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There’s plenty of beautiful art books to liven up your living space. These range from colorful biographies focused on specific artists to more general books on museums and art movements.
And if you’re looking for a beautiful art coffee table book then look no further!
This post should have plenty to choose from with a huge variety for all artists.
Just note: for this gallery I’m focusing on traditional art books only. So if you’re looking for more entertainment-based art books then have a look at our list of movie artbooks and game artbooks instead.
Art That Changed The World
First is this gorgeous look at dozens of artistic styles over the centuries.
Art That Changed The World spans 400 pages with some incredible spreads of paintings. These include the artist’s name, influences, time period, and even critiques of different paintings.
I especially like the parts with different timelines of events as they happened in the art world.
It gives you a sense of exactly how the art scene developed, especially over the course of the 20th century.
I’d recommend this for all artists and art historians. Or even folks who just appreciate art and want a reminder of the long journey we’ve been through as a species.
As the title suggests with this art book you’ll find over 2,500+ different works scattered throughout these pages.
Talk about a compendium!
Some of the early chapters share insights on different artists like their use of color, perspective, lighting, and their unique painting techniques.
But as you go forward you’ll find more detailed chapters with examples of very specific artwork over the years.
Both western and non-western artists are included with a total of 700 years of artwork.
One thing I really like is the detailed themes covered throughout each piece. These writeups help you see how different artists covered similar themes in their work, even though each one approached the subject with a totally unique point of view.
With such a simple title you may not know what to expect here.
But let me assure you The Art Book is no simple book. It brings you through history’s finest artists from Da Vinci to Monet and Picasso. Plus there’s various chapters on early artwork presumably from the dawn of civilization(as we know it).
There’s a wide variety of pieces featured here going beyond just paintings. Some areas covered include Japanese modern art and Assyrian sculptures and so much more.
For a supersized book that touches upon a little bit of everything, I have to say this one does an excellent job.
Plus the writing style keeps you entertained through a subject that many people find boring.
Here’s one of the newest books in this entire list and it’s one of the more interesting ones for history lovers.
Artists: Their Lives & Works totals just over 350 pages long with sections for all of history’s most profound artists. These include painters and sculptors with some names dating back 500+ years or more!
What’s most interesting is the mix of descriptive writing along with all these paintings.
You get to read a little about each artist and the context in which they lived.
These small descriptions also include details about the artistic movements of their time and how these movements affected their work. Truly an incredible showcase of artistic ingenuity through the decades.
To this day it’s still one of the most popular illustrated books on the history of a western artist. Primarily because Walt lived during a time when photographs, writings, and many keepsakes were salvageable for this kind of historic archive.
It features hundreds of pieces from the museum’s massive library acquired over the past 90+ years. Definitely a brilliant look into the changing tides of modern art and it even offers a peek into recent years sharing thoughts on what we may expect in decades to come.
Much like modern art in the above title, not every artist will appreciate graffiti.
But if you are a fan of street art then take a look at Graffiti World, the newest up-to-date edition of this book being published in 2009.
This places street art front & center against a world of more traditional oil paintings and sculptures. In this 400+ page gallery of graffiti you’ll find dozens of artists featuring their incredible work from across the globe.
Banksy is naturally one of the many artists featured but there’s also an in-depth look into street art culture dating back to the 1960s.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration for digital art, graphic design, or something else completely different, street art is a unique yet practical place to find it.
In the heart of Italy lies Vatican City, home to The Vatican and some of the world’s most valuable paintings.
In this beautiful 550+ page compendium you’ll find sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and so much more all from the palatial home of Christianity. Vatican: All The Paintings is well worth picking up whether you’re religious or secular.
Mostly because these prints are absolutely beautiful and very difficult to find elsewhere.
Artists like Michelangelo and Raphael are some of the biggest names featured alongside dozens of others.
The book is organized into sections for each museum in the area along with further detail on the individual rooms and the artwork.
Truly the largest collection of Vatican artwork all in one binding.