Charles Saumarez Smith in The Times
Constantly alert visual intelligence... I kept on admiring how well Bell writes about even quite familiar periods of art... I would recommmend the book extremely strongly for all the purposes for which it was intended.…

Richard Cork in The Guardian
An admirably stimulating, even heady experience... a desire to escape provincialism and encompass the full diversity of art on a global scale... [His] disarming directness gives his book an irresistible appeal.,,2212240,00.html

Peter Campbell in the London Review of Books
Julian Bell has written a tremendous history of art... He tells the history of art from a maker's point of view... Clarity and a wonderfully sustained faculty of response... A willingness to postulate inner experience, to allow emotional engagement....

Edmund Fawcett in RA Magazine
Dazzling aplomb... The writing is economically brisk... He points us to the big picture with close shots, not tiring pans... He is particularly strong on working processes... Without replacing it, Bell complements Gombrich's book [The Story of Art].…

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto in The Art Newspaper
A highly original style - arresting and sonorous, yet intimate and confiding. He has a gift for concise description, yet brims with engaging opinions.His book would [serve as] a bedside companion for anyone who does not mind getting too interested to sleep.

David Carrier in The Burlington Magazine
Compulsively quotable... marvellous cross-cultural connections... chock-full of remarkable descriptions... Unlike most academic writing on art, Mirror of the World is great fun to read. 
The Burlington Magazine, 2oo8: 150, pp. 121-122

Julian Freeman in The Art Book
Highly accessible without in any way being patronising... Somehow, nothing jars, which is quite an achievement, given the scope of Bell's canvas... A vital, speculative publication... deserves the broadest, most considerate readership.
see The Art Book, vol 14, no. 4, Nov 2007, pp. 50-52

Ed Voves in the California Literary Review
Bell succeeds to an extraordinary degree in giving a balanced assessment of the global history of art... His insights are always fresh, fair and expounded with vigor and charm. A book of great relevance for a new century still searching for its own vision.


Alastair Sooke in the New Statesman
The stop-start approach, cherry-picking objects made in unrelated cultures, can feel frustrating... But fast-forward several centuries and Bell warms up, injecting even the most tired and over-familiar passages of art history with energy and wit...


Martin Gayford in the Daily Telegraph
A desperate attempt to cram it all in... like being whipped through world culture by a charming and self-deprecating guide, who nonetheless always has his eye on his watch.

James Fenton in the Times Literary Supplement
Too much fine writing... [and] waffle. Bell is at his best as a rather sober writer, less good when the text betrays its origins in a series of art-school lectures. 
see TLS, 18 January 2008, pp. 12-13

Jackie Wullschlager in the Financial Times
Pedestrian writer... competent, uninspired plod... politically correct... soft, chatty, ingratiating style... Few books take so long to say 'I don't know.'…