Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Painting. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style (Oxford Paperbacks)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Serving as both an introduction to fifteenth-century Italian painting and as a text on how to interpret social history from the style of pictures in a given historical period, this new edition to Baxandall's pre-eminent scholarly volume examines early Renaissance painting, and explains how the style of painting in any society reflects the visual skills and habits that evolve out of daily life. Renaissance painting, for example, mirrors the experience of such activities as preaching, dancing, and gauging barrels. The volume includes discussions of a wide variety of painters, including Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico, Stefano di Giovanni, Sandro Botticelli, Masaccio, Luca Signorelli, Boccaccio, and countless others. Baxandall also defines and illustrates sixteen concepts used by a contemporary critic of painting, thereby assembling the basic equipment needed to explore fifteenth-century art. This new second edition includes an appendix that lists the original Latin and Italian texts referred to throughout the book, providing the reader with all the relevant, authentic sources. It also contains an updated bibliography and a new reproduction of a recently restored painting which replaces the original.

  • Author: Michael Baxandall
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2nd edition (July 28, 1988)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0192821447
  • Dimensions: 8.06 x 5.38 x 0.21 inches


2. Painting as a Language: Material, Technique, Form & Content

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Designed to address the issues of how to paint and what to paint, PAINTING AS A LANGUAGE covers a wide range of information of central importance to beginning and intermediate painting instruction. The authors emphasize the value of the student's cognitive understanding of the process and potential of painting in the student's overall progress in the studio. Blending journal writing with painting and drawing exercises, they guide the student through selecting meaningful subject matter as well as becoming adept at shaping and interpreting that material through the language of painting.

  • Author: Jean Robertson
  • Publisher: Harcourt College; 1st edition (August 30, 1999)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0155056008
  • Dimensions: 10.06 x 7.87 x 0.65 inches


3. Oil Painting For Dummies

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Nobody ever said that oil painting was easy. But it gets much easier and a lot more fun when you follow a step-by-step approach that starts you off on the right foot, helps you build your skills one at a time, and gives you plenty of exercises to develop your craft. That’s what you’ll find in Oil Painting For Dummies. Completely free of arty jargon, this full-color guide has all the hands-on instruction you need to master the basics. You’ll see how to plan a painting, build an image in layers, mix colors, and create stunning compositions. You’ll also find everything you need to know about oil paints, solvents, and pigments; brushes, palettes, and painting surfaces; and how to keep costs down at the art supply store. Discover how to: Choose the right supplies Set up your studio and care for your equipment Handle your materials safely Develop your design and composition skills Make practice sketches and studies Use broken stroke, dry brush, glazing, scraffito and other brush strokes Try out different compositions Mix any color you want Simplify tricky still-life subjects Paint landscapes and common objects out doors Paint portraits and the human form Complete with handy color chart, basic materials list, and a very useful viewing square, Oil Painting For Dummies is the fun and easy way to discover your inner artist!

  • Author: Anita Marie Giddings
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1st edition (February 5, 2008)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0470182307
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.9 x 9.9 inches


4. What Painting Is

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Unlike many books on painting that usually talk about art or painters, James Elkins’ compelling and original work focuses on alchemy, for like the alchemist, the painter seeks to transform and be transformed by the medium. In What Painting Is , James Elkins communicates the experience of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history. Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in her or his studio - the smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colours will mix, and how they will look. Written from the perspective of a painter-turned-art historian, What Painting Is is like nothing you have ever read about art.

  • Author: James Elkins
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (March 29, 2000)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0415926621
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.75 x 8.25 inches


5. Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms, Revised Edition (Looking At)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

What is a historiated initial? What are canon tables? What is a drollery? This revised edition of Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms offers definitions of the key elements of illuminated manuscripts, demystifying the techniques, processes, materials, nomenclature, and styles used in the making of these precious books.   Updated to reflect current research and technologies, this beautifully illustrated guide includes images of important manuscript illuminations from the collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum and beyond. Concise, readable explanations of the technical terms most frequently encountered in manuscript studies make this portable volume an essential resource for students, scholars, and readers who wish a deeper understanding and enjoyment of illuminated manuscripts and medieval book production.

  • Author: Michelle Brown
  • Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; Second Edition, Revised and Expanded Edi (December 4, 2018)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-1606065785
  • Dimensions: 6.25 x 0.4 x 9.25 inches


6. Pictures and Tears: A History of People Who Have Cried in Front of Paintings

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Art Does art leave you cold? And is that what it's supposed to do? Or is a painting meant to move you to tears? Hemingway was reduced to tears in the midst of a drinking bout when a painting by James Thurber caught his eye. And what's bad about that? In Pictures and Tears, art historian James Elkins tells the story of paintings that have made people cry. Drawing upon anecdotes related to individual works of art, he provides a chronicle of how people have shown emotion before works of art in the past, and a meditation on the curious tearlessness with which most people approach art in the present. Deeply personal, Pictures and Tears is a history of emotion and vulnerability, and an inquiry into the nature of art. This book is a rare and invaluable treasure for people who love art. Also includes an 8-page color insert.

  • Author: James Elkins
  • Publisher: Routledge (February 23, 2004)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0415970532
  • Dimensions: 5.43 x 0.67 x 8.5 inches


7. Samurai Painters (Great Japanese art)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Large hardcover book fully illustrated with paintings by Japanese samurai artists.

  • Author: Stephen Addiss
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA Inc; 1st edition (January 1, 1983)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0870115639


8. The Ch'I of the Brush: Capturing the Spirit of Nature with Chinese Brush Painting Techniques

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

The Chinese have a saying, “From heart to arm . . . to hand . . . to brush . . . to paper.” This epitomizes the concept of Hsieh-i , or the “written idea,” the spontaneous, expressive approach to Chinese brush painting known as the Literati, or free-form style. In The Ch’i of the Brush , artist Nan Rae illustrates the fundamental elements and traditional motifs of the Literati style, which seeks to transcend the mere representation of a subject to capture its ch’i, or life force, by using a minimum of brush strokes for maximum effect. In the Literati style, no sketches are prepared and no models are used; instead, the artist paints with rapid, intuitive movements of the brush that convey his or her “mind image” of the subject. Nan Rae’s unique approach to Chinese brush painting combines the grace of the Literati style with an impressionist approach to color. In Part 1, “Preparing for Your Journey,” Rae discusses the creative roots and various styles of Chinese brush painting, as well as the materials, techniques, and state of mind needed when approaching this intuitive painting style. In Part 2, a series of step-by-step worksheets demonstrates how to paint “Enchanting Flowers” (iris, wisteria, magnolia, and others) as well as “Captivating Creatures” (panda, bird, crane, dragonfly, and more). Finally, “Finishing Touches” shows how to mount a completed painting and add traditional Chinese seals. • Interest in Chinese brush painting is strong • The presentation of traditional motifs makes this painting style accessible to artists at all skill levels • Filled with lush, full-color artwork in a charming, sophisticated package

  • Author: Nan Rae
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; First Edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0823006199
  • Dimensions: 7.75 x 0.5 x 9.25 inches


9. A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic, 1585-1718

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

Newly independent in 1585, the increasingly prosperous and politically powerful Dutch Republic experienced a tremendous rise in the production of artwork that was unparalleled in quantity, variety, and beauty. Now back in print, this classic book (originally published in 1996) examines the country’s rich artistic culture in the seventeenth century, providing a full account of Dutch artists and patrons; artistic themes and techniques; and the political and social world in which artists worked. Distinguished art historian Mariët Westermann examines the “worldly art” of this time in the context of the unique society that produced it, analyzing artists’ choices and demonstrating how their pictures tell particular stories about the Dutch Republic, its people, and its past. More than 100 color illustrations complement this engaging discussion of an extraordinary moment in the history of art.

  • Author: Mariët Westermann
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprinted ed. edition (March 8, 2005)
  • Genre: New, Used & Rental Textbooks, Humanities
  • ISBN: 978-0300107234
  • Dimensions: 6.54 x 0.54 x 9.26 inches


10. Raymond Jonson and the Spiritual in Modernist and Abstract Painting (Routledge Research in Art History)

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Painting - August 2021

This is the most thorough and detailed monograph on the artwork of Raymond Jonson. He is one of many artists of the first half of the twentieth-century who demonstrate the richness and diversity of an under-appreciated period in the history of American art. Visualizing the spiritual was one of the fundamental goals of early abstract painting in the years before and during World War I. Artists turned to alternative spirituality, the occult, and mysticism, believing that the pure use of line, shape, color, light and texture could convey spiritual insight. Jonson was steadfastly dedicated to this goal for most of his career and he always believed that modernist and abstract styles were the most effective and compelling means of achieving it.

  • Author: Herbert R. Hartel Jr.
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (March 5, 2018)
  • Genre: Arts & Photography, History & Criticism
  • ISBN: 978-1138712546
  • Dimensions: 7.25 x 0.75 x 10.25 inches