ASPECTS OF ART
Every work of art has two aspects: it is a present experience as well as a record of the past, and it is valued, preserved, and studied for both identities. As present experience, artworks afford people the pleasures, the tensions, the dramas, and ultimately the satisfaction to the senses of pure formÑin the visual arts the relationships among colors, lines, and masses in space.
Art History and Its Methods
The meaning of the word art, derived from the Latin ars, meaning "skill," has changed through history. In medieval Europe, proficiency in the "liberal arts" was the goal of an educated person; only by the 19th century did the word come to denote painting, drawing, sculpture, graphic arts, and decorative arts. A distinction then arose between artist and artisan, the latter denoting a skilled manual worker, the former connoting capacity for imaginative invention. Although the arts may be taken today as comprising the musical and verbal as well as the visual, art or fine arts is usually assumed to mean the visual artsÑpainting, sculpture, architecture, and, by extension, printmaking, drawing, decorative arts, and photography.
The concept of a history of art is relatively recent. In the mid-16th century Giorgio Vasari compiled information about Renaissance artists' lives and works in Lives of the Artists. Modern art history may be thought of as beginning in the mid-18th century with Johann Joachim Winckelmann, who applied a conception of history as cyclical to what remained of the art of ancient Greece and Rome. From the philosopher G. W. F. Hegel onward, much of the theoretical support of art history was supplied by German historians and philosophers. Heinrich Wlfflin provided, in the early 20th century, a technique for... [continues]
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