Whenever I travel to a European country I usually purchase one of Rick Steves’ guidebooks. Rick is America’s most trusted travel authority. His website, television shows, and books are fabulous resources, especially when traveling to a country or particular city in that country for the first time. His company offers European group tours as well.
I was delighted to review Rick’s new gift book, Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces: Art for the Traveler. Rick co-authored the book with Gene Openshaw, who has co-authored more than a dozen Rick Steves books and specializes in writing walks and tours of Europe’s cities, museums, and cultural sights.
A giveaway for Rick Steves Top 100 Masterpieces: Art for the Traveler
I’m even more excited to be able to host a giveaway for the book. In fact, the publisher, Avalon Books was super nice and provided me with two extra copies. Yes, yes, yes, two lucky winners will receive a copy. Read below for details to enter.
A gift book for art lovers
This book arrived just at the right time. As you may know, I’ve been facing health issues and haven’t been able to travel the past six months. But with Rick’s new gift book, I felt like I was sightseeing all around Europe as I read about each masterpiece. The first thing I did was see how many of Europe’s top 100 masterpieces I have experienced in person. My count was only 20! That means I have a great deal more traveling to do in my lifetime.
I wasn’t a big art lover when I was a kid. Were you? Yet, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for art and the history behind it. When I travel, I enjoy going to museums and other historic venues. And I really like when tour guides, as Rick says, ” share a favorite piece of art, make it meaningful, and make it fun.”
Rick says that “You don’t need to be a scholar to get excited about art. But the more you understand the context in which a work of art was created — what was going on at the time, the patron’s agenda, and the artist’s goal – the more you can enjoy it.” That’s exactly what Rick and Gene reveal in this book.
A grand tour of Europe through its artwork
The 200+ page paperback includes a chronological history of Europe’s masterpieces from pre-history and Ancient Greece and Rome to the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras, ending with 19th and 20th century art. It’s a treat to learn about the history of famous statues like the 3000 year old Bust of Nefertiti, the Greek Artemision Bronze of Zeus (or was it Poseidon), and Michelangelo’s David. There are interesting essays on European landmarks like the Roman Colosseum and Pantheon, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral (sadly this was written before the fire) and Eiffel Tower, and Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona.
Many of the essays feature background on prominent paintings by celebrated artists — Velazquez’s Las Menina, da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Monet’s Water Lilies, Picasso’s many styles of art, and Van Gogh’s life in paintings. Ooh, ooh, ooh, one of my favorite museums is the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. I never made it to the Rijksmuseum while I was in Amsterdam to see all of Rembrandt’s paintings — definitely adding it to my post 60 travel bucket list!
Watch videos of European masterpieces
According to the book’s introduction, as a bonus, many of the masterpieces are featured in short TV clips, excerpted from Rick Steves’ Europe public television series. With the Rick Steves Classroom Europe program, you can enjoy short segments that give context and dimension to the art.
Enter the giveaway for Rick Steves Top 100 Masterpieces: Art for the Traveler
I could go on and on about Rick Steves Top 100 Masterpieces: Art for the Traveler, but I’ll end here so you can enter the giveaway. Remember, there will be two lucky winners. To enter, leave a comment about what European art is your favorite OR what European art you dream of visiting during your life after 50 OR enter the Rafflecopter below.
May your holidays be filled with unique and memorable moments just like these top masterpieces.
So far, I’ve only visited Paris and Heidelberg. Next fall, I’ll be visiting Tuscany. I look forward to consulting this book before I land in Florence — can’t wait!
Kim, there is so much art to see in Florence. Hope you are a winner of the book.
I really liked seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence. The sculptor is so life like and beautiful.
It was fun to see it with you. I remember waiting on the long line in the rain.
the Mona Lisa
What a beautiful book! I have a lot left to see, but I did love the statue of David in Florence and a wonderful assortment of other works by Michelangelo.
Pam, there is so much to see and this book is a great introduction and guide to the masterpieces. I loved seeing the David too.
I’d like to see Water Lilies by Claude Monet in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris
Cynthia, I really like Monet paintings too. I’d love to go back to Provence and see where he painted.
There is a nice collection of some gorgeous Water Lilies, on display at the Art Institute of Chicago. 🙂
I was able to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam several years ago. I would travel just about anywhere to see a special Kandinsky exhibit!
Ann, I loved the Van Gogh Museum. I would visit it again.
The coliseum in Greece. It’s not traditional art per se. However, its art in my mind with the architecture. How amazing is it, that after all these hundred of years it still stands.
Elicia, it is truly amazing to think how old the Coliseum is in Rome and is still standing.
I would like to see the art work at the vatican
Cyndi, the Vatican is also a magnificent place filled with paintings. It’s nice to go on a tour there to better understand the works of art. This book also is a great resource.
I love this whole concept, because our travels are largely centered around art, history, and culture. Travel stories via art and museums make so much sense. I’d love to review this book for our readers, too.
Kristin, yes, this book is a wonderful resource for European travel.
What a wonderful idea for a book. Can\’t believe I\’ve missed this one. It would make a perfect holiday gift. Includes many of my favorite artists and museums.
Sue, the book was just published recently so I don’t think it’s been in circulation for that long.