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A Short Guide to Writing About Art (The Short Guide Series)

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For art courses where there is a writing component. This best-selling text has guided tens of thousands of art students through the writing process. Students are shown how to analyze pictures (drawings, paintings, photographs), sculptures and architecture, and are prepared with the tools they need to present their ideas through effective writing.


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For art courses where there is a writing component. This best-selling text has guided tens of thousands of art students through the writing process. Students are shown how to analyze pictures (drawings, paintings, photographs), sculptures and architecture, and are prepared with the tools they need to present their ideas through effective writing.

57 review for A Short Guide to Writing About Art (The Short Guide Series)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sofia

    Background: I ordered this book a few months ago, when I decided I wanted to focus my studies on the theoretical side of art. In order to start practicing my writing more seriously, and having never had any formal training, I wanted a book that could guide me in the right direction, not too advanced nor too basic, and which could be a good reference in my future academic research. After looking around for a bit, I settled for this one, which appeared to have the most interesting contents and bes Background: I ordered this book a few months ago, when I decided I wanted to focus my studies on the theoretical side of art. In order to start practicing my writing more seriously, and having never had any formal training, I wanted a book that could guide me in the right direction, not too advanced nor too basic, and which could be a good reference in my future academic research. After looking around for a bit, I settled for this one, which appeared to have the most interesting contents and best reviews. Review: Art criticism can be a daunting subject. Many times I've gone to an exhibition or read an art book and felt bewildered by the seeming impenetrability of the language used by the critics and art historians. On the other end of the spectrum, I have come across texts that not only deepened my understanding of the artworks, but also made me appreciate things I would normally never cast a second glance at. Short Guide to Writing About Art, A aims at those who wish to write the latter type of texts. Written in a concise and clear language, this book is clearly aimed at art students, and is great for those, like me, who have some kind of background in art but who are just starting to write. The initial part of the book, which includes sections such as "Why Write about Art?" and "The Relevance of Context: The Effect of the Museum and the Picture Book", focuses on teaching the students to look at art and to organize their thoughts, ideas and opinions, and the best way of expressing them. The author makes a point of explaining that, if your audience doesn't understand (or misunderstands) what you wrote, most likely the problem is in your writing. He goes on to explain all the little things that one rarely thinks about or even notices, but which make all the difference when reading, and end up separating a great writer/critic from a mediocre one. The guidelines presented are adapted to various situations, for example, exhibition catalogs, reviews and essays. The book covers everything from giving your own opinions and having a personal style, to the specifics of looking at the different art mediums. Towards the end, the author focuses more on the technical side of writing, including formats, language and research. It is, in short, a reference book and a how-to book combined into one. The points and guidelines presented can be applied to any kind of writing, not just art criticism. The only complaint I have is that towards the end, the explanations about grammar, form and bibliography explanations got very heavy and the book ends on that note, which is a shame because the rest is so clear and easy to read. Because of the density of information it took me longer than usual to read this book - two months as opposed to, say, a week (granted, those two months included a trip to Paris and another to Cuba, in which I did no reading, but still). Nevertheless, I recommend this to every art student, and to everyone who wants to learn about looking at and writing about art. What's Next: I'm really happy I bought this book. It was exactly what I needed to initiate my path towards being a better writer. I plan on checking out some of the books and resources mentioned throughout this one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lệ Lin

    Initially, I only managed to borrow this book as a reference for my art history class but now, if I ever find this book somewhere else, I will definitely buy it without hesitation. So remarkably detailed and invaluable that I feel like I have learned so so much beyond expectation. Not only does Sylvan Barnet give me ways of seeing and understanding any work of art but he also reflects on some mistakes that I may stumble upon throughout the process of (both amateur and professional) writing, such Initially, I only managed to borrow this book as a reference for my art history class but now, if I ever find this book somewhere else, I will definitely buy it without hesitation. So remarkably detailed and invaluable that I feel like I have learned so so much beyond expectation. Not only does Sylvan Barnet give me ways of seeing and understanding any work of art but he also reflects on some mistakes that I may stumble upon throughout the process of (both amateur and professional) writing, such as doing research, jotting down ideas, revising drafts, giving credits and so on. This book is even a better guide for non-native English writers because he takes many pages to guide us on using synonyms, tenses, tones of writing, common mis-spelling terminologies and wordplay. As an aside, this book is one included in Sylvan's the short guide series. If you're interested, you can check out all of them and find a perfect match for yourself to read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate Green

    Although I borrowed this book from the library hoping for help in writing critical about exhibitions and artwork it turned out instead to be an excellent little book on helping to write about art in an educational setting. Barnet reinforces much of what anyone that has been to university should know about writing, but in an engaging and friendly way that meant the reminders were welcomed. Really easy to use, this book will arm you with transferable writing skills for a range of audiences and cre Although I borrowed this book from the library hoping for help in writing critical about exhibitions and artwork it turned out instead to be an excellent little book on helping to write about art in an educational setting. Barnet reinforces much of what anyone that has been to university should know about writing, but in an engaging and friendly way that meant the reminders were welcomed. Really easy to use, this book will arm you with transferable writing skills for a range of audiences and creative subject matters. I'll be borrowing it again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Austin

    Some fun details and snippets of art history interspersed with thoughtful writing advice, even if it often gets pretty specific into college paper writing. Good reminders, felt pretty breezy for an instructional text.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alma Barrios

    It’s a good start in helping to write about styles and analysis of art. I enjoyed it although some aspects of writing about art have changed. Great staring book to learn how to write about art.Easy to read!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Used this in grad school - finding it quite handy now for instructing students of history.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sam Bronstein

    Great read super informative and interesting. Made me miss art history class and made me want to do more research again.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Schlatter

    I'm assigning this for a freshmen seminar on contemporary art, focused on building critical thinking and oral and written communication skills. This book was assigned to me as an undergrad DECADES ago, but I think it holds up. There are a few flaws; some of the writing is overly judgmental, and there is an alarming amount of typos, most probably due to the many updated editions -- although for a manual on writing, the publishers should hire a top-notch copy editor to catch this kind of thing. Th I'm assigning this for a freshmen seminar on contemporary art, focused on building critical thinking and oral and written communication skills. This book was assigned to me as an undergrad DECADES ago, but I think it holds up. There are a few flaws; some of the writing is overly judgmental, and there is an alarming amount of typos, most probably due to the many updated editions -- although for a manual on writing, the publishers should hire a top-notch copy editor to catch this kind of thing. That said, it's still a very helpful book, with an unmistakeable sense that the author truly wants the student/reader to succeed in writing in a clear and insightful manner. Some of the advice is common sense, focused on basics of writing, etc., but much is focused on the unique issues of art-writing, including a section on how to avoid jargon. In general, it's a smart book that should be helpful for students taking any sort of liberal arts class requiring extensive writing. I picked up a few nuggets myself that I'll be using!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Johnflynch

    This book was very informative but I would only really recommend it to students of the arts as it primarily pertains to writing RESEARCH PAPERS about art. Large portions of it (I have an older edition) focus solely on research paper layout and technique, which was not particularly useful to me. I learned much more about writing about art from "Madonna of the Future by Arthur Danto (this is a collection of art criticisms) This book was very informative but I would only really recommend it to students of the arts as it primarily pertains to writing RESEARCH PAPERS about art. Large portions of it (I have an older edition) focus solely on research paper layout and technique, which was not particularly useful to me. I learned much more about writing about art from "Madonna of the Future by Arthur Danto (this is a collection of art criticisms)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Terry

    This is an amazing book and helped me raise my grades in art history papers by full letters! This book was not required, but suggested to me by a teacher, and it should totally be required. This book is so helpful and easy to understand. It includes sections on various different types of writing assignments in regards to art. I highly recommend this book!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This was really helpful. I actually really enjoyed it also.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    I'll keep this as a reference. Excellent for English, Art History, etc. students, or really anyone writing research papers. I'll keep this as a reference. Excellent for English, Art History, etc. students, or really anyone writing research papers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TaleofGenji

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11147645 I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/11147645

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    Short Guide to Writing About Art, A (8th Edition) (Short Guide) by Sylvan Barnet (2004)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Relstuart

    At 400 hundred pages "short" is not a great descriptive word. :) But it was to the point on the subjects it covered and a good book for covering the proper way to write about art. At 400 hundred pages "short" is not a great descriptive word. :) But it was to the point on the subjects it covered and a good book for covering the proper way to write about art.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Linds

    This book is helpful for anyone taking college art history, appreciation, or aestetics courses. It will bump your papers up at least one grade.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jonette

    Not sure how to write about art? This book is a wonderful resource for you!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Risa

    A short guide to writing about art by Sylvan Barnet (1997)

  19. 4 out of 5

    LemontreeLime

    Currently reading 6th ed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Not surprisingly, it's a rather dry topic, but this book manages to make it interesting! Not surprisingly, it's a rather dry topic, but this book manages to make it interesting!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    808.0667 B2616 2011

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kamilė Čelutkaitė

  23. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna Wilhelm

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carolina

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  27. 4 out of 5

    ISMDubai

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tsubaki

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Anderson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Yifat

  31. 5 out of 5

    Rose

  32. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  33. 4 out of 5

    Emir

  34. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

  35. 5 out of 5

    Adrea

  36. 4 out of 5

    Aimee Elizabeth Shaw

  37. 4 out of 5

    Artlab

  38. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

  39. 4 out of 5

    Harmony

  40. 5 out of 5

    Julia

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    Jamie

  42. 4 out of 5

    Micah

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    M.

  44. 5 out of 5

    O'Rissa

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    Sarah

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    'trie

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    Greg

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    Desirae

  50. 4 out of 5

    Gia

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    Kweli

  52. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

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    Chelsey Hyatt

  54. 5 out of 5

    Simon Jacobs

  55. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  56. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  57. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

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