Art Day by Day: 366 Brushes with History (Hardcover)

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Art Day by Day: 366 Brushes with History By Alex Johnson Cover Image

Art Day by Day: 366 Brushes with History (Hardcover)

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From the entry for today, January 11th: "Perhaps the best day of my professional career came on 11 January 1985, when in less than eight hours, I recovered three stolen objects: a Roman head of Socrates, worth $50,000; a 19th-century French painting, worth $12,000; and an Italian masterpiece by Bernardo Bellotto in the 18th century, worth $400,000. I went out by myself, in a little hatchback car, and seized the goods from three separate locations. It was pure joy, like hitting three home runs." -- Charles Koczka, an art dectective.

Read it this one straight-through or read an entry each day. It's a delight either way.

— From A Painting Is Silent Poetry: Art & Artists

A daily almanac that presents a selection of art historical events for every day of the year, from momentous and headline-grabbing to intimate, amusing, and illuminating.


Taking a novel approach to the history of art, Art Day by Day aims to change the pace at which the story is told. Presenting snapshots of the most exciting, unusual, and noteworthy art events from around the world and throughout history through direct testimonies, eyewitness accounts, and contemporary chroniclers, this volume is a unique look at the past.


Drawing on articles, diaries, interviews, letters, speeches, transcripts, and more, Art Day by Day offers an important event that happened on that day in the history of art. Here are the stories of famous paintings, ancient sculptures, comic strips, photographs, murals, manifestos, and marriages, from terracotta soldiers to a self-shredding Banksy.


Each day has its own section, starting with an extended quote giving artists, critics, and commentators their voice to speak directly to us, followed by a brief explanatory text, and ending with other important events in art on that day such as births, deaths, and exhibition openings. Not every entry is momentous, but each one is significant. Yes, there are thefts, murders, artistic mishaps, and eureka moments, but there are also episodes such as President Theodore Roosevelt’s doodles, Michelangelo writing to his nephew about his kidney stones, and Monet getting the green light for his water garden. Every day has a story to tell.


An informative overview of culture throughout the ages, Art Day by Day is as enlightening as it is entertaining: the perfect armchair companion and reference for art lovers everywhere.



Alex Johnson is a journalist and writer. A regular contributor to The Independent, he also runs the popular design and lifestyle blogs Bookshelf and Shedworking. He has written several books, including Bookshelf and Improbable Libraries.
Product Details ISBN: 9780500023648
ISBN-10: 0500023646
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication Date: October 26th, 2021
Pages: 480
Language: English