Splat!: The Most Exciting Artists of All Time

Image of Splat!: The Most Exciting Artists of All Time
Author(s): 
Release Date: 
May 2, 2016
Publisher/Imprint: 
Thames & Hudson
Pages: 
96
Reviewed by: 

Children learn to navigate technology early on these days and have the ability to access information online. Book learning is less common and encyclopedias are extinct. Author Mary Richards has put together an art history book for children 10 to 13. Splat! The Most Exciting Artists of All Time, in format and editorial approach, is an engaging art history discussion with a contemporary feel that may well capture a young reader’s interest.

Richards’ information focuses on 20 iconic artists who were chosen for their pioneering creative vision and technique: Michelangelo, Seurat, Rousseau, Kahlo and Pollock to name a few. She chronicles the history of art from the 1500s through the late 20th century. Early artists are noted not just for their works, but also their role in society as reporter/storyteller/historian and royal documentarians.

Over time, artists’ role in society evolves to outcast as their creative fire and interest in individual exploration both in subject and method question traditional practices. In addition to featuring examples of each artist’s work and technique, Richards considers the prevailing social climate and underscores the enduring mode of artistic expression contributed by each artist.

A reason to buy this book for your 10 to 13 year old rests in the disarming format. Splat! lays out like a graphic novel, a format that appeals to this age group. Each author discussion is conveyed in text boxes that deliver easily digested morsels of information about the artist, the big idea, challenges, background, and creative technique. The text includes multiple explorations of the art itself.

Even the title Splat! has a seductive buzz. Editorially, Richards strives to portray the real impact that artists have on each other as well as the world around us. A child who is given the opportunity to explore this book will gain an enriched appreciation of art history and may perhaps be inspired to explore his/her own creative aptitude.