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Why Are Pictures So Powerful?

Pictures reach audiences more directly than text alone. They communicate the author’s tone and approach to the subject, and enhance our understanding and enjoyment of the text. Illustrations explain complicated ideas at a glance and even teach those who cannot read.

Why Do Books Include Pictures?

Pictures add beauty, color, and life to the printed page. They engage us, prompt our imagination, and appeal to readers and non-readers alike.

Explore the power of pictures through these examples from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ collections in science, history, and art.

Additional Resources