I was reading Hegel's Intoductory Lectures on Aesthetics, and he writes that works of art communicate man's spiritual being into a concrete object. Then I remember someone telling me that man's conception of himself can be seen and traced through his art. I've tried mostly to avoid art because I'm convinced that I wouldn't know what I'm looking at, but I'm intrigued by this thought.
Sorry, I cannot help you with a single book. I have read books that explore the relationship to art and concurrent changes in society and science during periods of time - e.g. Impressionism and Cubism.
However, I do really want to encourage you in this exploration. I did not really start studying art until I was 50. I played the piano as a child, and did some photography but otherwise had little contact.
Art teaches you about the nature of feeling.
When I dance (Latin, Swing, etc.), sing, draw, it is all about what is coming from inside. There is very little thinking and the thinking normally only happens at the beginning when you are learning. After that, it all comes from the spirit within you. So, it is all about nurturing the creative side of life, and it does create a whole different being within oneself when that side begins to emerge. It also creates a whole new perception of life.
So, by all means! I am sure you will enjoy it reading about it - and then try it!