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Learn from the Masters:

Gotz Adriani, et al

This magnificent book presents a rich selection of Renoir's major works from throughout his fifty-year career. The book discusses Renoir's development as a painter, the unique methods of his genius, and his importance as a leading artistic personality of his era.

What Painting Is:
How to Think About Oil Painting, Using the Language of Alchemy
James Elkins

In What Painting Is, James Elkins communicates the experience of painting beyond the traditional vocabulary of art history. Alchemy provides a magical language to explore what it is a painter really does in the studio - the smells, the mess, the struggle to control the uncontrollable, the special knowledge only painters hold of how colors will mix, and how they will look.

The Art of Impressionists: Painting Technique & Making of Modernity
Anthea Callen

This magnificent book is the first full-scale exploration of Impressionist technique. Focusing on the easel-painted work of Monet, Pisarro, Renoir, Cezanne, Cassatt, Morisot, Caillebotte, Sisley, and Degas in the period before 1900, it places their methods and materials in a historical perspective and evaluates their origins, novelty, and meanings within the visual formation of urban modernity.Drawing on scientific studies of pigments and materials, artists' treatises, colormens' archives, and contemporary and modern accounts, Anthea Callen demonstrates how raw materials and paintings are profoundly interdependent. She analyzes the material constituents of oil painting and the complex processes of "making" entailed in all aspects of artistic production, discussing in particular oil painting methods for landscapists and the impact of plein air light on figure painting, studio practice, and display. Insisting that the meanings of paintings are constituted by and within the cultural matrices that produced them, Callen argues that the real "modernity" of the Impres- sionist enterprise lies in the painters' material practices. Bold brushwork, unpolished, sketchy surfaces, and bright, "primitive" colors were combined with their subject matter-the effects of light, the individual sensation made visible-to establish the modern as visual.

Michelangelo: The Frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
Marcia B. Hall

Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel-the great glory of Vatican art and one of the most treasured masterpieces of Western painting-provide a visual feast for art lovers in this magnificent, affordable new book. Presenting a complete survey of the restored Sistine Chapel frescoes from Creation scenes to the Last Judgment, the book includes a new text by a prominent American scholar. The stunning photographs, previously published by Abrams in two separate volumes, show brilliant details... read more

Sister Wendy's Story of Painting
Wendy Beckett, Patrica Wright
(Second Edition)

For those who've enjoyed the original, the good news is that the new edition of The Story of Painting has grown by more than 300 pages of photographs --magnified close-ups of details from nearly half the 450 paintings in the book. Fauvist paint strokes become mighty slabs; sparkling light on a Dutch still life is revealed as a series of tiny dots; the cheeks of a young man in an Italian Renaissance portrait betray a touch of five o'clock shadow. This kind of close looking is seductive, and it's an important part of Sister Wendy's direct, unpretentious approach to art.

More Great Titles:

The Big Book of Oil Painting:
The History, the Studio, the Materials, the Techniques, the Subjects, the Theory & Practice of Oil Painting
Jose Maria Parramon

The Best of Oil Painting
Tom Nicholas(Compiler), John Terelak (Compiler) 

Mary Cassatt Oils and Pastels : Oils and Pastels
E. John Bullard, John Bullard  

The Painted Sketch : American Impressions from Nature 1830-1880
Eleanor Jones Harvey

Martin Johnson Heade; A Survey: 1840-1900
Barbara Novak, Timothy A. Eaton (Contributor)