100 Ideas that Changed Art

By Michael Bird

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  • Paperback
  • 288 illustrations
  • 216 pages
  • 270 x 210 mm
  • ISBN 9781856697958
  • Published October 2012

From the earliest cave paintings through to the internet and street art, this inspiring book chronicles the 100 most influential ideas that have shaped the world of art. Arranged in broadly chronological order, it provides a source of inspiration and a fascinating resource for the general reader to dip into.

The book shows how developments in materials (oil paint, plastics, paint in tubes) and technology (paper, photography, welding) have radically changed the way that art is produced, both physically and conceptually, and how these changes have run parallel with other discoveries such as the camera obscura, the study of optics and anatomy and influences from wider culture (the unconscious, political and conceptual art). Each entry explores when an idea first evolved and how it has resurfaced in the work of different artists up to the present day.

Lavishly illustrated with historical masterpieces and packed with fascinating contemporary examples, this is an inspirational and wholly original guide to understanding the forces that have shaped world art.

About the Author

Michael Bird is a writer, art historian and radio broadcaster. His books include 100 Ideas that Changed Art and The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, as well as books on modern artists such as Sandra Blow, Bryan Wynter and Lynn Chadwick, and a children’s poetry anthology, The Grasshopper Laughs. He has also published many essays and articles, and lectures widely. He currently holds a Goodison Fellowship at the British Library, where he is researching the oral history of modern British art.

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1. Cave and rock art / 2. Fired clay / 3. Land as material / 4. Statue / 5. Wall painting / 6. Scaling up / 7. Narrative / 8. Relief carving / 9. Body as surface / 10. The nude / 11. Contrapposto / 12. Propaganda / 13. Lost-wax carving / 14. Paper / 15. Memorial / 16. Architectural sculpture / 17. Word as image / 18. Coloured glass / 19. Frame / 20. Icon / 21. Making books / 22. The grotesque / 23. Erotic art / 24. Handwriting / 25. Mosaic / 26. Multi-panel painting / 27. Miniatures / 28. Oil paint / 29. Window on the world / 30. Mathematics / 31. Linear perspective / 32. Trompe-l’oeil / 33. Colour codes / 34. Allegory / 35. Portrait / 36. The sketch / 37. Mirrors / 38. Printmaking / 39. Chiaroscuro / 40. Anatomy / 41. Still life / 42. Copying / 43. Canvas / 44. Camera obscura / 45. Reinventing Greek art / 46. Landscape / 47. Series / 48. Collections / 49. History painting / 50. Whiteness / 51. Academies / 52. Romanticism / 53. Authenticity / 54. The artist / 55. Watercolour / 56. Confronting reality / 57. Medievalism / 58. Dealing / 59. Capturing the instant / 60. Assemblage / 61. Commercial design / 62. Paint in tubes / 63. Photography  / 64. Art colonies / 65. Artificial light / 66. The unconscious / 67. The primitive / 68. Multiple viewpoints / 69. Collage / 70. Machine forms / 71. Abstract art / 72. Satire / 73. Found objects / 74. Kinetic art / 75. Scenes of daily life / 76. Installation / 77. Expressing inner states / 78. Plastics / 79. Protest / 80. Documentary / 81. Chance / 82. Shock / 83. Welding / 84. Pop / 85. Less is more / 86. Opticality / 87. Hallucinogens / 88. Performance art / 89. Personal is political / 90. Moving images / 91. Conceptual art / 92. Titles / 93. Body as medium / 94. Street art / 95. Globalisation / 96. Digital technology / 97. Museum / 98. Negative space / 99. The internet / 100. Ephemerality

'A succinct account of the most influential developments in the history of art, from cave paintings to the internet, compiled by art historial and broadcaster Michael Bird.'
Maria Popova, Brain Pickings