Hm. What else can I say about this book? This is a classic and a good review can be found almost everywhere, and I'm not sure you want to read one from a newbie, art-lover like me.The Story of Art
is quite short (don't take into account its illustrions) and this is its very strength. Many will be disappointed for they won't be able to find some of the most prestigious masters featured. But the point is not to list names and works, but indeed to tell a story
. And Gombrich tells a story fascinating enough with his lovely, friendly writing.
What is this story? I happen to be reminded of this story over and over again by one of my professors. Well, at least before 20th century and with some in the 20th, the story is about what is "there" and what we "actually" see. According to their own time, artists have their own ideas about what is reality. The thing is these ideas are so widely different, and yet artists claim to have the most faithful depiction of "reality." Anyone can call him/herself a realist, Egyptian art, Giotto, Van eyek, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet, etc. Some of them may have sth in common, but usually hardly anything. And that is how "reality" changes. The more I study art history, the truer I find this argument to be.
I'm not so learned to be aware of any major faults in this book. Overall, it is a great introduction to the very essence of art.