An Introduction to Art History

Written by Accessible Art History.

The study of art history is the study of human creation. Since the dawn of time, humanity has felt compelled to express themselves. By studying works, we can come to understand the past in an intimate manner.

Everything is represented: events, trends, beliefs, etc. Most importantly, by understanding our past, we can also understand our future. To help learn about art, there are six key terms art historians use to flush out details. They are as follows: 

Composition: Elements of design, representation, and presentation that form the work of art.

Context:  The subject matter of the work of art, i.e. religious, mythological, narrative.

Form: How the physical and visual parts of the work come together.

Function: The purpose of the work

Material: What the work is made of, such as paint, marble, wood, etc.

Perspective: What viewpoint the artist intended the work to be seen from.

By figuring out these six terms as they relate to a particular piece, art historians have been able to unlock meaning for every type of human creation. It really is that simple! 


About the Author

Analisa founded Accessible Art History in 2019. Not only does this allow her to explore her passion for the subject, but she uses it to connect with other history lovers and spread knowledge!


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the InFocus History website or its editors.

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