Arts & Photography Criticism: Top 10 Books

Arts & Photography Criticism

by Alex Finley

Arts & Photography Criticism: An introduction

Diving into the world of arts and photography criticism can be both enlightening and transformative. The right book can offer profound insights, elevate your understanding, and inspire your creative pursuits. In this guide, we’ve curated the top 10 books that are essential for anyone passionate about art and photography. From deep dives into the works of legendary artists to critical perspectives on contemporary practices, this list will help you navigate the rich landscape of art criticism. Each selection is backed by reputable sources and reviews, ensuring you get the most valuable and insightful reads available.

10. Origami Paper 500 sheets Cherry Blossoms 6″ (15 cm)

Author: Tuttle Studio
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7 out of 5 stars)
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This book isn’t just about folding paper; it’s about appreciating the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms through the intricate art of origami. With 500 sheets and 12 different patterns, this collection provides a tactile way to engage with art and design.

9. The Ghost Army of World War II

Author: Rick Beyer
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
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Rick Beyer’s captivating narrative details the ingenious deception tactics used during World War II. This book is a fascinating exploration of art used as a strategic tool, making it a must-read for those interested in the intersection of art and history.

8. Beauty and Imitation (Arts & Photography Criticism)

Author: Daniel McInerny
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7 out of 5 stars)
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Daniel McInerny’s work delves into the philosophical aspects of beauty and imitation in art. This book challenges readers to reconsider their perceptions and offers a profound understanding of what constitutes true beauty in artistic endeavors.

7. The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7 out of 5 stars)
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While traditionally a treatise on military strategy, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is also a masterpiece of philosophical insights that can be applied to art and photography criticism. This ancient text offers timeless wisdom on strategy, perception, and execution.

6. Jean-Michel Basquiat. 40th Ed.

Author: Eleanor Nairne
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.9 out of 5 stars)
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Eleanor Nairne’s comprehensive look at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work is essential for understanding one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. This edition captures the raw energy and profound impact of Basquiat’s art, making it a vital addition to any art lover’s collection.

5. Ways of Seeing

Author: John Berger
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.4 out of 5 stars)
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John Berger’s Ways of Seeing is a seminal work that has influenced generations of art critics and enthusiasts. Based on the BBC television series, this book challenges conventional perceptions and offers new ways of understanding visual culture.

4. Monet. The Triumph of Impressionism

Author: Daniel Wildenstein
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7 out of 5 stars)
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Daniel Wildenstein’s exploration of Claude Monet’s work provides a thorough and captivating account of the artist’s journey and the development of Impressionism. This book is a visual and intellectual feast for anyone interested in this pivotal art movement.

3. Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern

Author: Mary Beard
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.6 out of 5 stars)
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Mary Beard’s scholarly yet accessible narrative traces the depiction of power from ancient Rome to modern times. This book is a fascinating study of how imagery and art have been used to convey authority and influence throughout history.

2. The Work of Art: How Something Comes from Nothing

Author: Adam Moss
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7 out of 5 stars)
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Adam Moss offers a deep dive into the creative process, exploring how artists transform ideas into tangible works of art. This book is both inspirational and practical, providing valuable insights for artists and critics alike.

1. New Essential Guide to Hong Kong Movies

Author: Rick Baker
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.7 out of 5 stars)
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Rick Baker’s guide to Hong Kong movies is an indispensable resource for film enthusiasts and art critics. This book covers the vibrant and dynamic world of Hong Kong cinema, offering in-depth analyses and captivating behind-the-scenes stories.


Exploring the world of arts and photography criticism through these top 10 books can significantly enhance your understanding and appreciation of the field. Whether you’re an aspiring critic, an art student, or a seasoned enthusiast, these books provide invaluable insights and knowledge. Dive into these carefully selected works and let them inspire your next artistic journey.

Check out other Top 10 lists about Art History & Criticism!


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