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Heritage trail;Secondary;Reviews;Books;Subject of the week;Music and the arts

UNDERSTANDING ANDINVESTIGATING ART. By Rod Taylor. Hodder amp; Stoughton with National Gallery Publications. pound;14.99.

In this richly illustrated volume for secondary schools, Rod Taylor takes as his premise the right the national curriculum has given all pupils to an art education. He then calls on more than 100 carefully chosen examples from the European tradition to help them exercise this right.

Although his enterprise is founded on the cultural heritage part of the art curriculum, Taylor is keen to encourage pupils to use the ideas and techniques of the artists' work discussed.

The book is divided into six themes - the human figure, environments, flora and fauna, events, fantastic and strange, the abstract. Each theme is given a contextual introduction and each related high-quality colour reproduction is framed by a series of pointers, questions and ideas for pupils' own exploratory work.

This admirable collection is a joint publication and so it is no surprise that works from the National Gallery predominate.

However, they are complemented by some less familiar examples of world art from the British Museum. Rod Taylor has given secondary art departments an invaluable resource for GCSE and A-level with the potential to inspire at key stage 3.

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