The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-ModernWhy I am recommending this book:
This second edition of Carol Strickland's The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern offers an illustrated tutorial of prehistoric to post-modern art from cave paintings to video art installations to digital and Internet media.
Featuring succinct page-length essays, instructive sidebars, and more than 300 photographs, The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern takes art history out of the realm of dreary textbooks, demystifies jargon and theory, and makes art accessible-even at a cursory reading.
From Stonehenge to the Guggenheim and from Holbein to Warhol, more than 25,000 years of art is distilled into five sections covering a little more than 200 pages.
Rendered in the Thurberesque outline manner of Kaplan's New Yorker cartoons, Edmund and Rosemary are a stolid, childless Brooklyn couple. One Sunday, after a walk around the neighborhood marred by loud cell-phoners and a multiplex full of unappealing movies, Rosemary goes on a tear anent the disappointments and worse of contemporary existence; Edmund can't help but concur, and they conclude that they are in hell. Subsequent outings to the computer store, to Edmund's Uncle Donald's in New Jersey, and to Washington, D.C., only confirm the deduction. But an anonymous, high-ranking official gives them a winning lottery ticket. With the $342 million jackpot, they counter their malaise with various self-improvement schemes--exercise, therapy, religion, travel. Eventually, they go home and forget about being in hell. Of course, killjoys (do-gooders, global thinkers, Sally Field) may carp; they still have their unspent lottery swag. But they're content, and meanwhile Kaplan has aired all the standard affluent urbanites' complaints, picture-book rather than graphic-novel style, with consummately urbane drollery.