Sir Ernst Gombrich
This book is a classic in the field. It's a small format book that's easily readable and has over 400 color illustrations. With so many pictures the amount of reading you have to do is small! This book is available at most bookstores, public libraries and the DePaul Library. To see edition options for this book CLICK HERE. Here are links for some of the various formats:
16th edition, new, paperback (about $25)
Pocket edition, new, paperback (about $17)
Used book, any edition ($4 on up)
The only content difference is that the older editions tend to have fewer color illustrations, and more black and white images. But all of my video lectures display all images in color so the lack of color images in older editions is of no concern for your learning. The Kindle edition however, which was released in 2017, is really substandard! I bought a copy as soon as it was offered to check it out and I find that the illustrations are of extremely bad quality, almost illegible. I'd recommend any of the printed editions as used books over that Kindle version--the text is quite readable, but you'll really struggle with the horrid image quality! Spend a few dollars more and get a used book shipped in, or even a new copy, which is a tremendous bargain for the content! Note added 8/12/2017: I can't locate the Kindle edition on Amazon anymore, I think they withdrew it because it was so shoddy!
This book is not your "traditional" college textbook, a fact for which you should be grateful. The book was written for a mass audience by one of the most renowned of art historians, the late Sir Ernst Gombrich. The chapter titles, placement, and content have remained the same across all editions.* The series of video lectures I created for this book are required viewing and are all accessible on YouTube all the time, are thus are ideally suited to any edition of this book. When you order a used book you often have little control over what edition is supplied. In this case, what edition you use really doesn't matter, because in the case of this book, all editions are essentially the same!
* Typical college textbooks are "updated" to a new edition as often as yearly to move material around to kill off the used book market by making older editions inconvenient to use. That's not the case with The Story of Art. Quite happily the late Sir Ernst Gombrich was not seeking maximum royalties with that shady technique and the publisher was interested in educating people rather than maximizing profit. The Story of Art has remained stable in content over the years; each newer edition simply presented more of the example artwork in color. Access the assigned Story of Art reading in your copy of it by chapter number as I refer to it in the "Required Viewing" area (scroll down) on the Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, and Unit 4 course web pages, where you access my video lectures chapter by chapter!