Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Name That Style: All About Isms in Art

Name That Style: All About Isms in Art

Bob Raczka
For ages 8 to 11
Lerner, 2009   ISBN: 978-1580138246

Many people love art, and they enjoy looking at pictures of all kinds, but they are often intimidated by all the terms that knowledgeable people use to describe the different art forms. Often the terms you will hear are isms, like Cubism or Impressionism, and if you don’t know what they mean, your understanding of art is not as rich as it could be.

In this excellent title, Bob Raczka explains what fourteen art styles are. He presents the styles to readers in chronological order, beginning with Naturalism, a form that has been around “throughout the history of art,” and ending with Photorealism, which first became popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

For each art ism, the author provides readers with a brief description of why the form came to be popular, and when it was commonly used. He also tells us about some of famous artists who liked that art style, what some of its characteristics are, and he explores one example of that art form.

For example, on the page about Realism, we learn that this style was popular mostly in France during the mid to late 1800’s. Painters who embraced this form created art that showed representative scenes from real life, and the paintings often served as a commentary on current social conditions. Raczka uses a painting by Gustave Courbet as an example. We can see from Courbet’s painting why this style is called Realism because the scene in the painting is very lifelike, and it shows two men breaking up stones.

Often books about the history of art are weighty, and for young readers, they provide more information than can be easily taken in. This book is perfect because it gives readers enough information so that they can understand what is being said without being overwhelmed.

This is just one of many titles that Bob Raczka has written about, artists, art forms, and art history.