Book Shorts

A book of art history brain teasers that will help you to while away your leisure hours

Test your knowledge of much reproduced works of art and see how little you know

Basawan and Chetar Munti, Akbar’s Adventures with the Elephant Hawa’i (around 1590-95) Courtesy of the publisher

This book quizzes the reader on 36 old chestnuts of art dating from a second millennium BC Egyptian papyrus to the childish scribbles of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Botticelli’s Primavera, Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage, Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne, Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, Manet’s A Bar at the Folies Bergères, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Picasso’s Guernica, etc, etc. (But where is that cliché of clichés, the Mona Lisa?). Some tacitly acknowledge current multicultural and transnational concerns, such as the inclusion of Basawan’s and Chetar Munti’s scene from Akbar’s Adventures with the Elephant Hawa’i (around 1590-95), shown here) which somehow seems to me to lack “instant recognition” status. Each picture is accompanied by three sets of questions: about the picture itself, about relevant general knowledge, and a couple of “find the detail” picture puzzles. The book has been compiled by Susie Hodge, “with over 150 books published”, and Gareth Moore (distinguished throughout by his title), a puzzle setter, the two of whom I imagine, spent all of a couple of evenings with a bottle of wine to put the book together. This is the perfect loo book or stocking filler. (Mercifully the answers are included at the back in the same format as the question pages. Do you know in which Spanish region Miró grew up? Catalonia, but of course, you knew that all along.)

  • Susie Hodge and Dr Gareth Moore, The Art Puzzle Book, White Lion Publishing in association with the Quarto Group, 194pp, £14.99, $19.99 (pb)