People sometimes question why they should travel through the walls and annals of a university to earn a degree in Art History.
Still, studying the history of art is a more important means of preserving and remembering important events in history and keeping our past, even with the changes that occur with technology and humanity, and studying art history is a fantastic way to grasp these happenings.
With such, this begs the question, “why is art history important in the first place?”
Many have forgotten the importance of knowing the past in understanding the present and foreseeing the future. Art represents both and contributes to a culture's idea of itself. Learning the history of art shows us how individuals saw themselves and their surroundings and how they wanted to express it during their generation for future generations to see.
Accordingly, being an artist does not mean that you should only spend your time creating different types of art. To be able to improve your creativity and skills, you need to learn not just technical concepts but also art history. Art history is more than a collection of different pieces of art ranging from visual arts to literature, among others - it's a live, course of study that will improve your life in ways you never imagined.
So, if you wanna know more about this area of study, it’s important to know what it's all about, keep on reading this article to know more!
Art has existed since the beginning of man because art imitates life. It was utilized in prehistoric days to worship the gods, intimidate rivals, coerce citizens, distinguish between different civilizations, and even for personal and commercial motives.
Most pieces of art have a personal history behind them, and while the common eye simply enjoys the beauty, an artist would take the time to see the essential elements of it – why was it created in the first place? Such a question is what art history is all about. With that, you can see why art history is even more important than all.
What is Art History?
Before we learn about the reasons why art history is important, let us know first what art history is in the first place. Well, art history is more than just a subject, and it is not a typical history subject that we have encountered in school.
Art History is a formalized profession concerned with the aesthetic and scientific investigation of the historical evolution of artworks. It includes an aesthetic and contextual examination of fine artifacts from another age, delving into the questions about the artist, the date and time of the creation, and the interpretation of the artwork.
Accordingly, the representation of the historic timeline of art is an interesting subject because it offers a unique view of history by actualizing some amount of clarity of history, making the writings or verbal narratives more meaningful to witness and view for full appreciation of our past.
Why is Art History Important?: Different Reasons Why You Should Study the Artworks of the Past
1. Art history expands our understanding of the past:
Connecting to our roots and ancestors helps us feel grateful and appreciate what we have today. Moreover, art history provides a tool for us to comprehend our human past and its link to our present. History in general is an important aspect of humanity, and that is why it is also necessary to study and learn from it.
Just like learning about history, art history is studying the progress and development of human civilization from the earliest recorded artworks. In this field, we look at human culture on a different strand – the innovative and creative side of humans since time immemorial.
2. Studying art history allows you to explore other fields than art:
Art history not only allows you to learn different art forms such as painting, sculpture, literature, and architecture, but it also allows you to have an understanding of different fields like anthropology, social science, politics, and other fields of humanities, even sciences, and mathematics. Everything is related to art.
As a discipline in its own right, the broad scope of art history also meets the aspirations of budding experts while also providing a strong foundation for those who wish to engage in other disciplines. While many of our majors go on to work in museums, galleries, arts reporting, or academia, many others have successfully used the skills they learned in art history classes in professions in commerce, political science, and international affairs.
Let’s not forget about the skills you can improve: studying art history teaches you visual interpretation, communication skills, and analytical skills.
3. Art history offers a different view of history, without providing disinformation and bias:
In the age of technology and social media where fake news and misinformation are more prevalent than ever, we tend to think that the history presented in scholarly books and articles, which are often portrayed as ugly, is hard to believe.
There are some kinds of truths that are inconvenient for some to believe so they tend to think it’s fake or misleading. However, one of the reasons why art history is important is because it offers a different perspective: that there is also something beautiful in our ugly history.
Where Can You Learn the History of Art
The best place to study art history firsthand is through museums because that's where you can see relics, artworks, and masterpieces known in history. Moreover, most museums allow you to have a historical walk-through of the pieces with short descriptions of the history, context, and important facts displayed beside the art piece.
While art history is a subject in most liberal arts courses, some schools and universities offer art history as a stand-alone discipline so that you can have a comprehensive understanding of art and history combined.
Some exhibits offer a solo exhibition of a past artist’s masterpiece and a walk-through of an artist's life to help you know more about not just the artwork, but also the creator behind the art.
Another way to learn the history of art is by reading books. There are so many collections in the library to help you learn more about the past and the significant artworks and art movements that shaped a particular era.
We hope that this article engages you to learn about art history to improve your creativity, broaden your understanding of culture, and develop your love for the arts and beauty even more. Start by reading art history books and don’t forget to visit museums either on-site or online. Remember, the more you know, the better!