matthew Wilson


Iconography, the study of symbols – be they animals, artefacts, plants, shapes or gestures – is an essential element of art history.

This guide unravels over fifty of the most common and intriguing visual symbols from across the globe from 2300 BCE to the present day. While symbols cross dialects and national boundaries, their meanings can vary and are often culturally specific. The snake, an object of fascination and mysticism in Aztec culture, usually represents sin in the west. Yinka Shonibare’s Last Supper (2013) plays on the grapevine’s historic associations to satiric and startling effect.

Matt Wilson explores symbolism’s subtle implications and overt and covert meanings, providing an indispensable tool for interpretation. A reference section includes suggestions for further reading and a glossary of art and historical terms.

Additional information

Weight 416 g
Dimensions 14 x 21.6 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 17 September 2020
Number of pages 176
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 14 x 21.6 cm
Weight 416 g


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Symbols in Art”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Matt Wilson is an art historian, educator and writer, who contributes to numerous publications. He is an examination specialist in the history of art.