To anyone who loves art or want to know about art, its references, history, artists, movements, etc., there are interesting books that if anyone purchased and read will be indulged with a dose of knowledge about the Arts at the comfort of their own home at any given pace in time looking through pictures and reading its text content page by page. The authors of each of these books are prolific writers of today in which there books are considered to be “the best” and highly recommended to read.
If there is an Oxford Dictionary of English language, there is also a The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists by Ian Chilvers. Yes, it is a dictionary, an "art dictionary" to be exact. A “complete” list of artists since the beginning of art to present with details regarding each artists with its A-Z structure as a quick guide. This is a great reference to all students, collectors, educators, art lovers.
To anyone who wants to know about all time favorite artists, their autobiographies, masterpieces, lives and secrets, the following references will be helpful. The Success and Failure of Picasso by John Berger encompasses the history and secrecy of one of the world’s geniuses in the arts. About his biography, A Life of Picasso: The Prodigy, 1881-1906 ; The Cubist Rebel, 1907-1916 by John Richardson would be a great add to your collection. Goya by Robert Hughes enlighten us about the story of the path that once bridged the old masters to the modern art. Rembrandt's Eyes by Simon Schama one of the best “detailed” English biography of this artist and also to get to know about his origins a great read would be Goya, the Origins of the Modern Temper in Art (Icon editions) by Fred Licht. To anyone who loves the Italian renaissance masters, The Lives of Artist Volume 1 and 2 by George Bull is a great resource which is about the renaissance Italian masters. Before our great artists became masters, they were once an apprentice. The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper by John Richardson is about “the beginnings” of these great masters of arts of today. The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers by T. J. Clark and Olympia: Paris in the Age of Manet by Otto Friedrich are about what is Paris during Manet’s existence in time. To get to know the precise history behind the making of this pointillist masterpiece, Seurat and the Making of 'La Grande Jatte' by Robert L. Herbert is one of the must read. Dissecting through letters of one of the great masters of art, a great read would be is the Letters on Cézanne by Rainer Maria Rilke. There are lots of biographies already published and written about this artist but wait till you see and read about this “definitive” autobiography of DEGAS by Roy McMullen. Must see “complete” works in a book is Vermeer: The Complete Works by Arthur K. Wheelock. If you want to see how an artist’s of a great master studio looks like in the past, try and read this Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South by Douglas W. Druick.
A complete detail about the arts history is Janson's History of Art 7th Ed. by H. W. Janson and also a great read would be Social History of Art, Boxed Set: The Social History of Art, Vol. 2: Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque by Arnold Hauser. Secrecy unrevealed through The Shock of the New: The Hundred-Year History of Modern Art: Its Rise, Its Dazzling Achievement, It's Fall by Robert Hughes. Also, if anyone wants to know about the ties and gaps in between politics and arts in France read this The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France, 1848-1851 by T. J. Clark. Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts by James M. Saslow is a wonderful book, indeed, to read. It is very unique in which it reveals the facts and history about sexuality in the history of the arts. The History of Impressionism Revised and enlarged edition by John Rewald will reveal the most detailed truth about this movement’s history or you might also like the History of British Art by Andrew Graham-Dixon.
Days of enlightenment is one of the best art movement of all time in which a good read would be Renaissance by Andrew Graham-Dixon and also The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry by Adam Phillips or perhaps you might also like Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society by Robert L. Herbert. Every artists whether old master or emerging, to date, at least have tried an expressional piece about a nude like what you will read about in The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form by Kenneth Clark. A dreamy like figures or objects with deep meaning will sure fire to explain this Surrealism: Desire Unbound by Dawn Ades. A query anyone must know is in this book, A Fine Disregard: What Makes Modern Art Modern by Kick Varnedoe. The reign of Gothic Architecture and Scholasticism by Erwin Panofsky is a great resource to read.