W. Janson said “instead of adding to the illusion of real space, it strengthens the unity of the actual painted surface.” Impressionist paintings typically depict landscapes, portraits, still lifes, domestic scenes, daily leisure and nightlife, all treated in a realist manner. Compositions were often based on unusual perspectives, appearing spontaneous and candid. The paintings were usually void of didactic, symbolic, or metaphoric meanings, and rarely addressed the biblical, mythological, and historical subjects that were so highly regarded by the academies or the darker and psychological interest explored by the symbolist. The nuances of light, shadow, atmosphere, and reflections of colors from surfaces were examined, sometimes emphasizing changes of these elements in time. It was art for art’s sake, an idea that had been floating around for a few of decades but it perhaps reached a new high and consistency in impressionism.
By the time the 90s hit, art movements became less defined and somewhat unusual, almost as if people had run out of names. Net Art, Artefactoria, Toyism, Lowbrow, Bitterism, and Stuckism are some of the styles of the decade. And though it’s still new, the 21st century has its own Thinkism and Funism to enjoy. They include those of prehistory to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the nomadic tribes. It also includes the work found in classical civilizations like the Greeks and Celts as well as that of the early Chinese dynastiesand the civilizations of the Americas. Art historical scholarship depends greatly on the broad experience, intuitive judgment, and critical sensitivity of the scholar in making correct attributions.
You’ll learn about the history of art and to think critically about its development and effects, examining the social history of art in a challenging and thought-provoking way. You’ll also consider some of the theories and approaches, from aesthetics to anthropology, that can help us to interpret works of art as well as understanding different contexts of its display. We do not take for granted that ‘art’ has been understood in the same way around the world through time. The admissions process consists of two interviews, one with the Director of Studies in History of Art, who will usually be accompanied by another specialist member of staff, and one with the Admissions Tutor or other non expert academic. Beforehand, applicants will be asked to send in two essays of their choice written for their A-level subjects or other comparable school exams.
The art of ancient and medieval Central Asia reflects the rich history of this vast area, home to a huge variety of peoples, religions and ways of life. The artistic remains of the region show a remarkable combinations of influences that exemplify the multicultural nature of Central Asian society. The Silk Road transmission of art, Scythian art, Greco-Buddhist art, Serindian art and more recently Persianate culture, are all part of this complicated history. Central Asia has always been a crossroads of cultural exchange, the hub of the so-called Silk Road – that complex system of trade routes stretching from China to the Mediterranean.
- You can read more about the career options open to you on our dedicated Visual Cultures careers page.
- Our first-year modules enable you to examine changing conceptions of art and the artist, historically and also in terms of context, ideas, and kinds of practice.
- Attribution plays a key role in art historical research, because when one art object can be conclusively authenticated , other works of a similar or closely related character can be grouped around it and assigned to that particular artist or period.
- The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time.
This promise of the truth seems to imply that painting has something akin to a philosophical or ethical dimension. The course will be concerned with examining points at which painting and philosophy come into contact . Several broad themes will be seen to recur throughout our discussions, concerning spectatorship, optics, the theorising of practice, problems of explanation and interpretation, and the relationship between painting and language.
Nicolas Poussin was the artist whose works and theories played the most significant role in the development of academism. The vales of academism were situated in the centre of the Enlightenment project of discovering the basic principles and ideals of art. From the mid-eleventh to the early thirteenth centuries, Romanesque paintings were two-dimensional, defined by bold, linear outlines and geometry, particularly in the handling of drapery; symmetry and frontality were emphasised. Virtually all Western churches were painted, but probably only a few wall painters were monks; instead, itinerant artists carried out most of this work.
Most art historians working today identify their specialty as the art of a particular culture and time period, and often such cultures are also nations. For example, someone might specialize in the 19th-century German or contemporary Chinese art history. Romanticism emerged in the late 18th century and flourished in the first half of the 19th century with significant and international manifestations in music, literature, and architecture, as well as the visual arts. It grew from a disillusionment with the rationalism of 18th century Enlightenment.
Starting in the late 1850s, several of the impressionists had made acquaintances and friendships as students in Paris, notably at the free Académie Suisse and Charles Gleyre’s studio. In 1874 they formed the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs, independent of the academy, and mounted the first of several impressionist exhibitions in Paris, through to 1886 when their eighth and final exhibition was held. Important figures in the movement included Frédéric Bazille, Gustave Caillebotte, Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Armand Guillaumin, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. Although impressionism was primarily a movement of painters, Degas and Renoir also produced sculptures and others like Auguste Rodin and Medardo Rosso are sometimes linked to impressionism. By 1885 impressionism had achieved some prominence, and yet a younger generation were already pushing the limits beyond impressionism. Artist from Russia, Australia, America and Latin America soon adopted impressionist styles.
Together they developed much of the vocabulary that continues to be used in the 21st century by art historians. “Iconography”—with roots meaning “symbols from writing” refers to subject matter of art derived from written sources—especially scripture and mythology. “Iconology” is a broader term that referred to all symbolism, whether derived from a specific text or not.