Creation: Art Since the Beginning


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John-Paul Stonard

Hardcover | 19.43 x 4.06 x 25.17 cm | 464 pp

Bloomsbury | 2021 | 9781408879689

A fully illustrated, panoramic world history of art from ancient civilisation to the present day, exploring the remarkable endurance of humankind's creative impulse.

Fifty thousand years ago on an island in Indonesia, an early human used red ochre pigment to capture the likeness of a pig on a limestone cave wall. Around the same time in Europe, another human retrieved a lump of charcoal from a fire and sketched four galloping horses. It was like a light turning on in the human mind.

Our instinct to produce images in response to nature allowed the earliest Homo sapiens to understand the world around them, and to thrive. Now, art historian John-Paul Stonard has travelled across continents to take us on a panoramic journey through the history of art – from ancient Anatolian standing stones to a Qing Dynasty ink handscroll, from a drawing by a Kiowa artist on America's Great Plains to a post-independence Congolese painting and on to Rachel Whiteread's House.

Brilliantly illustrated throughout, with a mixture of black and white and full colour images, Stonard's Creation is an ambitious, thrilling and landmark work that leads us from Benin to Belgium, China to Constantinople, Mexico to Mesopotamia. Journeying from pre-history to the present day, it explores the remarkable endurance of humankind's creative impulse, and asks how – and why – we create.


'Stonard traverses the sweep of human history, moving between cultures and hemispheres ... His book consists of myriad flashes of brilliance and inventiveness' LITERARY REVIEW

'A worthy and richly illustrated successor to Ernst Gombrich's fabled The Story of ArtSUNDAY TIMES

'This bountifully illustrated book is a history of connections ... Lucid and thoughtful' COUNTRY LIFE



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