Hey! Everyone - the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a load of free art/art history books

This is very much going to be a rabbit-hole. I haven't even got round to scrolling yet because I was instantly drawn in by "The Academy of the Sword" which contains illustrations/excerpts from books about fencing and duelling.

This book has a few really cool examples of sword handles at the end too, this is my favourite/reminds me of a model of the solar system (which I just found out/have re-learned is called an 'orrery')

I'm gonna continue linking books from here, partly to share but also as a means of listing ones that I want to dip into later. This one looks like it's rammed with amazing art/photographs/architecture/history
"Al-Andalus - The Art of Islamic Spain"

Okay, I wasn't sure if this one would be up my alley, but a quick scroll revealed this image, so it's now earned a place on the list

"The Age Of Napoleon - Costume from Revolution to Empire: 1789-1815"


Oh nice - they have a book of John Singer Sargent's drawings/watercolours. There were a bunch of his watercolours on display here last year (I think at Dulwich gallery?) But I missed out on it.
It's fun to see stuff different to the slap-and-dash oil portraiture he's known for. It also seems to contain some details, with detailed write-ups about techniques etc.

Okay, here's two boring books. BUT, you know, this kind of crap makes good reference for backgrounds etc. I generally let my imagination do most of the work, but whenever I work from reference I feel like I've added to the visual library in my head - and it feels rewarding in that I learn something to appreciate the detail in something a little more.

This book sounds like it'd be uninteresting, but it's rammed full of pretty great reference material and interesting designs!
"American Musical Instruments"

There's some really cool fashion/textile design in this - it's also picture-heavy/looks like a short read!

"American Ingenuity: Sportswear, 1930s–1970s "

This is a pretty varied and vast collection of patterns and designs. I'm looking forward to consuming this. For a couple of the family quilts (I think that's what they are?) they have digrams showing who did what part. Family quilts are not something I've ever really thought about before.
"American Quilts and Coverlets"

Huh, I've just learned that Ancient Cypriot art is underrated. I enjoy the pots/little figures especially.
"Ancient Art from Cyprus: The Cesnola Collection"

This one seems to be quite in-depth about the historical/cultural context of the pieces, so likely worth reading too. I like this jar - I feel like I don't often see insects depicted in ancient art?

"Ancient Peruvian Ceramics"

Okay, back to putting these books on my 'to-read' thread -
This one has loads of gorgeous stuff that appeals to my inner Magpie. It's a shame it's in black and white, but I'll take it.

'Ancient Egyptian Jewellry'

This one looks genuinely interesting, but even if it didn't, I'd read it anyway just so I can bore people at parties by endlessly talking about 'Ancient Egyptian Representations Of Turtles'

How do you make a horse even more TERRIFYING? How about cladding it in METAL.
There are some amazing designs (and photographs!) in here

"The Armored Horse in Europe, 1480–1620"

picture of axe-gun 

For the most part, a list of mini-bios of Puerto-Rican artists, as well as writing about their earlier stuff. Also! There's a side by side translation in English/(presumably Puerto-rican) Spanish
( @Sajarina /anyone else learning Spanish, you might find that useful/interesting!)

"The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico: Pre-Columbian to Present"

More European armour (plus more horse armour) and sword hilts, this book has looads of that. Including hilts similar to that swept hilt i posted yesterday!

The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor

Holy crap, loads of beautiful illuminated manuscripts. I just came across a bit of script here which I'm in love with (pictured, along with something more representational of the book's content)

"The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry "

This one naturally is all about the incredible helmet designs
(it's not, there's a bunch of other stuff in there, but that's definitely the highlight)

"Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156–1868"

Okay, this one looks like I might find it interesting. I'd actually love to learn Mandarin (or some other Chinese language) but I know it's something as I'll never do as I already struggle with German and Swedish, despite both being heavily related to English.
It's a bit interspersed with other stuff, but there's a lot about Chinese writing in here, so I should enjoy it.

"Beyond Representation: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, Eighth–Fourteenth Century "

Nearly skipped past this, but glad I didn't. Lots of really beautiful reliefs on stones and marble. For some reason I find these really evocative (again, may be the inner magpie)

"Cameo Appearances"

Okay, MORE sword stuff. (once I get through these, I can compile seperate posts/lists of things by genre!)
These are mostly text-and diagram (from 1929), but seem pretty simple/fun to read!
Also, check out those buttocks.

"Catalogue of European Court Swords and Hunting Swords"
"Catalogue of European Daggers, 1300-1800"

Mostly pictures of chess pieces, but some of different baords too. A incredible variety of styles!

"Chess: East and West, Past and Present. "

Played on this chessboard yesterday that my friend had bought from Mombasa. I'm in love with how it looks, though I got pretty confused by what pieces were what

Constantly delighted by the stuff I'm coming across here. Here's something I see a lot but don't think about much. This'll likely be one of the ones I actually read rather than just scour for pictures. Focuses on all kinds of elements, big and small, schematics etc.

"A Chinese Garden Court "

Again, an old book - shame it's not in colour, but sometimes there's some value in being denied that and focusing on form instead. Either way, it's got some a neat guide (I think.) to various symbols.

"Chinese Textiles: An Introduction to the Study of their History, Sources, Technique, Symbolism, and Use "

Another really fun find. Total nursery colour-pallette overload

"Choirs of Angels: Painting in Italian Choir Books, 1300–1500 "

Not generally the kinda thing I read, but probably interesting/is short enough.

Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color

More amazing Chinese art - specifically landscapes here. But! It also has a bunch of colophons, which are beautiful in their own right (pictured)

"Cultivated Landscapes: Chinese Paintings"

Varety of styles quite different to the usual traditional Japanese art you might see - cultivated from a particular/distinctive style called 'Rinpa' (which I think was originally was a school of art, then later used as a general term? I'll have to read it to find out)

"Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art"

Holy crap, look at this stuff. There are some amazing patterns, figure-based and sceneic pieces in here. Some of the patterns and scenes are ludicrously detailed.

"Early Indonesian Textiles"

Mostly what you'd expect, but also contains this fantastic unfinished piece of an astrological chart

"Egyptian Wall Paintings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Collection of Facsimiles"

Well, obviously I'm gonna link this Chinese poetry + art COMBO

"Eighteen Songs of a Nomad Flute: The Story of Lady Wen-chi. A Fourteenth-Century Handscroll"

I thought this'd be boring, but something about the relentless comibinations of night-time blue and gold + jewels etc really appeals to me. Also, a good reference for treasure chests!

Enamels of Limoges, 1100–1350

@sajan this is great! I always end up on youtube for ref's of this kind of stuff and this looks more useful

@comicsbyemily It's know right! I love that this one in particular is also a book about books, so hopefully some of these are gateways to even more fun material

@sajan thank goodness for digital archives and people being willingly to make out of print stuff free! ⭐

No worries! It's too vast a resource not to share

@katwylder Same! It was actually had to pick images to post here whilst skimming it - there's a bunch of really cool stuff in there. These lil' friends earned their spotlight though

@sajan I would love to put that on my horse, he would look like a badass chicken nugget

@emelie How about a badass chicken nugget with a limited but slightly psychedelic outlook on the world

@sajan I've been looking for something to protect him from flies during summer, and this seems perfect! 👏

picture of axe-gun 

picture of axe-gun 

picture of axe-gun 

@guephren I know right! I'm still on the "B" section of books, I hope there's a bunch of cool Calligraphy books when I get to C

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