Artists: Inspiring Stories Of Their Lives And Works by Susie Hodge

The Blurb On The Back:

Meet the creative minds behind famous works of art.

Who inspired Henri Matisse?  Why did Rembrandt die poor?  How did Frida Kahlo discover that she liked painting?  Find out in this enthralling book, which tells the colourful stories of more than 50 brilliant artists, from ancient times to the present day.

Their work has enriched the lives of many – and might just change how you see the world.  

ARTISTS: INSPIRING STORIES OF THEIR LIVES AND WORKS was released in the United Kingdom on 7th July 2022.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order ARTISTS: INSPIRING STORIES OF THEIR LIVES AND WORKS by Susie Hodge from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Susie Hodge is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.  This book for readers aged 8+ combines profiles of artists from Ancient Egypt to the present day with summaries of schools of art and how to make art.  Hodge features a diverse selection of artists and mediums and Jessamy Hawke’s illustrations perfectly complement the text.  It’s perfect for young readers with an interest in art because it conveys passion for the topic.

The book is divided into 3 sections.  The first looks at art before 1800, the second covers art between 1800 and 1900 and the final section moves from 1900 to the modern day.  

Hodge has included a really interesting mix of artists – some of whom young readers may know like Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Kandinsky, Matisse, Pollack and Banksy – and others who may be knew to them (as they were certainly new to me) like Zelda, Bonheur and Salcedo.  Given that art can seem very male, pale and stale Hodge has clearly thought very carefully about how to include non-European artists so there are a to of women here and artists from the Far East, Africa, South America and India.  The biographies are potted (as is inevitable in a book of this type purely for reasons of space) but they give a sense of who each artist was and their work and provide enough for readers to be able to look up more if they wish to.

Also good is how Hodge incorporates different schools and types of art, having sections on matters such as impressionism, portraiture, abstract art and activist art but also including sections on art materials and folk art, which helps to get across the message that art is more than just painting and can be done with all kinds of materials including textiles.

Jessamy Hawke’s illustrations work incredibly well with the text, providing images of the artists and some of their work and supplementing actual photographs.  She really gets across the different types of styles and the nature of the artists’ work.

All in all, I thought this was an absolutely cracking book – perfect if you have a young reader who has any interest in art and who wants to know more.  Certainly I learnt a lot from this book and found that it’s really made me very keen to visit an art gallery the first chance I get.

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