Top critical review
Be careful - you can't see the artwork
Reviewed in the United States on November 19, 2021
My bad for not listening to some of the other critical reviews - I bought both the 'Great Paintings Explained' and 'How to Read Paintings' and first off: all the pics are in black & white!! which is nuts - how can you appreciate an artists great use of red/gold/highlights/shadow when everything is in grey scale? Not that you call see much detail, anyway - the books are 6x9" and the page margins mean every pic is about 4x5.
Regarding the written content, I think Great Paintings Explained is a better book because it explains more of the historical aspect of the painting: explains the myth, story, legend that's being depicted and often info about models used by the artist - I'd keep this book if the pics had been in color but it's just too annoying to read about "...her blue eyes wide and....flushed red cheeks" and see'em in grey.
How to Read A Painting is way too much, I think, of the author telling us what we should feel about the painting, the author is sharing with us what he thinks the artist might mean, how the author interprets symbols or passion in the pics...I'd rather hear the artists' actual words or at least the consensus from art historians.
So all in all...disappointing, better to have charged more & presented better quality illustrations.