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The Bible of Art History: Gardner's "Art Through the Ages"

Themina Kader
Studies in Art Education
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Winter, 2000), pp. 164-177
DOI: 10.2307/1320661
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1320661
Page Count: 14
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The Bible of Art History: Gardner's
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Abstract

Art Through the Ages by Helen Gardner chronicles the art of the world. The first edition of this book was published in 1926, and the tenth edition became available in 1996. In the intervening 70 years, the book has undergone many structural and editorial changes. The longevity of the book and the "missionary zeal" with which Gardner set out to write it provide my rationale for calling this article the "Bible of Art History." This article examines three issues: (a) What is the influence of Art Through the Ages within the historical context of art education; (b) How have the contents of the book helped to keep it in print continuously for seven decades; and (c) How has Gardner, an art educator, contributed to the success of her book? In the 1920s there were many art history books, but few authors could match Gardner's ability to write in a single volume, in concise and clear English, about the art history of the world. Thus Gardner's words and ideas live on through the first three editions of her book. The subsequent editions by multiple contributors have retained Gardner's vision of an art history text that goes beyond "Outlines."

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