Listened to the audio version Great narration, though a book like this one is probably better in physical format since no amount of flowery description can really tell you what a Titian or Caravaggio looks like A great overview of Western art, though Recommended. I really liked it There were some issues with accuracy in places, so I could only give three stars, but this was an enjoyable summary. I m sure it would have been a higher rating if I could have seen the paintings along with the lessons I m sorry I was in a place while listening that I could not look up the paintings along with it. Listened to the whole book waiting to hear about the amazing women who have contributed to the history of Western Art How many were mentioned Georgia O Keefe And I think Audrey Flack but her name wasn t even mentioned Totally disgraceful A good primer, but the Renaissance seems to appear out of nowhere without outside influences. I m glad I ve recently studied some art history, otherwise, I wouldn t have had any mental images to go along with this audiobook, nor overall historical framework to make sense of his presentation But yeah, with this pre knowledge, I was able to appreciate Whitfield s interpretive sketch of the history of western art I could be wrong, but I did feel there was an anti religious bias which resulted in a slanted interpretation of the Italian renaissance in particular A good deal within this boo I m glad I ve recently studied some art history, otherwise, I wouldn t have had any mental images to go along with this audiobook, nor overall historical framework to make sense of his presentation But yeah, with this pre knowledge, I was able to appreciate Whitfield s interpretive sketch of the history of western art I could be wrong, but I did feel there was an anti religious bias which resulted in a slanted interpretation of the Italian renaissance in particular A good deal within this book seemed to be presented as the glorious triumph of the secular over the sacred But one wonders with the final quote of the book, if the author actually doesn t really like the fact that with the death of God also came the twilight of beauty, truth and goodness, leading to a ugly and boring art which reflects the meaningless of an indifferent universe without purpose or hope The traditions of the past, the beliefs and the symbols are all dead, mankind is alone in the universe with his terrible freedom, alone in the environment he has created, he is effectively his own god, there are no others this is the meaning of modern art, order and disorder, beauty and ugliness are equally valid, put simply we may have come to the end of art because we have come to the end of belief, isn t this why we value the art of the past so much, because it is so unlike what we have become It takes us back to an interpreted world, in which ideals of beauty, order and truth had a reality capable of being embodied in a picture, a reality that artist throughout the centuries have struggled with, found, lost and found again, we can only hope that they are not no lost forever Peter Whitfield Interesting how much the author despised the paintings of J M W Turner, of course, in sharing about those he considered to be far superior, introduced me to Ivan Aivazovsky whose work is astounding What is art Why do we value images of saints, kings, goddesses, battles, landscapes or cities from eras of history utterly remote from ourselves This history of art shows how painters, sculptors and architects have expressed the belief systems of their age religious, political and aesthetic 3.5 A sweeping history of western art Yes, it does only skim the surface, but it s a fairly effective introduction to the subject, in my humble opinion. Very informative. Quite simple and concise Not too much judgement or opinion from the author, which I liked.