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Art History Research Paper

1341 words - 5 pages

Art HistoryPeople do not often interchange the concepts of history and art. Most think of art, quite correctly, as tangible objects people can see and touch. They tend to think of history as the record and interpretation of past human events, more closely, the social and political actions and events. People can't of course, see or touch history's intangible human events of the past, but, a visible and tangible art work is an event that is somewhat immortal. Even if the creator or origins of a work are a mystery, the art itself lives on as a surviving and present, if not living account, of the past. And so, one way to bring out great potential in the task of accounting and recording history is to use the tool known as art to help.Art historians study the visual and tangible objects humans make and the structures humans build, as opposed to art critics who study the visual quality and tangible aspects of art.(Gardner 4) They traditionally have classified such works as architecture, sculpture, pictorial arts (sketching, painting, or photography), and the craft arts, which are also known as the arts of design (ceramic and metal wares, textiles, or jewelry).(Gombrich 5) Artists of every art911613 2form have blurred the boundaries between these categories, but this is especially true today when multimedia works are in abundance. (Gardner 1)This brings light to another fact in the topic of art history. The range of objects art historians study is constantly broadening, and now they include computer generated images, whereas in the past, almost anything produced by a machine would not have been regarded as art. (James Elkins) Most people still think of performing arts as outside the realm of art history, because these arts are temporal, rather than static and spatial media. (Gardner 3) Recently, even this distinction between fine art and performance art has become skewed. Art historians, however, generally ask the same types of questions about what they study, regardless whether one employs and expansive or restrictive definition of the term "art". This is a good example of how art may mean deferent things in deferent places and times. (Gardner 1)Many prejudices exist about art as well as art history, though there are no wrong reasons for liking a piece of art. One may like it because it brings back fond memories, or it contains a favorite color. Yet as an art historian, this same approach to art can not be taken to art in a negative way. Disliking that same work for the same superficial reasons does not look the art work's artistic qualities. Also, if a project is judged on it's artistic quality, and the art historian ends up not liking it, one should still remember that the art work may be enjoyed my many others.(Gombrich 1)911613 3Many art historians when creating a history on the basis of art ask several questions. For one, how old is it? This answer is found by looking at things such as, documentary evidence. For example, a document commissioning a...

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