Before We Begin

As we get ready to dive into the wonderful world of art and all the history attached to it, it is important to remember a few things. Not all art from regions are the same just because they’re from the same time frame. Art historians have often categorized art based either on the area it was from, or the era it was made in. If we look far back enough, artists obviously did not have access to the resources we have today. By this I mean not only were they often limited or cut off from certain materials (based on their local resources), but they could also be limited to their sources of ideas. New styles and technologies of art were constantly evolving, but it sometimes took years for that information to pass on to a nearby nation. From an Art Historian’s standpoint this can get a bit messy. I find it easiest to look at one culture at a time. Then when you compare cultures it is easier to see their influences on each other. The more you study, the easier it will be to see the crossing over of ideas and modifications made as a concept travels across borders. A great example of this is the portrayal of the Buddha. As the religion, Buddhism, spread across countries each region tweaked the artistic portrayal of the Buddha to better fit their understandings of him. However he gradually changes, there are still iconographic hints that clearly mark him as the same leader.

My plan is to focus each entry on a specific culture, artist, museum, piece of art, or era as to avoid confusion. I am inviting any appropriate comments or questions on my entries and welcome any chances for me to further research a topic in order to settle someone’s curiosity. Art History has shaped our world and I want to help introduce you to the beauty of it.

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2 thoughts on “Before We Begin

  1. Clio Ancient Art and Antiquities

    Very well said. To elaborate on your point, people often think of all Roman art, for example, as shiny marble and fluted columns. But if one lived in in a market town in Roman Britain or on the eastern frontier in what is now Iraq, the architecture might have been mostly local flint or even mud brick on stone foundations. And common objects such as pottery, jewelry and clothing accessories, etc. might have been made in long standing local traditions but in Roman forms, and often of alternative materials (iron instead of bronze or gritty low fired clay instead of burnished high fired ceramic, for example). I look forward to your explorations and your posts. Cheers!

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