Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children's History of Art

By Michael Bird

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  • Hardback
  • 200 illustrations
  • 336 pages
  • 10½ x 8 ins
  • ISBN 9781780676159
  • Published August 2016

An enthralling journey through 40,000 years of art, from prehistoric cave paintings right up to the present day. Discover artists and their art around the world, in exciting and imaginative tales about artists and the way they created their work. Written by educator and art historian Michael Bird, and illustrated by Kate Evans, the book also features reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, a comprehensive timeline of events, and extra feature spreads on places connected with art. This is a beautiful and engaging introduction to art for any home or school library.

"A handsomer and more substantial history of art for young readers."
The Wall Street Journal

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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Caves to civilisations (40,000–2,000 years ago)

1 Lion Man: The first art 

2 Animal magic: The painters of Chauvet Cave 

3 Ancient cities and tombs: Egyptian painters, carvers and scribes 

4 Seeing it my way: Akhenaten’s artists 

5 Life goes on: Tutankhamun’s tomb 

6 Travellers’ tales: Greek vase painters 

7 Big ideas: The Parthenon 

The Parthenon, Athens, Greece (2,500 years ago)

8 Underground army: The warriors of Qin Shi Huang 

9 I am everywhere: The Emperor Augustus 

10 Enjoy the view: A Roman painter’s day 


Sacred places (900–1450)

11 Eye to eye: The mosaics of Saint Sophia 

12 The calligrapher’s dream: Ibn al-Bawwab 

13 Mountain man: Fan Kuan 

14 Floating city: Angkor Wat 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia (12th century)

15 Light fantastic: Stained glass 

16 Real-life stories: Giotto 

17 All sides of life: Medieval scribes and illuminators 

18 Head people: The bronze-casters of Ife 

19 Snow angels: Andrei Rublev 


Great ambitions (1450–1550)

20 Discovering the future: Donatello 

Florence, Italy (15th century)

21 The smallest detail: Jan van Eyck 

22 Beyond your wildest dreams: The Aztecs 

23 Under the skin: Leonardo da Vinci 

24 Work hard, be famous: Albrecht Dürer 

25 Stone into statue: Michelangelo 

26 Great spaces: Raphael 

27 The night is young: Titian 


Life stories (1550–1750)

28 Cold comfort: Pieter Breughel 

29 King of the cheetahs: Basawan and Dharm Das 

30 Light supper: Caravaggio 

31 The flower girl: Rembrandt 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands (17th century)

32 ‘Painting is me’: Artemisia Gentileschi 

33 ‘Good morning!’: Diego Velázquez 

34 Imagine being there: Claude Lorrain 

35 The longer you look: Johannes Vermeer 

36 House of cards: Jean-Siméon Chardin 


Revolution! (1750–1860)

37 Life will never be the same: Jacques-Louis David 

38 No heroes: Francisco Goya 

39 The wanderer: Caspar David Friedrich 

40 Under the wave: Katsushika Hokusai 

41 Artistic chemistry: William Henry Fox Talbot 

42 The eye of the storm: Joseph Mallord William Turner 

London, England (early 19th century)

43 The meeting: Gustave Courbet 

44 Worth every cent: Frederic Edwin Church 


Seeing it differently (1860–1900)

45 Cradle of art: Berthe Morisot 

46 The great outdoors: Claude Monet 

Paris, France (late 19th century)

47 Split-second timing: Eadweard Muybridge 

48 What is colour made of? Georges Seurat 

49 Vincent’s starry night: Vincent van Gogh 

50 In her hands: Camille Claudel 

51 Perhaps you will understand: Paul Cézanne 


War and peace (1900–1950)

52 Cut and paste: Georges Braque 

53 The flying artist: Marc Chagall 

54 Spinning a story: Marcel Duchamp 

55 Comrades! Varvara Stepanova 

Moscow, Russia (1930s)

56 Happy birthday, professor! Vasily Kandinsky 

57 The girl with the Mexican flag: Frieda Kahlo 

58 Bright ideas: Alexander Calder 

59 Sea of dreams: Joan Miró 

60 The lie that tells the truth: Pablo Picasso 

61 Pebbles and bombs: Henry Moore 

62 It’s all rubbish! Kurt Schwitters 


Where it’s at (1950–2012)

63 Straight from the can: Jackson Pollock 

New York, USA (1950s)

64 In the blue morning: Henri Matisse 

65 Princess of polka dots: Yayoi Kusama 

66 What happened here? Anselm Kiefer 

67 My dreaming: Emily Kame Kngwarreye 

68 My house: Louise Bourgeois 

69 Bottletop magic: El Anatsui 

70 Sowing seeds: Ai Weiwei 





List of artworks


Credits and Acknowledgements

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