An installment of the ""Eyewitness Art"" series, this is an unmusty introduction to Western art, for teenagers and beyond; it dispels all stodginess, and invites even the most obtuse to sneak a peek. Almost everyone is taught to read words, but few learn to read art. Yet art in the past (before printing, photography, etc.) was a necessary tool of recordkeeping, not the luxury it is considered today. Kent's book is designed to guide readers through the skills of ""reading"" Western art. Discussing composition as part of the language of art, she adds that for many artists, it is not a planned but intuitive process, and one that they might be unable to explain. She covers traditional structures of composition: the golden section, the vanishing point, the dramatic diagonals, the sacred geometries, and much more. But she also shows how light, color, and even chance can influence art's meaning. An added joy is the inclusion of some contemporary insight as to how a female artist portrays a female model differently than a male artist might, a point often overlooked in art critiques. The magnificent full-color reproductions mix old masters and other classics with lesser known works; text and layout highlight specific details of paintings to explicate ideas; the effect is a clear, near-comprehensive discussion in pages that have an airy, approachable look and feel.