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Among the first art objects are decorative artifacts from Middle Stone Age Africa. Containers have also been found in from that period in South Africa that may have been used to hold paints dating as far back as 100,000 years ago. The best-known Prehistoric artworks are the large Paleolithic cave paintings that depict animals in continental Europe, particularly the ones at Lascaux in the Dordogne region of France. Several hundred decorated caves are known, spanning the Upper Paleolithic period (c. 38,000–12,000 BC). There are examples in Ukraine, Italy and Great Britain, but most of them are in France and Spain. Many theories have been suggested about the art’s purpose, the most accepted being that it was part of religious rituals, possibly to evoke hunting success.

Art created in the modern era, in fact, has often been an attempt to generate feelings of national superiority or love of one’s country. Russian art is an especially good example of this, as the Russian avant-garde and later Soviet art were attempts to define that country’s identity. While personal reminiscences of art and artists have long been written and read , it was Giorgio Vasari, the Tuscan painter, sculptor and author of the Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, who wrote the first true history of art. He emphasized art’s progression and development, which was a milestone in this field. His was a personal and a historical account, featuring biographies of individual Italian artists, many of whom were his contemporaries and personal acquaintances. The most renowned of these was Michelangelo, and Vasari’s account is enlightening, though biased in places.

  • International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year.
  • Its sites span an area stretching from today’s northeast Afghanistan, through much of Pakistan, and into western and northwestern India.
  • Examples of graduate destinations include a Getty Collections Management Internship in the USA, and curatorial or administrative posts at Dulwich Picture Gallery, Handel House and the Design and Artists Collecting Society.

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from the expertise of your tutors. These will include lectures, seminars, screenings, tutorials, workshops and field trips. You’ll also be able to attend talks by visiting artists and speakers, as well as workshops, conferences, exhibitions both on and off campus. Compulsory modules will deepen your understanding of the complex relationship between art and society, and encourage you to think critically and analytically about works of art. If invited for interview, applicants will also be asked to sit a one-hour writtenadmissions assessment.

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The history of Art focuses on objects made by humans for any number of spiritual, narrative, philosophical, symbolic, conceptual, documentary, decorative, and even functional and other purposes, but with a primary emphasis on its aesthetic visual form. Visual art can be classified in diverse ways, such as separating fine arts from applied arts; inclusively focusing on human creativity; or focusing on different media such as architecture, sculpture, painting, film, photography, and graphic arts. In recent years, technological advances have led to video art, computer art, performance art, animation, television, and videogames. These skills are all appropriate to careers in museums and galleries as administrators or curators, as artists or art historians/ theoreticians, in journalism and the media, teaching and research and the commercial world. Indeed, many of our alumni are active in the contemporary art world, whether working for major art and cultural institutions, or having set up cultural initiatives of their own. You can read more about the career options open to you on our dedicated Visual Cultures careers page.

Vasari’s ideas about art were enormously influential, and served as a model for many, including in the north of Europe Karel van Mander’s Schilder-boeck and Joachim von Sandrart’s Teutsche Akademie. Vasari’s approach held sway until the 18th century, when criticism was leveled at his biographical account of history. Art historians also often examine work through an analysis of form; that is, the creator’s use of line, shape, color, texture and composition. This approach examines how the artist uses a two-dimensional picture plane or the three dimensions of sculptural or architectural space to create their art. The way these individual elements are employed results in representational or non-representational art.

In the absence of sculpture, Byzantine artists specialized in 2-D painting, becoming masters of panel-painting, including miniatures – notably icons – and manuscript illumination. Their works had a huge influence on artists throughout western and central Europe, as well as the Islamic countries of the Middle East. Like all craftsmen of the Mediterranean area, the ancient Greeks borrowed a number of important artistic techniques from their neighbours and trading partners. Even so, by the death of the Macedonian Emperor Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, Greek art was regarded in general as the finest ever made.

Despite being one of the longest continuous traditions of art in the world, dating back at least fifty millennia, it remained relatively unknown until the second half of the 20th century. The Warring States period was ended by Qinshi Huangdi, who united China in 221 BC. Another huge project was a predecessor of the Great Wall, erected for rejecting pillaging tribes from the north. After the death of the emperor, his dynasty, the Qin (221–206 BC), lasted only three years.

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The caves at Ajanta, Karle, Bhaja and elsewhere contain early sculpture, often outnumbered by later works such as iconic figures of the Buddha and bodhisattvas, which are not found before 100 AD at the least. You’ll choose from a range of optional modules to focus on topics that suit your own interests. These include studies of ancient Greek art, African sculpture, Japanese photography and Hollywood film, as well as contemporary art practice and art gallery and heritage studies. We will link historical markers to recent audio-visual practices, which respond critically to social, political and audio-visual forms of governmentality defining our contemporary moment. Examples will include diverse global perspectives and those circulating within and across art, cinema and activist context. This degree encourages you to develop an independent critical involvement with works of art and visual culture, to examine changing historical conceptions of art and the artist, and to explore the visual arts in their wider cultural and political contexts.

History Of Art

Conceptual artists promote the art of ideas, or concepts, suggesting that they can be more valid in the modern world than technical skill or aesthetics. No matter the art media of an artwork, it is considered as no more than a vehicle for presenting the concept. At its most extreme, Conceptual art foregoes the physical object completely, using verbal or written message to convey the idea. The High Renaissance took place in the late 15th-early 16th centuries and was influenced by the fact that as papal power stabilized in Rome, several popes commissioned art and architecture, determined to recreate the city’s former glory. The most famous artwork of this part of the Renaissance is probably the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Gothic painting, much of it executed in tempera and, later, oils on panel, as well as fresco, and with an increasingly broad palette of secondary colours, is generally seen as more ‘naturalistic’ than Romanesque.

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