Art books on my bookshelf Saveria Torquato

Art Books on My Bookshelf

"A room without books is like a body without a soul," wrote Cicero.


I love books of all kinds. Every room in my house has books in it. I consider each book I have a small treasure, but my art books are particularly dear to me.

I’d like to share some of my finds that have inspired me through the years. I consider them real gems that I’ve found in different places and at different times in my life.

The subject matter is varied, but they’re all beautiful books, enticing to the eye and captivating to the soul.


1.   The History of Art, Painted by Marcello Jori from Rizzoli Publishers
      An artist’s fascinating history of art, beautifully illustrated and handwritten.
      It’s a work of art in itself.

History of Art Marcello Jori

2.   Raphael
      Phaidon’s classic illustrated monograph on Raphael. A magnificent study of
      Raphael (Raffaello), one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance.

Raffaello Sanzio book

3.   Maiolica: Italian Renaissance Ceramics in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

      Details the history of Maiolica, a major aspect of Italian Renaissance art. From
      the collection at the Metropolitan Museum.

4.   Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature from Orca Book Publishers
      A naturalist and painter, he is one of Canada’s most famous painters. Seeing his
      paintings as a child inspired me to to want to draw and paint.

Robert Bateman art book

5.  The Art of Robert Bateman  From Viking Canada (AHC)
     This was the first book to be devoted to Robert Bateman's work, published
     in 1984. His wildlife art holds a special place in my heart.

6.   Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743
      from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
      A collection of every painting and fresco on display in the Uffizi, the Galleria
      Palatina of the Pitti Palace, the Accademia, and the Duomo. This is a large,
      comprehensive book in stunning beautiful colour.

Florence book on paintings and frescoes

7.   The Magic of Monet’s Garden from Firefly Books
      Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, created a spectacular five-acre garden
      that he considered to be his greatest artistic achievement. This is truly a book
      for daydreaming. The colours will inspire you.

Magic of Monet's Garden book

8.   The Horizon Book of the Renaissance from American Heritage Publishing
      This is a classic for anyone interested in Italian Renaissance art.

9.   Van Gogh's Letters: The Mind of the Artist in Paintings, Drawings,
      and Words, 1875-1890  from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
      This is a collection of the many letters that Van Gogh wrote to his brother,
      Theo, as well as other artists. It also features more than 250 of his works.
      A fascinating look into the life of this enigmatic artist.

Van Gogh's Letters book

10.   Deruta: A Tradition of Italian Ceramics from Chronicle Books

        Details the design and evolution of the famous ceramics of Deruta, Italy,
        This art form dates back to the Renaissance and its pieces call to mind the
        Italian countryside.

Book on Deruta Italian Ceramics
11.   Italian Renaissance Maiolica  from V&A Publishing
        You can see why these pieces were so prized in the Italian Renaissance.
        The colours are amazing.

Italian Renaissance Maiolica book

12. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson
      If you love reading biographies, then this one should definitely be on your list.
      Masterful telling of the life of Leonardo. 

Leonardo da Vinci biography

As I mentioned, I have many books, so I’ll compile a second list in the future with some of my other favourites on art and creativity.

I hope these will serve as inspiration to you.

Happy reading…and viewing!

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