The Art Pack

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The Art Pack: a Unique, Three- Dimensional Tour through the Creation of Art over the Centuries: What Artists Do, How They Do it and the Masterpieces.
By Christopher Frayling, Helen Frayling, Ron Van Der Meer

Much more than a book, this new guide-cum-portable-art-optics-centre takes the reader on an absorbing, hands-on tour of Western art -- with pop-ups, pull-outs and models. An informative text by Christopher and Helen Frayling has been transformed by `paper engineers’ Ron and Atie van der Meer. They have taken their cue from the world-wide popularity of pop-up books and interactive science centres to come up with a novel and engaging approach to introductory art appreciation. The Art Pack succeeds because it provides a modicum of learning with a maximum of audience participation.

From the very first pages, the reader is irresistibly drawn into the fun of rediscovering various artistic and optical inventions. Like the Italian Renaissance architect, Alberti, you can solve the problems of perspective using Alberti’s veil and a pop-up perspective viewer. You can also study light with a camera obscurer and a Claude glass -- inventions which led to the discovery of photography -- or create animation with a phekistiscope. Stick-on elements allow you to take apart and recompose a painting by Leonardo, or to create a collage with Matisse as your guide. A lavishly illustrated background history explains `how and why’ artists through history have used colour, line, perspective and optics. There is also an A-Z listing of art terms, an `art movements’ chart and a taped commentary on the authors’ choice of the world’s `Twenty Greatest Paintings’.

The Art Pack is hard to put down once opened. But it can also be dipped into selectively as a reference source on such topics as light, motion and proportion. Students (about 12 years and older) and teachers should find it a useful aid -- not just in art classes but also for some aspects of geometry, history and science.