Best Art Books

Book rating updated 15.02.2024

Explore the masterpieces and minds that shaped the art world through our selection of the best art books of all time.

  1. The Artist's Way

    4.7
    11 172 ratings
    Recommended by: Sara Blakely, Rich Roll

    The guide is aimed at helping people break free from their creativity. It offers a 12-week program equipped with practical tools and exercises to free a person from the cobwebs of the creative block, such as the morning pages and artist dates. The author emphasizes the importance of self-discovery and reconnecting with one's creativity. The book is ideal for artists and writers, and anybody who seeks to bring alive the creative element within them. It is an urging to the readers to recognize that the element of creativity within them is a spiritual path leading to growth and fulfillment.

  2. Girl with a Pearl Earring

    4.4
    6 858 ratings

    It's a novel set in the 17th century and it's about a young girl who becomes a maid in the household of the famous painter Johannes Vermeer. As she learns to negotiate life in the Vermeer household, Griet forms a very special relationship with the painter. This relationship eventually finds her becoming the subject of one of Vermeer's most well-known pieces, "Girl with a Pearl Earring." The story appropriately captures the play of innocence, art, and the convoluted social relations of the time.

  3. Ways of Seeing

    4.4
    2 835 ratings

    This book upsets the taken-for-granted conception of what is art and picture since the author argues that what one sees is informed by his set of beliefs and the societal norms. It does explore the idea that the meaning of artworks changes with time as the context shifts. The author investigates into the nature of the photographic mode of representation and articulates the effect of photography on our notion of art and on the portrayal and self-awareness of women in visual culture. The series of essays, thus, is an exhortation to the reader to ask questions of his or her way of seeing, taking into consideration how the power dynamics forge our interpretation of images.

  4. Wall and Piece

    4.8
    2 042 ratings

    The collection represents a provocative and humorous view of street art created by the world-renowned street artist. Blending both photography and narrative, it gives one a glimpse into the thought of an artist and what most of the iconic graffiti art truly mean. The book takes readers on a global tour of his public pieces, relating to their impact on viewers and to the urban environments in which people live. It criticizes the traditional notions of art and public space and makes the reader question the world in a mixture of wit and wisdom.

  5. The Diary of Frida Kahlo

    4.8
    1 622 ratings

    This book is going to present to its reader a sensitive insight into the life of the famous female artist Frida Kahlo, whose life was full of dramatic self-portraits. Her personal diary is going to help all readers plunge into the deepest emotional world, very colorful creativity, and constant pain from which she suffered all her life. The diary is full of her thoughts, poems, and dreams and also has her original drawings. It includes the profound love to her husband Diego Rivera as well as the suffering of the woman from bodily disorders. And it is on the strength of this book that not only her artistic genius is given due light but her unconquerable spirit also stands highlighted. So, it becomes a forceful read for whoever is interested in her life and her work.

  6. The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

    4.7
    1 116 ratings

    Immerse yourself in the private world of Vincent van Gogh with his letters. Through these letters, get a unique glimpse into the mind of the legendary artist, his thoughts on art, life, and struggles. Learn what was in his heart, his passion, inspiration, and turmoil that stoked his creative fire, from the words of the man himself. What is written in these letters to families and friends is pure, transparent humanity behind the masterpieces. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand the man behind the iconic sunflowers and starry nights.

  7. The Story of Art

    4.7
    1 064 ratings

    From the earliest cave paintings to modern masterpieces, this book takes you on a journey through art history. It makes complex ideas and movements about art history accessible to everyone. It is a lively read, where the author tells stories with full engagement, bringing out the stories behind the works of art and their creators, showing how art truly becomes the mirror for change in societies, technologies, and ideas. For every art lover and novice, it is ideal and leaves one with a clear and comprehensive view of the huge world of art, helping one to change his perception, and quite likely to take a new liking to art.

  8. The Art Spirit

    4.6
    772 ratings
    Recommended by: Blas Moros

    This book is an insight into the philosophy and methods of painting and abounds in the revelations of a great artist – Robert Henri. It's a source of guidance and inspiration for artists, urging them on to find and give out the best of their own spirit. Henri insists that technical perfection is much less important than the expression in the work of art and advises artists to find and create their individual styles. These essays, letters, and notes offer the reader an insight into what art is, touch upon its deepest essence, and understand the impact it brings upon both the creator and the viewer. This is a work that will be truly timeless as a sourcebook for artists who wish to enkindle their own creative journeys.

  9. Seven Days in the Art World

    4.3
    678 ratings

    Giving intimate access to the contemporary art scene, it offers a unique chance to get under the skin. From the adrenaline-fueled auction rooms, where a bidding war among millionaires for an überartwork can be considered spectacular theater, to the quiet, reverential gloaming of artists' studios, the book plunges the reader into seven different faces of the Each chapter, with prose as glossy as the canvases lining the gallery walls, drives into the many unwritten dynamics and codes of conduct that govern these spaces, providing an access point behind the scenes of the passions, politics, and power-plays that coalesce to create and circulate art today. It's an eye-opening read for anyone curious about the forces that drive the art world.

  10. Concerning the Spiritual in Art

    4.4
    641 ratings

    This book speaks to the deep relationship between art and spirituality. The author explains how pure art opposes only the visible form to seize the soul, touching deep emotions and spiritual experiences. He emphasizes that the role of color and form is to achieve this transcendence, proposing that artists should focus on the depiction of their inner selves rather than trying to copy the outer world. The book paves the way for a visual experience in art to the spiritual quest of following a religion and offers yet another avenue towards understanding creativity and its purpose.

FAQ

  • What are the most popular authors of art books?

    Here are authors of good books about art:

    • Leonardo da Vinci - renaissance art, scientific observations.
    • John Berger - art criticism, ways of seeing.
    • Jerry Saltz - contemporary art criticism.
    • Georgia O'Keeffe - american modernism.
    • Vincent van Gogh - post-Impressionism, personal expression.

List of top rated Art books everyone should read. Best sellers only!