Phaidon Continues To Be a Pioneering Force In the Art Literary World

By Leziga Barikor | November 15, 2021

In line with the illustrious Phaidon tradition, The Essential Art Book Collection covers all the needs of an art lover’s library. Delving into art history from the ancients to today, Phaidon’s collection works well as both a general overview and an exploration of some of the more popular themes and figures of the art world.

Beautifully designed, the books in this collection remind you why Phaidon (phaidon.com) continues to be a pioneering force in the art literary world. The razor-sharp attention to detail and bright colors make any of these coffee-table books a good accessory for your home.


Body of Art PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Body of Art PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS

A major centerpiece in this collection is the classic Andy Warhol “Giant” Size book, a tongue-in-cheek name for this massive 15-pound tome. It features a detailed overview of the pop art icon from birth to early death including work from all stages of his career. And for the non-Warholians, the set also includes a robust collection of 82 artist profiles in The Lives of Artists by longtime New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins.


Amedeo Modigliani, “Seated Nude” (circa 1916) PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Amedeo Modigliani, “Seated Nude” (circa 1916) PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS

Another asset of this collection is that it highlights major artistic themes and genres that may at first appear random but on further thought truly are reflective of the core of most artistic pursuits, such as the Body of Art book, which celebrates the way artists have depicted, dissected and utilized the human body. Whether to provoke or allure, the body has been a centerpiece in art for centuries. As such, a fitting companion book in this collection is 500 Self-Portraits, a compelling compilation of works by artists through ancient history to contemporary times.


Jean-Léon Gérôme, “Bashi-Bazouk” (1868-69). PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Jean-Léon Gérôme, “Bashi-Bazouk” (1868-69). PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS


Art = PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Art = PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS

In relation to surveying art inspired by the natural world, Animal: Exploring the Zoological World and Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom both cover major genres in a delightful range of colors and regions. Flower in particular highlights both the historical and cultural implications of the theme, making it more than a simple botanical study.


Animal: Exploring the Zoological World. PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Animal: Exploring the Zoological World. PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS


Flying Too Close to the Sun PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Flying Too Close to the Sun PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS

The inclusion of books expanding on the broader conversations art captures throughout history is what truly makes this Phaidon collection complete. Flying Too Close to the Sun is the first major survey by the Phaidon editors of the ways Greek and Roman mythology inspired art throughout the past two millennia. This rich tome presented as a thematic story rather than a static chronological timeline brings these ancient stories to life in a new way. Historical and contemporary art placed side by side seems a fitting thesis for the entire Phaidon Essential Art Book Collection, and the cross-generational conversation from the old to the new ever immortalized in the brightly bound tome.


Cai Guo Qiang, “Heritage” (2013) PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS
Cai Guo Qiang, “Heritage” (2013) PHOTO COURTESY OF PHAIDON PRESS

Photography by: Courtesy of Phaidon Press