Art History and Art Appreciation

Art is both a record of the past and a living form of artistic expression today. By examining the context in which material art objects, such as paintings, sculptures, and architecture, were made, it is possible to increase our understanding of the people and the cultures that produced them. Study and discussion of artworks can make powerful connections to our lives and to civilizations past and present.

Art History is a continually-evolving academic discipline in which creative masterpieces made by diverse civilizations, throughout history and across the globe, are studied for their artistic and historic value. Art historians ask critical questions about art and society, explore a broad range of interpretive and theoretical methodologies, and employ valuable research and communication skills to express their ideas and subject knowledge.

Art Appreciation is a process of learning to see, a methodology which relies on developing an appreciation for and understanding of both the materials and processes utilized in the creation of artworks, and the context in which they are created. This method of active looking encourages a deeper understanding of how artworks are composed to convey specific concepts or meanings, and the ways in which the work may be informed by art history or societal circumstances. Art Appreciation allows for the development of personal taste through active exploration while simultaneously fostering strategies for deriving meaning from complex visual materials.