The History of Western Art



ISBN: 9780500296653 Category:

Janetta Rebold Benton


A concise, reader-friendly illustrated survey of Western art and architecture from prehistory to the present day.

Acknowledging how architecture, painting, sculpture and the decorative arts reflect the culture and society of their time, this latest addition to the Art Essentials series invites the reader to experience and appreciate the entirety of Western art from prehistory to today.

Focusing on the ‘history’ in art history, each of the twelve chapters opens with a question to ponder, followed by a summary of the major historical developments of the period, touching on social structure, political organization, migration, race, religious beliefs, scientific advances and customs. An exploration of these themes in the visual arts reveals how architecture, sculpture and painting simultaneously shape, reflect, and document the culture of the time and place they were created. A secondary focus explores the constantly evolving aesthetic preferences that swing between naturalism and abstraction, with each era and style either rebelling against the previous or seeking to improve it. Antecedents and outside influences are also discussed.

Additional information

Weight 430 g
Dimensions 14.1 x 21.6 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 28 October 2022
Number of pages 176
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 14.1 x 21.6 cm
Weight 430 g


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Janetta Rebold Benton is the Distinguished Professor of Art History at Pace University, New York, and the author of several books and articles on art including How to Understand Art in the Art Essentials series (Thames & Hudson, 2021). She is the recipient of two Fulbright Scholar Awards as Visiting Professor (China 2018; Russia 2012), and lectures at the Smithsonian Institution, 92nd Street Y, and previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.