What is art history?


Art history is one of many approaches to study art objects. The goal of art history is to understand the meaning of art in its original cultural context, both from the point of view of the creators of art, including sculptors, painters, architects and patrons, and from the point of view of the original consumers. Understanding of a piece of art often requires a lot of work that includes detailed and thorough investigations of the time period, region, cultural and ethnic values and so on. This work becomes much harder if a piece of art has been created a long time ago, in societies and regions very different from our own. In art history, a work of art is seen as a part of culture that embodies the values, goals, and aspiration of its creator, its time period and place of origin.

For art historians analysis of a work of art begins with the following kinds of research: analysis of physical attributes, assessment of the structure, both visual and formal, identification of the subject or of the symbolism present in the work of art and a study of integration of the work of art into the cultural context.