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Elizabeth, Sarah
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The Art of Fantasy by S Elizabeth is an attractive and informative guide to fantastic art over time and across styles.

This isn't as big as many coffee table books but would certainly make a lovely display. I like the size being closer to a standard book, maybe a tad wider, since this is also the kind of book that one might want to have handy by a study or research area (in other words, on a shelf without being awkward). Either way, it will serve wonderfully as a display book or as a basic reference type book.

I want to specify a general reference, not a detailed reference. My areas of research never centered on art but often used art to help make a point or establish a trend. This would be an ideal book for that type of researcher. It could also serve as inspiration for a writer, whether to spark the imagination in general or to help create beings or scenes for a story. As in Elizabeth's other "Art of..." books the list for further reading is short but chosen very well, so you have avenues to read more in whatever areas pique your curiosity, in addition to the information in the body of the book, from which you can generate more specific searches.

As for content, what I particularly enjoyed was the inclusion of everything from classic works of art to illustrations that accompanied stories and other more mass-produced images. It was fun and interesting having these works in conversation with each other.

I liked the broad introductions to each section and chapter with the information about each image in a bigger caption next to each. I find that, in non-textbooks, to be far easier and lends itself to a smoother reading experience with less page-flipping.

All in all, I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in fantastic art, from a casual to formal interest. I think there will be things both familiar and unfamiliar to most readers and that usually means a fun time.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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pomo58 | Sep 9, 2023 |
The Art of Darkness by S Elizabeth is a wonderful glimpse at art that falls under the broad umbrella of dark.

This book is exactly what I was hoping it would be, a book about the art with some theory thrown in to contextualize it. Nothing against art history or art theory books that focus on explanation and use just enough illustration to show their point. If you have read several such books, or just aren't that interested in the theory (art or psychological), this book offers more of the artworks themselves. Where, in those other books you would get a paragraph about a specific work and, hopefully, have a plate nearby to look at, the info is in the caption to the plate. The brief introductory sections of each chapter give a nice broad explanation of why the works that follow are connected.

There is a short, but actually quite good, list for further reading in the back. So this can serve as a springboard for more research. Additionally, with the many resources available, it isn't hard to look online for even more specific material about artists or ideas mentioned in the book.

While most of the usual artists who have made dark art are mentioned I was pleased that it wasn't always the most common work that was shown.

I really liked the other book in the series, The Art of the Occult, but I think I may have enjoyed this one more. Though it is a close call. While the occult may or may not speak personally to every reader (even while opening up a lot of interpretive space) these works of darkness speak more personally to the reader/viewer. We have all had nightmares or anxieties or other fears. In some ways, and definitely in my case, these speak to me more intimately.

Highly recommended for anyone from those well-versed in art and art history to those who just like to look at art and think about it. The illustrations are excellent, and the captions give a wonderful snapshot of the context.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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pomo58 | 1 muu arvostelu | Aug 18, 2022 |
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mahallett | 1 muu arvostelu | Jan 28, 2022 |
The Art of the Occult: A Visual Sourcebook for the Modern Mystic by S. Elizabeth is a visually stunning and mentally thought-provoking work.

I mainly came to this book because of an interest in the art and how much of it makes me think and feel. I was not disappointed in this, and I was pleasantly surprised by the very interesting text in each chapter. I think a sentence in the Introduction sums it up nicely: Art-making, then, is magic-making.

Good art, and especially good art with occult themes and/or symbolism, leads the viewer to ponder the nuances of life, the things that we know are but we can't explain why they are. Whether it is something as simple as love or as complex as the meaning of our existence, art offers us an avenue into understanding. Not that we will understand, not fully, but we have a way into the conversation. The art represented here does this very well. From the many well known artists and works to the lesser known, we are presented with multiple ways to think about what we know, what we don't know, and what we know we don't know.

I just finished reading the theosophical classic Thought-Forms (new edition from Dover Publications that includes all of the wonderful illustrations) so was particularly interested in that chapter, which includes an image from Thought-Forms. I love when my reading interacts like that.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in the occult or mysticism as well as art lovers. Take each image and sit with it for a while, see if it speaks to you.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.
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pomo58 | 1 muu arvostelu | Nov 24, 2020 |


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