"The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists: Seventh Edition (Dictionary, Penguin) (Paperback): Art Education for the Non-Artist
I am a writer, not an artist, and thoroughly appreciate "The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists" by Peter and Linda Murray.
Though a dictionary, I am using it as a primer. While I am aware of major movements, schools and the artists, and, of course, the most major of works, there is so much I missed that I am reading now. Getting deeper into Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh is a must, as is learning about Dada (I am glad that never stuck).
As I read other materials in my attempt to acquire and bone up in all the arts (music, literature and the visual arts), this is becoming a strong tool for cross-referencing periods in artistic development, especially from a Western hemisphere perspective.
Each entry is encyclopedic, not like a dictionary. There are no etymologies or pronunciation help, just definitions.
What pleases me most is that I understand what I am reading. Lacking the rich artistic vocabulary is no problem. Everything is explained intelligently, simply but not superficially.
I fully recommend "The Penguin Dictionary of Art And Artists" by Peter and Linda Murray.