Talk:History of art

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Defining art[edit]

For this page, how broad of a definition of "art" is acceptable? Should we include theatre and music, for instance? Until more discussion on the subject is held, for now I'm goign to assume that "art" means painting, sculpture, and other forms of direct visual representation. --Alex S 17:20, 30 Aug 2003 (UTC)

As the page says, the phrase "art history" is normally used in reference to the visual arts (which, as that page says, is normally taken to excluse theatre), and I think that's what we should stick to here. Stuff about the history of music can go on history of music, on theatre to history of the theatre and so on. --Camembert
Oh, yeah. Feel a little stupid for not noticing that. Anyway, the reason I brought it up was that someone put links to "History of Theater" on the "See Also" section and I was wondering where that came from. --Alex S 19:57, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The current article has a bias towards Visual arts. This article should be a representative expansion (from a historical point of view) of the Art article, which means all art forms have to be included. Brz7 12:15, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
I majored in Art History as an undergraduate. My course of study included drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, and architecture. Apl1 14:00, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. seems to be a bit of cross purpose talk here that might be useful in clarifying what this page is about. There is a subtle difference between the terms 'Art History' and 'History of Art'. Art history is an academic discipline which studies, theorises and codifies the History of Art. The History of Art is the output of art historians. To confuse the two is equivalent to considering 'music' & 'musician' to be the same thing.

This article is, or rather, should be about the latter - in other words the various threads and timelines of history concerning art (as defined by art historians and therefore verifiable). we should expect cultures and 'Isms' to be represented here. All of the content regarding the musing of art historians on their discipline and its methodologies should be on the Art History page. there we should expect to see the likes of Plato, Ruskin, Panofsky, Read etc. DavidP 23:53, 26 June 2006 (UTC) see note below under expansion

Surrealism not a movement[edit]

I am obliged to mention once again that surrealism is not an artistic movement. --Daniel C. Boyer 19:04, 3 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Sorry, but take it from a professional art historian: from the point-of-view of art history, Surrealism is, indeed, an "artistic movement."

Ok then, just to be clear on our terminology, what is an artistic movement, how does that differ from what surrealism is? -- Merphant 23:33, 3 Aug 2003 (UTC)

- Surrealists have objected to the study of surrealism as an era in art history, claiming that it oversimplifies the complexity of the movement (which is not an artistic movement), misrepresents the relationship of surrealism to aesthetics, and falsely characterizes ongoing surrealism as a finished, historically encapsulated era. ~Daniel C.

I took this out since the art history page is now something of a disambiguation page for eras of art history. I'm not 100% sure if surrealism is included somewhere in the art history pages, but if so I'll find it and tack this on to the end of the section. --Alex S 13:45, 12 Oct 2003 (UTC)

- You have to decide how you're defining "artistic movement". In terms of technical repertoire, you can define surrealism for painting, but as for a movement with a clear beginning and end, I'm not sure that the surrealist movement ever did really end. I have seen numerous surrealist artists still in exhibition, whose work overlaps continually through other surrealist artists to major surrealists like Dali.Moore850 18:07, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Surrealism is absolutely an artistic movement. It formally began with Andre Breton's First Manifesto of Surrealism, published in 1924, and evolved out of Dada. the movement and the artists in it were consciously attempting to represent real thought, using techniques drawn mostly from Freud's psychoanalysis. while there are all kinds of artists who claim to be surrealists, and the movement does still generate artists and art, within the field of art history Surrealism is a very well defined movement. also, within art history the terms "history of art" and "art history" aren't really interchangeable, they can be construed to mean very different things. if there were separate articles, both perspectives on surrealism would have appropriate places (surrealism as a movement belonging in art history, and broad categories of art belonging in history of art). [anna] 6/12/06 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Please note, a lot of the above conversation is essentially Original research. The thing to do is to find a verifiable source for any interpretation, use it and reference it. If there are conflicting sources, then they should both (all) be represented. Furthermore, Wiki does not define people or movements in terms of how they define themselves, but again in terms of verifiable references. If these exist to show that Surrealism is regarded as an art movement, then they should be used. If such references can be provided to show that Surrealism does not regard itself as an art movement, then this can be used also. Our job is to show "what's out there" and not make original definitions. Sticking to these principles cuts out a lot of needless discussion. Tyrenius 08:38, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

As Surrealism has a manifesto [1] written by Breton in 1924. I am sure that it is safe to say that it is a movement. DavidP

Concept of art[edit]

The concept of art has changed over the years, and perhaps the best, most concise definition of "art" is one that encompasses all human endeavors as "art," with the exception of actions pertaining to survival (eating) and reproduction. Thus "art", from the historical point of view, is simply a generic term for the creative impulse, out of which sprang all other human pursuits, such as science, via alchemy, and religion via shamanism.

I'm not sure about adding this into the intro. It seems like it should go more under Definition of art than art history. I made some changes and took out some of the meat. What do you think? --Alex S 22:09, 14 Sep 2003 (UTC)

See my reaction above under (Defining art). Brz7 12:16, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

questions related to Las Vegas replicas[edit]

Could people help me here a bit? Here are the questions:

  • At Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, there's this birdy, beasty, and godly gargoyles:

is this based on some Burma lore, or just some random design?


Xah P0lyglut 16:36, 2004 May 3 (UTC)

Soviet art missing[edit]

There seems to be nothing in the Art history about Soviet art (and little in Wikipedia on this subject overall), which totally sucks. I've found only the Socialist realism article. Can someone who is more familiar with the art history project structure add links (placeholders) for Soviet art in appropriate place. I may then try to fill them will some text. Paranoid 18:11, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I agree! This only reflects the general neglection of the topic in Western art theory. Although I am not overtly familiar with the project, I have added Soviet Art in the Modern Art section, and will try to fill in something, too. timo 12:03, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Organization of different periods/movements[edit]

I've idly been adding things to and rearranging things in Art styles, periods and movements. Since it at the moment seems to have as much information in its list as Art history, and certainly more than the alphabetized topic pages for the Art and Art History categories, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on what should go where. Should anything be moved here? Should anything be moved there? Should the "by name" section just maybe be used as an (incomplete) indicator for what should be alphabetized under the Art or Art History categories, and the Art styles, periods and movements page be turned into a simple timeline? And where does one define what should be varieties of "art" and what should be varieties of "art history?"--STLEric 02:58, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

You definitely would want to break down style within historical period, because the "contemporary art" period could be any number of different styles. Perhaps organizing by the main western historical periods to define time eras, i.e. Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, Impressionist, Modern, Post-Modern, Contemporary, or if that's too controversial, just do it by century. After all, it's the history of the development of various art styles that defines one arm of art history, so calling the time periods by major western stylistic developments could be confusing or insulting to non-westerners.Moore850 18:10, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

ineffectiveness of timelines in art history[edit]

Before listing the TOC maybe it would be wise to write a few words on the belief many critics have on the ineffectiveness of timelines in art history, perhaps a reference to Elkins book “Stories of Art” or something similar? 17:00, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC) Allen M. Goodman


  • Two important related topics that might be addressed in this article, regarding Western art: art patronage (and its influence on art) and the idea of highbrow vs. lowbrow art (how the distinction was created, etc.).--ragesoss 17:34, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
  • There is too much use of former/latter in the writing. Mis-used and over-used. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:27, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Art historians[edit]

Shouldn't there be a link to a list of art historians (if that list even exists, that is)? Crapple33 10:51, 21 Feb 2006 (UTC)

Probably, though if (when?) a separate page is created on art history, such a link would be better placed there. --EncycloPetey 06:44, 22 February 2006 (UTC)


We should not have voted this COTW, oops. Juppiter 09:03, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Why not? It is a very difficult subject (becuase of its breadth), but just compare the current page with the version from three weeks ago. Back then, the page was practically non-existent. --EncycloPetey 16:41, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I too would like an explanation. Your statement is very vague (to the point of being completely unhelpful) and somewhat incendiary. I agree that this hasn't been as successful as I'd hoped (though a number of editors have made some great contributions to the article, and are continuing to do so), but if anything that's an illustration of the many failures and weaknesses of the CotW and AID system, not of . We need more incentive to actually work on the articles involved, not just to vote on the ones you like and then wander off. Some CotW and AID barnstars, for starters, would be great, as a reward for people who take the time to contribute major improvements to this week's CotW/AID (though obviously non-CotW/AID barnstars can already be given to valuable editors who work on such articles!). Advertisement would also probably help bring in a boom: it's not enough just to link to this week's article on the AID/CotW page and the random userpages of those involved. It doesn't get the word out enough for successful AID and CotW to be very meaningful. -Silence 09:10, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
At the time I made the comment, I couldn't think of a thing to write and thus my only contributions were two very minor edits on this COTW. It really wasn't until the end of the week that anything of substance developed in this COTW. I was only voicing my own personal frustrations about not being able to write anything. Juppiter 23:00, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Venus Picture[edit]

Is there a picture of the Venus of Willendorf around that could be inserted into the first section of this page?

How about a series of busts (eg Nefertiti, Nero, Napoleon) that could illustrate how cultural styles are distinctive despite commonness of form? --EncycloPetey 16:43, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

---The comment about the Venus of Willendorf being "obviously pregnant" really has no basis, nor is this assumption given merit by a citation. As Janson's History of Art 7th edition explains, the Venus (or Woman) of Willendorf may have simply been a fertility charm, which would account for the voluptuous figure and the obviously prominent breasts and vagina. Her size, however (and for that matter, even the shape of her belly) does not immediately imply pregnancy.

art and society[edit]

If you're going to talk about how "art" is understood, I think the best way to start is to talk about the function it serves in context. I started with the three major categories of patrons: rulers, religious institutions, and the social elite, and added a note that, for most of history, that's where art was coming from. it might be useful to talk about production of art over time, and things like the French Academy. This is a huge topic, but it can definitely be broken down in helpful ways. (for what it's worth, I don't think the History of sculpture strategy is such a great one. --Cantara 03:19, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Basic structure[edit]

The simplest thing is to give a bog standard history of art. History is about time, so make it a timeline which can be followed by anyone who wants an overview of the development of world art. I have only put in suggested headings, especially for Eastern Art. There needs to be another main section under which for example Aboriginal art would fit. It makes sense to start other main articles for the History of political art, History of religious art etc.

Tyrenius 06:55, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

History of art NPOV and unreferenced[edit]

Hi, I see you have placed unreferenced and npov templates on the article, but there's nothing in talk about it. It would be useful if you could state the unreferenced material and the aspects which you consider POV. Thanks. Tyrenius 07:46, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

  • All of your additions are unreferenced, and most of the text from before your additions was unreferenced as well. There are two "further reading" links, but with such a general, major topic, it's hard to tell what pieces of the article are and aren't from which reference. Statements I found POVed (if you dispute the POV bias, which at best requires sourcing and at worst outright removal, of any of these statements, feel free to say so and I'll explain why I interpreted them as POVed) included:
  • Analysis has also grown into the "political" use of art, rather than the more naive and superficial appreciation of it simply as a wonderful creation of beauty.
  • There is always an intent and a philosophy behind art, and an effect achieved by it.
  • The reasons for art's creation and the number of its uses it are as many as the types of art that exist.
  • Most of the great traditions in art have a foundation in the art of one of the six great ancient civilizations: Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, India, or China.
  • In Byzantine and Gothic art, the dominance of the church insisted on the expression of biblical and not material truths.
  • There was no need to depict the reality of the material world
  • The physical and rational certainties of the clockwork universe depicted by the eighteenth-century Enlightenment were shattered not only by new discoveries of relativity by Einstein and of unseen psychology by Freud, but also by unprecedented technological development accelerated by the implosion of civilisation in two world wars.
  • The history of twentieth century art is a narrative of endless possibilities and the search for new standards, each being torn down in succession by the next.
  • Modernism, the idealistic search for truth, gave way in the latter half of the twentieth century to a realisation of its unattainability.
  • Relativity was accepted as an unavoidable truth
  • Furthermore the separation of cultures is increasingly blurred and it is now more appropriate to think in terms of a global culture, rather than regional cultures.
  • Religious Islamic art forbids iconography, and focuses on the holy word of God found in the Quran.
  • Additionally, your additions, though very very useful and overall a great step up for this article (which was nearly devoid of actual historic information beforehand), seem to rely overmuch on random examples. Examples, although appropriate in some situations, are generally a weak way to sell a point because they rely on the assumption that the specific example(s) chosen are the rule, rather than the exception. Examples of examples include:
  • in medieval times for example as workmanship by anonymous tradesmen.
  • During the early Victorian period, the quattrocento artists were considered inferior to those of the High Renaissance - a notion challenged by the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
  • (such as Picasso's derivation from African sculpture)
  • Thus theoretically Aboriginal art would not be better or worse
  • than Michelangelo, just different
  • from the megaliths of Western Europe
  • to the paintings of the Tang dynasty in China.
  • the considerable employment by the orthodox church in the Middle Ages
  • Soviet propaganda
  • the maintaining of social structure through eighteenth-century portraiture
  • an anarcho-religious vision exemplified by Van Gogh
  • (i.e. Zeus' thunderbolt).
  • (As you can see, most of the problem with overuse of examples is from the early part of the page, whereas most of the problem with POVed statements is from the later part of the page.) Using some examples is fine, but they should be referenced where possible (to avoid WP:NOR) and not overused, especially since which examples we use can also be considered very POVed (for example, most of your examples refer specifically to western art). Using as many examples as you did, in particular, really bogs down the writing quality and coherence to the readers we're aiming for: most readers won't understand a lot of the things you're referencing (especially when they aren't wikilinked, but even when they are), making the examples useless to the very people who most need them (i.e., laypeople, not art historians!). Your revision is a great place to start from, though. -Silence 09:06, 26 February 2006 (UTC)


I plead completely guilty to not referencing (and not wikifiying my additions). The reason for this is that I was appalled at the article to date (sorry, previous editors!) and really don't have time to spend on it, but wanted to give it a strong shape that could be used and developed by other editors. I will not be working on this article (I hope): I just chanced across it, and spent the minimum amount of time I could to achieve what I wanted, which I'm pleased Silence has called "a great place to start from". I have drawn from considerable background knowledge: but I don't have the references to hand, nor the time to dig them out.

If other editors want to keep the points in, then I'm afraid they will have to support them, if reference is required. However, several of the points raised by Silence are widely accepted in the field of art history, and I don't see that one needs a reference for saying that wheels are round. It is a given that Islamic art forbids images (see latest press coverage on the Mohammed cartoons); also that there is an intent and philosophy behind art - you can't create it without intending to and you have to have an idea of what you are going to do: that idea is a philosophical intent, whether it's to give dignity to a king, or express your angst or whatever. It is self-evident that this intent is not constant, although there is also self-evidently a constant in the desire to create art. This probably can't be referenced easily, as it is taken as a granted in the study of the subject, and, after all, Wiki reflects the nature of current ideas and attitudes.

It is basic stuff at elementary grade also that "in Byzantine and Gothic art, the dominance of the church insisted on the expression of biblical and not material truths", and "The physical and rational certainties of the clockwork universe depicted by the eighteenth-century Enlightenment were shattered not only by new discoveries of relativity by Einstein [2] [3] and of unseen psychology by Freud, but also by unprecedented technological development accelerated by the implosion of civilisation in two world wars." It may or may not be true but it is taught as truth even at school level: I've done a quick google and put a couple of references for the first part of that statement. Another standard teaching is "During the early Victorian period, the quattrocento artists were considered inferior to those of the High Renaissance - a notion challenged by the Pre-Raphaelite movement." I assume this is so widely accepted that it will not be challenged (I may be wrong). Not every single sentence can be meticulously referenced (it certainly isn't in other outstanding Wiki articles). Would a reference be needed for the fact that President Kennedy of the United States was assassinated, for example?

The examples were used not to "sell" or prove the point, but to illustrate it and, well, to give an example of it. Obviously examples have to be chosen to be typical rather than exceptions. I certainly agree with the need to present for the layperson, but I think we can assume most people have an idea of who Picasso is and what sort of work he did. There has to be an assumption of some minimal degree of knowledge.

Some of the observations about the development of Western art history were taken from an essay in this book by Charles Thomson: Ed. Frank Milner (2004), "The Stuckists Punk Victorian" National Museums Liverpool, ISBN 1-902700-27-9. The relevant section is online. [4], so if anyone wants to keep the points, that is the reference.

My main idea was to give a structure defined by a timeline. This is no doubt not the only way, but it gives a clear means of slotting everything in and links can be provided from it to other articles, which can deal with the subject from other viewpoints. The Western art section continues the timeline, and there should be a parallel one for non-Western art, but we don't have a three-dimensional page, so it's easier to subdivide into two sections, but comparisons can be drawn between them, as with Renaissance influencing Japanese art, which then influences Impressionism.

Good luck! Tyrenius 14:31, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

you are a brave person Tyrenius, first for attempting to overhaul this page, but mainly for referencing a 'stuckist' art history. you really should hang around and get involved.


Islamic art[edit]

I disagree that saying that religious Islamic art forbids iconography is a violation of npov standards. With very few exceptions (there are some), Islamic art produced in a religious context uses geometric rather than iconographic design. There might be a way to add a bit more nuance to the statement, but I don't think it's biased. --Cantara 20:51, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Simply put, iconographs are controversial. It is much easier to leave them out. The recent riots in the Middle East over American troops using (and defiling) certain images make it such. For now lets just leave them out. We can (and should) discuss the issue, but for now leave out pictures that might be found offensive. --Praedo

First of all - Iconography is the study of religious symbolism within art, not a physical representation at all . It can be applied to sculpture, petroglyphs, images, even geometrical patterns and some would say literature. As a term it doesn't denote any specific form of imagery. There really is no such thing as an iconograph except in the fictional writing of Terry Pratchett where it denotes a magic camera - which may well be controversial in Islam as I'm sure one would be anywhere.
The proscriptions of Islam regarding representation are nearly always mis-understood, or often plain wrong, due to the fact that the subject is used as a way of making the cultures of Islam seem more alien at a time when it serves political purposes to do so.
There is no authoritative banning of realist imagery in the Koran. However the debate that arose at the time of iconoclasm in the eastern church was joined by early Muslims - and they came to a different conclusion to that of the Christian church. The theological argument that in trying to represent man or animals, a person is, in a sense emulating god, is primarily a devout stance and as such it doesn't ban the representation of landscapes or plants (these don't have souls). Prior to the upsurge of fundamentalism, it was a tenet that was adhered to mainly by the mullahs and those working on holy works, such as mosques and books - the laity were not encumbered by this ban - a good example of this is the ancient Islamic tradition of painting a mural of the episodes of the Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca) on the dwelling of one who has made the trip - this is still a widespread practice that usually includes images of trains, planes, animals and the person involved often with his family. Other proof of the falsity of the proscription myth is the massive quantity and quality of the genre of Persian miniature painting.
The use of geometric forms in decoration stems from a completely different source, more of a literary and mathematical source. each geometric pattern is derived from a number grid that refers to a specific numbered passage of the koran. in theory it is possible to 'read' the various geometric patterns as actual scripture.
I agree with Cantara - this subject must be included - to exclude it would be falling into the trap of cultural specificity.
Praedo's statement that iconograph's are controversial is missing the point, in as much that any riots in the middle east are more likely to have been caused by ignorant and provocative behaviour on the part of the west, or more likely outright provocation by means of insulting the dignity of the people and the religion - It isn't the images that are controversial it is the invasion and behaviour of the occupying culture. DavidP


I'd like very much to expand this article. The only problem is that Wikipedia tends toward splitting larger subjects into multiple subjects. At the very least, the article needs to be expanded so that periods/styles like Cubism and Impressionsim have a place, maybe in a "Modernism" section. Also, more needs to be done about expanding the sections on non-Western art, and I don't see any mention of indigenous American art. Theshibboleth 09:55, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Be bold! Go for it... Tyrenius 21:55, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Tricky one isn't it Theshiboleth! It would be great to cover every twist and turn of the findings of 'the history of art' but of course it would become massive - as every culture has a valid art history. Other pages that have attempted to take a similar approach, as you mentioned, tend to get fragmented as soon as they start to concentrate on more than one orthodoxy. personally I think there is a clue in this - that goes something like this:

The history of art is an academic discipline that has its methods, famous practitioners, disputes, controversies etc. The actual histories that they produce are specific to quite finite focused areas of research - that in turn are periodically amalgamated into a massive overview (usually by popularisers rather than the historians themselves).

Although it may seem strange to suggest it - I doubt whether this article is the right place to go into specific art histories, It would seem to be a better structure to have pages devoted to say 'The history of Native American Art' and 'The history of Kathar Art' which are category linked from here. meanwhile this page will have plenty of content just describing the machinations and workings of art history as a discipline - and perhaps a very succinct overview of the general trends, without going into the massive body of findings. After all we don't expect the article on mathematics (the discipline) to contain every known sum or equation (the findings of the discipline). Just a thought. DavidP 12:21, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Having writen the above comment - I went and re-read the article to see how much of it was actually about the study of 'the history of art' as opposed to histories of art, and was suprised to find how little of what exists now is about the discipline. If I had the time right now I would quickly rework it, but I have a deadline for something else. So to give you an idea of what could, and perhaps should be on this page, i did a quick search and found this short overview (it might even make quite a good basis for the page) and guess what, not a specific 'history' mentioned anywhere.

Art History is the systematic study of artistic production through the ages. It is sometimes taught as a long slideshow with historical commentary leading up to an exam, but that is not the main point of it. Instead Art History is a way of understanding history, culture, and ourselves as well as a fascinating way of getting to know people from times gone by; by understanding where they saw beauty (or whatever they saw). Contemporary Art History deals with a lot of non-art related visual stuff as well; advertising, design, comics, architecture, pornography etc — in order to better understand our own society.
Art History as we think of it today is a young academic subject, dating from ca 1900 when education in aesthetics was broken up into several subcategories, among them musicology and Art History.
The first historic work on Art that is known is by Pliny the Elder who wrote about it among many other subjects. The first book that more systematically tries to formulate a history of the art is most likely the renaissance Italian Giorgio Vasari’s "Lives of the Most Excellent Architects, Painters and Sculptors" written in l550, that gives us information on artists and their work, some existing some mythological.
Art history as it is done today, with less emphasis on biography and the moral example of the great work of Art and more on understanding and context of artworks, develops gradually during the nineteenth century, mainly in Germany, with Winckelmann as the leading writer. Late nineteenth century was also the time when most of our large museums and collections were established — they too are part of forming the development of Art History. The nazification of Germany during the 1930’s forced many of the most brilliant art historians such as Gombrich and Panofsky (as well as other scientists and artists) to flee Germany, either to Great Britain or to the USA, and so the bring with them their way of doing Art History.
Contemporary Art History, as well as history of Contemporary Art, tends to focus on the field of Visual Culture, to study many various forms of visual communication, often with examples from both Art and less highbrow visual phenomena. Art is then seen as a special case of general visual communication. "Reading" the visual is not an easily grasped idea, we can all read books because they are written in a language we understand. Images are not written in a general language but in a very special and personal style, and need to be "read" as such. Art History knows of many techniques for doing this, among them theory of art, history of art, semiotics, psychology of perception and art sociology.
Some art historians are more preoccupied with the ever growing uses of visual devices in society and what this may tell us about the functions of this society as compared to other societies with other ways of handling the field of the visual. The most excited Art Historians talk of a paradigm shift, from Literature as the dominating cultural discourse ("the linguistic turn" ca 1950) to an "pictorial turn" that begun ca 1980 — when the debate of the post-modern project started.

I realise that the above is not usable because of copyright, originality etc, and that it also likely to be POV. but the bare bones of it gives a sense of what I was trying to say the article should be primarily concerned with. Beneath the main body could be a category list of all the millions of art histories that are the work of these art historians. the source for the extract is here [5] DavidP 12:21, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Ok so I have got it all wrong - Upon writing the post at the top of this page (seedefining art) a moment ago, I realised that the suggestion that I made in the above para is completely misplaced - this page SHOULD be about the flow of events that make up the history of art (as seen by art historians) - not about Art History which is an academic discipline, and has its own article. seems I too sometimes see music and musicians as the same thing... DavidP 00:06, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

we need two seperate articles here[edit]

Dammit, now i find out that Art History simply redirects back here - so my original point seems to be still valid - but its getting late and I've no time to do anything about it. instead ill repost the message from the top of the page as a call to have the Art History page reinstated as a article in its own right.

Hmm. seems to be a bit of cross purpose talk here that might be useful in clarifying what this page is about. There is a subtle difference between the terms 'Art History' and 'History of Art'. Art history is an academic discipline which studies, theorises and codifies the History of Art. The History of Art is the output of art historians.
To confuse the two is equivalent to considering 'music' & 'musician' to be the same thing.
This article is, or rather, should be about the latter - in other words the various threads and timelines of history concerning art (as defined by art historians and therefore verifiable). we should expect cultures and 'Isms' to be represented here.
All of the content regarding the musing of art historians on their discipline and its methodologies should be on the Art History page. there we should expect to see the likes of Plato, Ruskin, Panofsky, Read etc.

What do you think? please put your thoughts on this below. thanks.DavidP 00:16, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I have already half done this with creating Historical development of art history. You might want to rename that article Art History or keep it as it is, and link to it from a new article Art History. You obviously have a grasp of the subject(s), so please be bold! Go ahead and revamp the whole thing, as it certainly needs it. By the way, to edit Art History, click here [6].Tyrenius 01:14, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

There is a somewhat semantic differnce between the terms "History of Art" and "Art History." However, in terms of a discipline or field of study, they are used almost entirely interchangeably. This can be most easily seen by looking at a few departments in major universities around the world. Some of these will be called "Dept. of the History of Art," while others are simply, "Dept. of Art History." In practice, there is no difference whatsoever; both are full of scholars who attend the same conferences, work on the same material and utilize the same tools/methods. In essence, music/musician is perhaps not the best analogy; astronaut/space pilot may be more a propos.

Regardless of the intention for splitting the two articles, there ought to be at least a disambiguation mentioned, and I would suggest moreover that this distinction be made in the introduction of the article itself. ~T. Scott 14:03 EST, 2-13-07

BTW -- from the music side of things (and as the guy who wrote much of the current Music history article), I think this split, though painful to achieve, will be really helpful, as it has been between Music history and History of music. -- Myke Cuthbert (talk) 06:19, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
TravisNygard (talk) 17:03, 15 February 2009 (UTC) Hello all. We need to come to a consensus on how to organize the Art History and History of Art main pages. It is currently very confusing. In particular, I am concerned that on the wikipedia there is a distinction between "Art History" and the "History of Art" that neither reflects common nor professional usage. Unless someone can point to a consensus among professional practitioners--such as a statement from the College Art Association (US) or the Association of Art Historians (UK) then it is our duty to not be redefining terms. I do not believe that suchc a statement exists, nor do I see such distinction used in the nomenclature of the discipline. As evidence that these terms are the same, note that "Art History" and the "History of Art" are the titles of the two best-selling English-language Art History textbooks--which are nearly identical and refer only to the subject matter. They are Marilyn Stokstad's Art History and Anthony Janson's History of Art. We thus need a disambiguation page, much like Philosophy has, with links to at least 3 pages to help users navigate. Like the term "Philosophy", "Art History" refers to at least three things and therefore cannot be disambiguated with a single link. Specifically, it is (1) an academic practice (2) a factual subject matter and (3) an esteemed journal. The journal Art History is the official scholarly venue for the Association of Art Historians, and it is the leading art publication in the UK. My proposal is in accordance with the norms and standards of the Wikipedia. I quote "If there are three or more topics associated with the same term, then a disambiguation page should normally be created for that term." Furthermore, even if there are only two terms Art History is a case in which a mere link is inappropriate because "if there are two topics for a term but neither is considered the primary topic, then a disambiguation page is used." Quotations are from Editing Wikipedia:Disambiguation. For comparison to Philosophy, seePhilosophy_(disambiguation)
TravisNygard (talk) 17:22, 15 February 2009 (UTC) Also, I apologize for not clarifying my intent of changing this page sooner. I am indeed trying to improve these articles, and have added substantial new text and edited the old for clarity. The wikipedia, like everything, is a learning process. I have worked on articles sproadically for the past several years, so I am not entirely green. Nonetheless, there is some subtlety that takes time.

Re: History of Art vs. Art History, May I make a comment?[edit]

I believe we should respect the academic determination that all of the following, i.e. the historiography as it pertains to important figures in the persons of artists, patrons, and critics; the development of art criticism; the analysis of provenance; stylistic distinctions; and the formal content of artistic pieces;- may all rightly be subsumed under the heading of Art History. It therefore would follow that such an article would emerge; then, when too much is written, we can have a lively discussion with respect to spin-off pieces. This I believe is preferable to an atomization of information and limitless distinctions and classifications. Please let me know what you think. JLM

Oldest Ancient Art[edit]

There seems to be a small edit war beginning on what the "oldest ancient art" is. If I can interject, the problem here is really how you define when the "ancient" starts. Newgrange Ireland does predate ancient Egypt, but there are thousands of artistic works that predate the Newgrange finds (the oldest art in the world is technically from Australia.) So the real distinction is that ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia are usually considered to be the starting points of the "ancient world," while Ireland is usually left out of this discussion because Egypt and Mesopotamia are seen as having (whether or not it's true), larger, more complex societies. Essentially, someone needs a good, solid citation for this, and a better clarification on the timelines involved in this article.Chiwara 23:10, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

So few references[edit]

I notice that this article has very few references. Seeing as this is such an important topic, there should be more verification occuring, in my opinion. Please tell me what you think.

Hello, My Name Is SithMAN8 (talk) 20:37, 2 November 2008 (UTC) it is made by Sapan in BANGLADESH —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:56, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Call for References and links--Reworking Text in Progress[edit]

Hi all, I am in the process of reworking the narrative of this article. My main goal is to help people better navigate the resources on Wikipedia that are already well-developed by putting them in the broad context, as an intro page should be. I have done my own searches, but if there are particular areas that you would like acknowledged in the narrative please say so. I am also attempting to rectify the lack of references by providing a reliable bibliography. I am familiar with the literature of art history, but any additions that you suggest would be appreciated. Thanks. TravisNygard (talk) 15:36, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

As we've discussed, respect what other editors have done, before making any major changes or deletions achieve consensus first..otherwise do your best...a bibliography sounds useful..Modernist (talk) 15:42, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

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This article....[edit]

So this article is franky a mess. I am thinking about taking it up as my summer project but would love to talk with editors that are edit this frequently. There are a bunch of fundamental questions that need to be addressed, such as What should this article truly entail? should there be equal weights to all parts of the world? how should the article be set up? I have my own opinions on each of these questions but would like to know what the consensus of the current editors is. I am excited to start on this and hope others would like to help.--Found5dollar (talk) 01:56, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

There would have to be an organizing principle. The article title is somewhat ridiculously broad. Information on some parts of the world is less accessible if available at all. I think art serves different purposes in different settings at different times. My inclination would be to let that serve as an organizing principle. It is being written in English in the twenty-first century, therefore my inclination would be to allow that to serve as an anchor and an unmoving reference point for all other periods in art. All other settings in which art is practiced could be contrasted to the prevailing views in art in the present in the English speaking world. I realize there are a huge number of huge problems in that plan: there is no one understanding of the purpose that art served in the 100 years leading up to the present, and English has not served as a barrier to the predominant and prevailing ideas about art in the past 100 years. That is the best I can come up with, I just thought I'd throw some ideas out there. Bus stop (talk) 02:25, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and I don't know whether reliable sources organize the history of art that way. That might be another problem. Bus stop (talk) 02:31, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking of instead writing it in basically chronological order, and removing much of the fluff about the "Art History" field in the beginning, while taking little asides into major artworks of a period or style. I feel the article should start with the first discovered instance of humans using paint or pigment and explain each style as an extension of the one before it. I feel the article should stay to what is commonly refereed to as art (sculpture and painting) but when we reach the 20th century expand that when the inventions of photography and film happen. There also may want to be a brief mention of performance art toward the end.--Found5dollar (talk) 03:08, 6 June 2011 (UTC)
That sounds very good and sensible. I was thinking chronological too. I agree that the first examples of art are essential to such an article. I think you have expressed a good point—that painting and sculpture should be a mainstay until the 20thy century. Bus stop (talk) 03:27, 6 June 2011 (UTC)

Ok i have come up with a beginning for a layout of the article . it is below. this is very fluid and can be altered however we see fit. Look at it and tell me what you think. i will probably start re-writing the article in the next week or so.

I would note oil painting as a medium has been a thread running through a multitude of styles and over a surprisingly long period of time. I think this section of the Talk page does not need to be "hidden". Bus stop (talk) 02:50, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
This looks like some college nonsense - Have you bothered to see what articles are already being worked on? All of these subjects are being handled in depth at the respective articles. I would suggest you examine these articles in your list that I have added blue links to first before making any radical changes here. Another outline is not needed. I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the visual arts already in wikipedia before making any further moves here - any work that you do should be in the sandbox first and only moved to user space when it's ready...Modernist (talk) 03:17, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I have looked at all the articles you have linked too previously while I was creating the list. I am suggesting making this article closer to what it is called. Right now when someone comes to this page looking for the History of Art they get nothing that summarized this in a logical, understandable way. Please show me a page if i am mistaken that explains all of the major currents in art through out history in a sensible layout, because right now this article sure does not do that. There is a reason that this sizable article, at 30,750 bytes, is still rated as a start class. It is because it doesn't actually cover what it is supposed to, and there are few if any editors seriously working on it. Only 3 editors (including you) have made more that 10 edits to it, one of which had his last edit here in 2005, the other in 2007. I am not saying that each item I have written about above should have its own section and heading, it is merely an outline for styles and methods which I think the article should include. This is a very important article to the wikipedia community, and no one is working on it to make it what it should be. I am offering to spend my spare time this summer turning it into what it claims to be, a History of Art, from prehistoric times to today, because that is what I expected when I came across this page, but it is sorely lacking. What do you think this article should be? Are you happy with it as it is? It appears that a while ago the "Art History" stuff was broken off into a separate article, but alot still remains here, and just confuses the reader. It is currently about how to organize art history, but very little about the History of art itself. Why did these styles appear and what were they in reaction to? What is the great scheme of Art since the 20th century? How did inventions like photography and film change the sway of the history of art? how about the advent of religion? These are all questions that should be answered in this article but are not. I would love to have your help in fixing this article, and look forward to working with you in making this article what it claims to be.--Found5dollar (talk) 12:42, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
As I mentioned - I think you should begin in either a sandbox or create a page in your own user space - User:Found5dollar:History of Art. I think your idea is too grandiose, and my suggestion to you is to focus in detail on each section. Beginning with prehistoric cave art; through ancient civilizations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle-East, and then Eastern art, China, Korea, and Japan. The influences of utilitarian needs; the influences of religion, commerce, politics, and the exchange between cultures. As I mentioned we don't need another outline. If you really just want to write about the now - then write about Art in the 21st century...Modernist (talk) 13:49, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Pfff seriously! this article lacks alot of info, just check it out and compare it with the spanish version, what a shame. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:03, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Current version[edit]


Hello EnekoGotzon. Please go to the Talk page and ask questions about what you intend to do before making any further changes in the History of art article. I've reverted your edits, as your modifications of dated or periods (epochs) are often erroneous. Please do not change any dated or periods (epochs) without checking the cited references first. Then discuss in the talk page. Thanks for your comprehension. Coldcreation (talk) 21:11, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

I have changed some dates of the periods because they mismatch even those expressed in the corresponding articles on Wikipedia. You can check it.--EnekoGotzon (talk) 22:00, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
I know the dates don't always correspond to other Wiki articles. The important thing is that they match the references cited. Have you looked at those dates? Coldcreation (talk) 22:41, 8 August 2014 (UTC)
To date the Paleolithic, as the article does, between 25,000-8000 BCE is a big mistake; even the Upper Paleolithic dates -very broadly– between 50,000 and 10,000 BCE. I think the value of a reference depends on its veracity; true is more important than reference, specially in such basic information as the subject we are dealing with. Some errors seemed so great that I did not feel the need for further verification. Anyway, I can accept that some of my proposals were a bit fussy, and consequently, inappropriate.--EnekoGotzon (talk) 12:09, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

I again had to revert your edit. The article clearly refers to a period within the Paleolithic period extending between 25,000-8000 BCE, not the entire Paleolithic period. The sentence is thus not a mistake. It is correct. What you have written is a mistake. Coldcreation (talk) 00:46, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

Hello Coldcreation. Here are my proposals:
  • Stone Age classification –by Age–: Paleolithic {and not Upper Paleolithic}, Epipaleolithic/Mesolithic, and Neolithic—See Stone Age.
  • Paleolithic dating: from 2.6 million years ago, to the end of the Pleistocene –around 10,000 BCE– {and not 25 000-8000 BCE}See Paleolithic.
  • First tangible human artistic expression—See “Art and music” section in Paleolithic:
  1. ^ Jonathan Amos (2004-04-15). "Cave yields 'earliest jewellery'". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  2. ^ Hillary Mayell. "Oldest Jewelry? "Beads" Discovered in African Cave". National Geographic News. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  3. ^ a b Sean Henahan. "Blombos Cave art". Science news. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Human Evolution," Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007 Contributed by Richard B. Potts, B.A., Ph.D.

--EnekoGotzon (talk) 22:47, 11 August 2014 (UTC)

We are not arguing about the dates of periods, such as Paleolithic. Those are well known. What I am concerned about is the modification of dates given for the archaeological findings within certain periods (which are more specific than the periods themselves). If someone wants to know the dates of say the Paleolithic period, they can go to the article in question. This article is about artifacts and works of art produced during determined time frames. These are the dates that you have modified several times now. Do you see the difference? Meanwhile, I will look at your links. Also, I would like to have the input of other editors before you modify anything again. Thanks for your understanding. Coldcreation (talk) 21:32, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

About Cogul image accuracy[edit]

The Spanish summary of the "File:Cogul HBreuil.jpg”, shown in the Neolithic section, and captioned as Cave painting at Roca dels Moros, in El Cogul, says that according to the Catalan Association of Prehistoric Art (Associació Catalana d´Art Prehistòric) the image, despite have been shown for years in one of the Prehistory rooms of the Archaeological Museum of Barcelona (Museu d´Arqueologia de Barcelona):

  • It is both very different and defective from the original rock frieze.
  • It does not correspond to the original one from the researcher Henri Breuil.

An email address (<>) is provided as belonging to that Catalan Association. In order to confirm this information—and perhaps get an accurate and usable alternative image—I sent them an email, without response so far, maybe because they are on vacation.--EnekoGotzon (talk) 20:11, 12 August 2014 (UTC)