Look! Seeing the Light in Art by Gillian Wolfe, 2006 Frances Lincoln's Children Books (UK), 45 pages
I found this quite accidentally when browsing the art shelves in the non-fiction children books section at our library system's main branch last week.
Mind you, I am always carting around mountains of books in huge, oversize bags, and I am thankful for strong, teen sons, and for downtown ballet and piano classes allowing me the time to browse at the library.
At the library, I try to throw in the bag only what looks promising, and I still end up bringing home volumes that go directly back into the return bag, almost unopened. So what I post here is truly the cream of the crop-- at least the cream of my own random crop!
Back to Wolfe's marvelous book: she is from the UK and has received awards for her art books for children. I would give her an award as well! (I have just requested the two other titles in this series from Inter Library Loan). I like the paintings she chooses to show her artistic points-- in this volume, the effect of light onto works of art-- and I like the language she uses to talk about them. The book is for children and yet it doesn't talk down or use patronizing language. Art should be talked about simply, clearly-- and she does just that, as she discusses the use of light in different aspects using 18 great works of art as examples. In fact, I am taking this book to take to my art students at co-op on Friday, and my teens at home approve!
The only negative thing I would say is that I would have chosen another of the many art works depicted in the book for the cover. Alas, that may be a very insignificant point, but it is one that could mean a lot to a visual person like me, who had to bet on the stunning art wok inside the book when the cover shows a very boring Picasso.
To close, another positive: Wolfe is not afraid to acknowledge that it is impossible to talk about art without discussing sacred art. Indeed her book opens with the gorgeous Conversion of Saint Paul by Caravaggio (so timely for the Year of Saint Paul!), and it closes with a discussion on "Heavenly Light", using Blessed Fra Angelico's version of Paradise from The Last Judgement.