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A Little History of Art, by
Charlotte Mullins

Front Jacket of A Little History of Art by Charlotte Mullins

Published: April 26, 2022

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A thrilling journey through 100,000 years of art, from the origins of mark making to art’s pivotal role in culture today

Why did our ancestors make art? What did art mean to them and what does their art mean for us today? Why is art even important at all?

Charlotte Mullins brings art to life by focusing on those who made it, from teenage prodigies to nonagenarians. This little history introduces us to overlooked artists, busts a few art history myths, and celebrates global networks of art, from Japan and India to South America and the Middle East.

Mullins shows us the first artworks ever made and early masterpieces such as the Terracotta Army and Nok sculptures. She tells the story of the Renaissance, from Giotto to Michelangelo, and introduces us to subsequent leading artists such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Rembrandt, and Hokusai. Through the turbulence of the twentieth century, we see artists group together and break apart and meet trailblazers including Käthe Kollwitz, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Jacob Lawrence. More recently contemporary artists such as Ai Weiwei and Shirin Neshat create art as resistance as they address today’s urgent issues. This extraordinary journey through 100,000 years celebrates art’s crucial place in understanding our collective culture and history.

“A crisp and informative narrative of art’s main trajectories and its leading figures . . . [Mullins] packs in a surprising amount of material.” – Michael Prodger, Country Life

“Author and art historian Charlotte Mullins aims to challenge the ‘myopic prioritisation of male Western art’ in earlier art history publications.” – Gareth Harris, Art Newspaper

You can find our interview with illustrator Mat Pringle, exploring his work on A Little History of Art, here.

About the author

Charlotte Mullins Headshot

Charlotte Mullins is an art critic, writer, and broadcaster. A former editor of ArtReview, V&A Magazine, and Art Quarterly, she has published more than a dozen books on visual art.

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About the illustrator

Mat Pringle

Mat Pringle is an Illustrator, Printmaker and Arts Educator based in Margate, UK. His work draws from influences such as folklore, cinema, music, flora and fauna. He works predominately in linocut printmaking specifically reduction linocut. His work ha …

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