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What can an art object tell us about its meaning today and at its execution? Can we 'read' artefacts to find out why they were made and for whom? What do they reveal about their context and how has their value changed over the years? Understanding Art Objects presents thirteen essays written by teachers and consultants at Sotheby's Institute addressing these exact questions. Each essay focuses on a single work, ranging from the 1st-century Jenkins Venus to Teresa Margolles' 127 Cuerpos, demonstrating Sotheby's theory of object-based learning in action. The contributors ask their readers to approach an artwork by looking at the work and identifying what is particular to it, and then assessing how it compares with other objects and what its condition tells us about its history. Only then is the discussion widened to consider the object's significance in an art-historical narrative. The texts are all written to appeal not just to the scholar, the professional and the connoisseur interested in evaluating art but to anyone curious as to what objects mean and represent. This collection of essays offers lively and insightful comments on a perpetually topical field, and as such is an invaluable learning resource.