Art history is the study of works of art in the context of the time period in which they were created. This genre of study explores the development of painting, sculpture, multimedia, and other visual art forms through time. Art historians do more than work with timelines of various works of art—they study the trends, stylistic choices, and imagery that defined the art of different periods of time. When you study art history, you're also analyzing the concepts of beauty and aesthetics as they change and develop over time. Because the visual arts are reflections of the times in which they appear, art history ties in with the general study of history. Art historians can see what artists had to say about the events that characterized the time when they lived by analyzing their works.
Studying art history is important because it helps you understand art more clearly and unlocks knowledge of historical periods more than just studying people, dates, and events can. It's a helpful and enlightening companion to the study of historical facts and events. Art history examines how creative minds sought to portray their understanding of the world in their time, and your study of art history can help you grasp how artists viewed their past, what they thought about their present, and what they guessed about the future. You can gain a better idea of what artists wanted future generations to know about that period in history, and art history can deepen your understanding of history in general. Additionally, the study of art history can help you develop better critical thinking skills, particularly when it comes to visual cues.
When you study art history through online courses on Coursera, you can gain knowledge of how artists thought and worked throughout various periods. Online courses help you explore subjects like the artistic design of cathedrals, the secrets of medieval illuminated manuscripts, and the styles and techniques of postwar abstract painters.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.