Art history is the study of art in its historical context. This includes the study of artworks, their origins, meanings, and purpose. Art historians often use a variety of methods to examine art, including visual analysis, iconography, and art criticism. The field of art history has a long and rich history itself. Early art historians were often also artists, and art history has traditionally been part of the humanities. In recent years, art history has become increasingly interdisciplinary, incorporating methods and theories from a variety of fields, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
The discipline of art history can be traced back to the origin of the modern university. The first art historians were often also artists or philosophers, and the field of art history has traditionally been part of the humanities. However, in recent years, art history has become increasingly interdisciplinary, incorporating methods and theories from a variety of fields, including psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
One of the earliest art historians was Ernst Kris (1902-1957), who argued that art history should be “the history of art and ideas about art.” Kris emphasized the role of psychoanalysis in understanding works of art, and he is credited with coining the term “iconography” to refer to the study of the symbolic content of artworks.
Another early art historian was Aby Warburg (1866-1929), who is best known for his work on the history of art and culture, particularly in the Renaissance. Warburg developed the concept of “the floating signifier,” which posits that artworks can have multiple meanings that are not fixed but rather change over time.
Heinrich Wölfflin (1864-1945) was another important early art historian. Wölfflin is credited with developing the field of art history as we know it today. He emphasized formal analysis, the study of the formal elements of artworks such as line, color, and shape.
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was a German politician and dictator who is best known for his role in World War II. However, Hitler was also an art historian, and he used art to further his political goals. For example, Hitler commissioned the construction of the Nazi party headquarters in Munich, which was designed to resemble an ancient Greek temple.
Kenneth Clark (1903-1983) was a British art historian who is best known for his work on the history of art in the Renaissance. Clark was also a broadcaster and writer, and he presented the BBC television series Civilisation, which was hugely popular in the 1960s.
Ernst Gombrich (1909-2001) was an art historian of the 20th century who is best known for his work The Story of Art, which has been translated into more than 30 languages and is still in print today. Gombrich was a prolific writer, and his work spanned a wide range of topics, from the history of art to the philosophy of perception.
Michael Baxandall (1933-2008) was a British art historian who is best known for his work on Renaissance art. Baxandall’s book Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy is considered a classic in the field. Baxandall was also a renowned teacher, and he held positions at several prestigious universities, including the University of Oxford and the Warburg Institute.
T. J. Clark (b. 1943) is a British art historian who is best known for his work on 19th-century French art, particularly the paintings of Claude Monet. Clark is also a political activist, and he has been involved in several socialist organizations.
Simon Schama (b. 1945) is a British art historian and writer who is best known for his work on the history of art and culture. Schama is a prolific writer, and his work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is also a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and the BBC.
Anne Hollander (b. 1930) is an art historian and critic who is best known for her work on the history of art and clothing. Hollander’s book Seeing through Clothes is considered a classic in the field. Hollander is also a painter, and her work has been exhibited internationally.