Art Up Close: From Ancient to Modern by Claire d'Harcout is technically for young readers, but I think many adults, including myself, could benefit from it. Full color reproductions of twenty-three masterpieces from museums around the world cover different eras and styles from 1300 BC Egyptian papyrus to twentieth century abstract expressionism. The trim size of this book is huge, which perfectly suits the subject matter. Each two page spread presents the work of art and the items from the painting for readers to find. I love this because it encourages slowing down and really looking at a work of art. I have been to more than a few museums and watched people pause then move on at a rapid pace. In fact, a study from 2001 conducted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art showed that the average time spend looking at a painting was 17 seconds. And this was before everyone had a smartphone and the accompanying diminished attention span. Another fantastic feature of Art Up Close is the fact that the circled items are ALL that are on each two page spread. Young readers are not overwhelmed by information. In fact, they aren't even told what might be important about each painting and why, simply given the name of the artist, the name of the work of art and the date it was completed. They are just invited to take a look at the piece of art. Up close.
The final fifteen pages of Art Up Close: From Ancient to Modern are dedicated to giving readers information about the works of art. A paragraph providing historical context, technique and style and information about the artist and the era in art history are provided for each work of art with the intended audience in mind. Four pages present small versions of the paintings which are flaps that lift, revealing the places in each painting where the up-close images were pulled from. A final page lets readers know where to go to view each work of art in person!
Source: Review Copy