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So if you re-titled this, "The (Almost Entirely Western) Painting and Sculpture (14th - 20th Century) Book, you'd know what you're in for - but it's not exactly pithy. Only the "Painting and Sculpture" part is openly acknowledged by the editors. The rest is deduced from what actually appears in the book, which is an alphabetically arranged list of 500 artists with one image each and a paragraph or two of annotation about the artist and the work displayed. There's also basic biographical details and information on the chosen image.
As the editors note, the alphabetical arrangement leads to some startling contrasts since proximate works in the book can be separated by centuries and continents in terms of their actual production. This was actually quite fun, just look elsewhere for an education on how everything fits together conceptually, geographically and historically. 500 entries gives room for all the most famous artists (given the constraints of my alternative title) with plenty of space left over for people I had not heard of, some of whom piqued my interest. It was also pleasing to find women represented as far back as the 1600s, their work being of a quality matching that of the book generally.
Great for flipping through - a perfect "coffee table" book.
And the final shout out goes to John William Waterhouse, who liked Tennyson (and had a more reasonable number of names and no hyphens):
The Lady of Shalott was one of the most memorable paintings I saw on my first visit to an internationally famous art gallery, The Tate Gallery, in London. It was in what is now called Tate Britain, where it remains, but I made my first visit before before Tate Modern opened. (There was a Jackson Pollock not far away.) By far the greatest (unofficial) Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painting, in my view.