ART UP CLOSE by Claire d’Harcourt


From Ancient to Modern
Age Range: 6 - 13
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Art appreciation, taught with a puzzle element.

With an 11-by-15–inch trim size, this impressive volume opens to spreads almost 2 feet across, each featuring one piece of fine art. Outside every artwork’s border float 10 to 12 small circles, each circle reproducing a detail from that spread’s spotlighted piece. The charge to readers: locate each detail’s location in the full piece. Although this structurally recalls Martin Handford’s Where’s Waldo, the chance to pore over high-quality reproductions of complex and varied masterpieces strongly elevates this search in both appeal and sophistication. Short essays at the end discuss the works’ genres, contexts, and media. There’s also an answer key. Of the 23 pieces, Jackson Pollock’s Convergence makes the hardest puzzle because of its complete abstraction and close, frenetic squiggles of paint; the others either are representational (the Aztec manuscript Codex Borbonicus; Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Bal du moulin de la Galette) or feature distinct, identifiable shapes (Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, black-and-white and stunning in this big, glossy format). Each isolated detail appears slightly larger than in the main piece, enhancing understanding; for example, Jan Van Eyck’s Madonna with Canon van der Paele magnifies an eye, emphasizing that facial expression’s complexity.

Excellent for art lovers and for potential art lovers; both will be hooked by the search. (answer key, locations of art) (Nonfiction. 6-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-61689-421-4
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Princeton Architectual Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2017


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