Art in Detail: 100 Masterpieces

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The book examines 100 works of art down the ages, from Giotto’s 14th-century fresco Adoration of the Magi, to a 21st-century landscape painting by David Hockney. It approaches each work as part of a tradition that links the oldest work of art to the most recent, as artists pass a metaphorical baton down through the ages.

Art in Detail spotlights the finer points that even connoisseurs may miss, casting light upon minutiae that a quick glance will almost certainly fail to reveal. These include subtle internal details, such as hidden symbols.

Expert commentary reveals the technical tricks employed by the artist to achieve particular effects, such as the placement of the subject, the lighting and the style of brushstrokes.

The book also looks at the themes and external factors influencing the creation of an artwork – everything from the broad socio-economic context in which the artist operated to the ambient temperature at the time of the work’s creation, which can be of surprising relevance.

Susie Hodge is an art historian, author, artist and journalist with more than 100 books to her credit, including Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That, also published by Thames & Hudson. She has twice been named The Independent’s No. 1 art writer.