Talk:Art history

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject History (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject History, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the subject of History on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Visual arts (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Visual arts, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of visual arts on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.

Old stuff=[edit]


Major points in this edit are:

Is there a significant difference between History of Art vs Art History? Is this semantic nonsense? Or a reference to too fine a distinction between academic subjects? Leading to.... should the two Wiki articles H of A & A.H. be merged? Is our further subdivision "historical develpoment of art" or history of art history"(!!!) going too far?? Can we keep the discussion of Art and Aesthetics apart? Let me know what you think... talk here, at my user page, or email me. Looking forward! Julie Martello 14:49, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

I have so far stayed out of the big picture sort of art articles, and have not yet tried to absorb the differences between AH and HofA, but it seems to me that one article should be enough. I'll check it out in more detail. [like actually READ the articles?] Carptrash 15:58, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
PS I added links in your posting [hope you don't mind] to make my navigation a bit easier. carptrash

I think the 2 main ones should certainly stay separate. I would remove the "study of history of art" section in HofA to here too - of stick it down at the end of the article. Few if any main articles on academic areas of study include as section 2 the history of the academic study itself. Johnbod 00:44, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I think there should be a linked reference worked in to aesthetics preferably in para 1, or in the definition. Thxs for the links carptrash!

Johnbod 00:51, 30 October 2006 (UTC) Done! Jules Julie Martello 15:20, 1 November 2006 (UTC)


Hey folks -- I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here, but I've essayed a major expansion of the historical development section, in an attempt to start bridging the gap between Woelfflin and the present day. There are still a few more steps to be filled in, but I hope this is a good start. Sources are mainly the individual entries in the "Biographical Dictionary of Art Historians" and in wiki itself. Best regards, --Javits2000 15:26, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Images of the works of art being analyzed are needed for comprehension[edit]

When discussing art history, the images are really vital for comprehension, and even when discussing art historians too.Mark Faraday 04:38, 20 December 2006 (UTC)


I find the treatment of the history of art within the Wikipedia to be mystifying. It seems as if the history of something is being treated as a subset of a type of art form rather than something which runs across different forms of visual art. Very,very odd!

Anybody coming here would expect an introduction to what can be found on wikipedia - in terms of the history of painting, different art movements etc. Instead we get

  • an article about the study of art history and no introduction to the history of art.
  • a different article about the history of art - with no introduction to what is available on wiki as it is incomplete as to art movements etc
  • To cap it all - on initial inspection - a page identifying the full scope of art history covered by wikipedia appears to be missing from Visual Arts as neither of the articles start by making reference to the category of art history

As I said - completely and utterly mystifying...... IMO the current arrangements make research very difficult for people consulting wikipedia for information.

Cosmopolitancats 16:52, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Certainly Wiki's coverage of art history is somewhat underdeveloped at present, and anyone looking for a comprehensive introduction will still be better served by print sources (for example, a survey text, or the Grove Dictionary of Art.) However, the art history and history of art are prominently cross-referenced, and so far as I can tell history of art does, via a tree structure, lead the user to the individual articles covering most all periods, styles, etc. The category, art history, is linked where categories are always linked in Wiki -- at the bottom of the page. None of this is to say that there is not a great deal of room for improvement, and should you wish to try your hand at making some improvements yourself, I'm sure that your efforts would be most welcome! --Javits2000 19:31, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Bah Humbug! No Wikiproject tagging![edit]

  • Drat! Was expecting a projects link on this talk. Need an answer to a general question of sorts about historical fact.
  • re: Pieter Paul Rubens trying to verify this quote: "His first wife Isabella Brant had died in 1625, taken from him by disease, at the age of thirty-five, in the prime of her life.
Any leads or confirmation would be appreciated. Thanks // FrankB 03:01, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Hello, this is rather a late reply, but Isabella died in 1626, I can't recall from what. An easy-to-verify citation here is Kristin Lohse Belkin, Rubens (Art & Ideas series), London: Phaidon, 1998, p. 148. The key source is of course Rubens' letters, the English ed. of which is Ruth Saunders Magurn (tr. & ed.), The Letters of Peter Paul Rubens, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1955. I have lost my copy so can't check the actual reference, but it would certainly come up in letters to friends. Plague struck Antwerp in 1626, according to Belkin. Cheers. Platinumbuddha 11:03, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Added sections: Divisions by Period and Methodologies[edit]

I have added two sections to the article. I believe that the article as it was gives an interesting perspective on the development of Art History as a discipline (the "history of art history," as it were), but it does not offer much information on what an art historian actually does or how the discipline functions.

These two sections help to amend this somewhat, I believe. The first is an attempt to show the divisions into which the discipline is traditionally broken up. This is an important consideration, because art historians are all specialists, and their work focuses not on art as a whole, but on a particular field of study.

Also, the section on Methodologies gives a brief survey of the more popular modes of inquiry used in Art History. I believe this helps to focus the article a bit more on what sorts of things Art Historians are attempting to discover, which goes a long way to describe what Art History is all about.

Thoughts? ~TScott01 15:02 EST, 2-13-07


Have removed the "globalise" tag as I see no discussion here of how the article might become more "inclusive." But if anyone feels strongly about this, by all means please post your suggestions here! --Javits2000 12:17, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Steps towards improving the article[edit]

I've taken a few steps aimed at improving the informative quality of this article; I've merged the "Prominent critical art historians" and "Marxist art historians" sections into one section, and I have added a Sectstub and citations tag to it to request for additional information and verification to be added to the section. Considering the near complete absence of other contemporary political art historians and their background within these two sections, I am tempted to place a neutrality dispute tag over the content as well, as the current revision reeks of political agendas and bias. However, I will wait and see how forthcoming we are in attempting to improve the current state of affairs.

As voluntary editors of this website, I believe we should be more vigilant against these undesired situations, as they can potentially do much to compromise the credibility and encyclopedic value of Wikipedia. I think it is in the best interest of this website if we all work towards avoiding this, hence these steps. Kalamrir (talk) 10:00, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

There is nothing wrong with the section header. One could indeed add ones for Fascist or Nationalist art historians, but no one has yet done so, and in recent decades the Maxists were more prominent. These people were very happy to describe themselves as Marxist - see their articles. If you want to improve the article, which certainly needs it, I would suggest adding instead of subtracting. What do other people think? Does the section heading "Marxist art historians" "reek of political agendas and bias" or not? Johnbod (talk) 12:23, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
My "subtracting" of the article, as you put it, oddly enough is a direct result of my knowledge of standing Wikpedia guidelines regarding the strict neutrality of article content, and subsequently also of the avoidance of situations that can either invite or imply political bias and agendas. Since the aforementioned guidelines appear to rather strenuously disagree with your assertion that the disputed header is non-problematic, steps must be taken to ensure it is rendered both more objective by nature as well as capable of covering a (much) more comprehensive type of relevant content.
Your argument that "these people were very happy to describe themselves as Marxist" is in no way relevant to the matter at hand. Please inform yourself on which Wikipedia guidelines are flexible, and which are absolute and non-negotionable. In both cases, you'll find them clearly defined as such. Kalamrir (talk) 16:27, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid you have misunderstood these policies. They do not say that all references to ideological viewpoints must be removed - far from it. I suggest you read them again carefully. Johnbod (talk) 16:32, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
You seem to face significant challenges in interpreting my motive behind these edits correctly. There will be no removal of "all references" to ideological viewpoints. The farthest thing from it -- the aim is first of all to preserve the content and to have it better sourced, and secondly to merge it into a single section that will gives equal attention to all notable ideological viewpoints. More extensive coverage of any one particular ideological viewpoint instead belongs in more dedicated articles, as per the guidelines covered in Wikipedia:Manual of Style.
A single viewpoint currently is overrepresented in comparison to the other ideological viewpoints which meet Wikipedia's requirements of notability, and in the interests of the article's informative quality this is an issue to be addressed as soon as possible . I again invite you to better inform yourself on the guidelines that I have linked to both in my first reply and in this one. Kalamrir (talk) 16:44, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
  • Again you are misinterpreting the guidelines. There are no "viewpoints" represented - there is completely neutral coverage (none of it by me) of the several of the most significant schools of art history, but so far not all. I notice this appears to be the first article you have edited that is not about a video game. Perhaps you could explain what other schools of art history you think should be covered? Johnbod (talk) 16:53, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
You are underscoring the notion that you indeed appear quite challenged in interpreting the rationale behind these edits (which does not spring from this editor himself, but from Wikipedia's guidelines). It is a bit odd that while my efforts are clearly explained as being aimed at not only preserving the content, but to also have it better sourced and subsequently integrated with other content relevant to this part of the article, your displayed mentality thus far has been dismissive, mildly unconstructive and also seemingly aimed at preserving the inclusion of the word "Marxist" in the header.
Secondly, you also underscore the notion that the revision you are in favor of can and will invite accusations of political bias to this article. What other schools of art history should be included in my personal opinion is not relevant to the issue at hand either. I shall leave this to individuals who are more knowledgeable on the subject of art history than I am. Instead, the issue at hand is that one particular viewpoint is being overrepresented in a way that does not befit an article ment to be describing all relevant viewpoints in a comprehensive and succinct manner, rather than describing one specific viewpoint in detail. Such is to be done by dedicated articles. Kalamrir (talk) 17:34, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Sentence in lead[edit]

Hi. I removed "Works of art criticism and of art theory frequently have been the pivots upon which the understanding of art history has turned" from the lead. This statement seems to be left over from the earliest version of this article, when it was still trying to find form and meaning. Now, keeping it at the end of the second paragraph contrasts with the argument presented in the third, and seems to suggest that theory and criticism are the two major points around which the discourse of art history revolves. Certainly, both have their place. However, as the current article shows, there are a number of distinct approaches used by art historians and specialists in other fields looking in that shape the study of art history. Therefore, I removed the statement since it adds little to the current form. Feel free to discuss. --Stomme (talk) 07:29, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Art Law[edit]

Does anyone know anything about Art Law? Cjvp (talk) 20:10, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Structure of Art History article needs resolution.[edit]

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, see Philosophy_(disambiguation)

TravisNygard (talk) 17:11, 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.

Frankly - this is Wikipedia...This is a unique and different body of knowledge that while material must be referenced and must be reliable; material does not conform or obliged to conform to academia or to other texts....These two articles can be improved upon certainly...Modernist (talk) 17:18, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
TravisNygard (talk) 17:55, 15 February 2009 (UTC) I agree with you, but I also think that in order to be reliable--when the topic of the wikipedia page is an academic discipline--requires respecting the nomenclature of that discipline.
If there is valid referenced information to add, add it...nomenclature sounds like dogma please...just valid referenced information..thanks...Modernist (talk) 18:01, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I don't really see a problem - the hatnotes do the job, as far as I'm concerned (the jounal doesn't seem to have an article - if it gets one it should be added to the AH hatnote). Forcing all searches through a disam page seems unnecessary. Few wanting the academic discipline will search for History of Art, I suspect, though more wanting HofA may search on AH. I'll start a new section below to comment on the changes to the text itself. Johnbod (talk) 19:22, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I must say I don't see these as an overall gain, though there are some useful additions, & it is hard to follow all the changes. References, already too thin on the ground, have been removed, links have not been added, & the new text not copyedited, especially for words run together near links. I don't like many of the removals and rewriting - as examples much of the lead is way too POV & crudely expressed, and discussing iconography in terms just of "symbols" is not helpful. It might be better to start with the additions only, referenced if possible, and then discuss drafts of re-written sections here. The text as it was before was mostly written, but somewhat in seperate chunks, by professionals like Modernist, User:Julie Martello & User:Javits2000 (these last sadly departed), and most of what was there seems sound to me, and generally more carefully worded than the rewritings. Johnbod (talk) 19:22, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Comments about copy editing are fair, and I have since done more of that. Note that I am a professional art historian, and I am not attempting to insert POV.TravisNygard (talk) 19:58, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
"The historical backbone of the discipline is a celebratory chronology of beautiful creations funded by upper class men in western Europe" is a rather journalistic & POV way of putting it, & not entirely true, given the earlier art historians were disproportionly medievalists & scholars of ancient art. Older art history is generally much readier to be rude about art than the modern version, which is often too timid to either praise or disparage. You normally link only the first appearance of a term, but it helps to know what articles are available to link to. For example that sentence might usefully be linked to fine art, Western art, high culture & doubtless many other options. Johnbod (talk) 21:24, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
If you want to nuance the discussion of the canon of art history, by all means do so. I acknowledge that criticism of new art is common by art historians. I don't think, however, that my claim that art history has historically been written in a celebratory way is controversial within the discipline. In fact, the entire discipline has been deeply bound to the idea that art is good, worthy of scrutiny, or special in some way. In short, it has celebrated creative output, and much of the work done in the 21st century continues this tradition. TravisNygard (talk) 21:35, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the idea of editing individual sections in more depth, I certainly agree that it would be a good idea. In particular, the sections on semiotic art history and feminist art history could use more work. I could work on feminism, but I do not have the expertise to edit on semiotics. TravisNygard (talk) 21:55, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
Regarding references, I have just added substantial new material to the bibliography that provides the history of the discipline. This includes both anthologies of art writings (Blackwell's Art in Theory series) as well as analytical histories of the discipline (Vernon Minor's work, as well as Chris Murray's Key Writers on Art) I also corrected the erroneous dates for Wolfflin's book. TravisNygard (talk) 22:31, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Essay-like tag[edit]

A tag has been placed on this article stating that this reads too much like an essay. I'm hoping the tagger will elaborate here, as I'm not certain what s/he means specifically. The is a B-class article, which is probably an apt rating, and we'd all like to see it move up a bit. However, I'm not convinced that it is "essay-like" in particular. freshacconci talktalk 12:17, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Please see my concerns below. As I say, I'm happy for my concerns to be reclassified if a more appropriate title can be found for them - or the tag can be removed as long as the issues I have raised are discussed. I don't know my art history, but I understand Wikipedia fairly well and feel these are valid issues to be addressed. Cheers for checking with me, SGGH ping! 13:09, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Some prose problems[edit]

I think there are some issues with the text, the "essay like" tag is the closest I can get to. It almost reads like a speech at a conference on Art History, which I feel is the wrong style for a Wikipedia article.

Here are some examples:

This is not to say that art history is only a biographical endeavor. In fact, art historians often root their studies in the close scrutiny of individual objects. They thus attempt to answer in historically specific ways, questions such as: What are key features of this style?, What meaning did this object convey?, How does it function visually?, Did the artist meet their goals well?, What symbols are involved?, and Does it function discursively?

"That is not to say" feels like a continuation from a previous sentence in the manner one would use in conversation. Also, all these questions at the end of this smack of the same thing, which I personally feel is poor for a Wiki article.

  • Comment - reworded...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

How did the artist come to create the work?, Who were the patrons?, Who were his or her teachers?, Who was the audience?, Who were his or her disciples?, What historical forces shaped the artist's oeuvre, and How did he or she and the creation, in turn, affect the course of artistic, political, and social events?

Again the same problem. "Technically, art history is not these things, because the art historian uses historical method to assess art work's origins, patrons, the authors teachers, audience, disciples, influences etc." would work better. Itemise, rather an ask, IMO.

  • Comment IMO I like the style of posing those questions...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

"Art history as we know it today began"... we? Who? Again iffy tone.

  • Comment - good point we refers to people (human beings who regard art) and today has been changed to 21st century...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

"Art historians often examine work in the context of its time." these italics aren't needed. It adds inflection which suggests a point of view, emphasis on one subject which is open to interpretation (and therefore misinterpretation).

  • Comment - please remove italics! Oh well I will...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

"Finally, many art historians use critical theory to frame their inquiries into objects." again, "finally" suggests it is being spoken out loud. Almost concludes that the previous was a summation of all that could be said on the topic, and prohibits the use and assessment of the topic from that one paragraph alone.

  • Comment So remove finally? I guess it's up to me...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Huge areas of text with zero references also, but admittedly that is a different issue.

"Today's understanding of the symbolic content of art comes" ... "todays" is a word to avoid, along with "recently", or "in the last few years" because the inevitable question that arises from using this term is "when?" When the article was written, when I'm reading it? In the un-quantifiable "present"?

  • Comment And you of course could not think of a more apt term? Re-worded...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Views and thoughts are not link to any period of time. Any art historian today could be post modernist, modernist, traditional, or whatever. I'm sure that not everyone "today" shares the same understanding, if you see what I mean. SGGH ping! 17:36, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

"Linda Nochlin's essay "Why have there been no great women artists?" kick-started feminist art history" there is another "hot phrase", "kick-started".

  • Comment And so? IMHO the phrase is fine, re-worded though...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

The Professional Organization section is very USA/UK-centric.

Comment This is the English Wikipedia and world art history is covered rather well in dozens of articles...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
The fact that this is the English Wikipedia doesn't mean it only covers topics in the English speaking sphere of influence. SGGH ping! 17:36, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Beyond these examples, much of the article just seems to read like a University lecutre, or a primary source. Rather than reporting on the views and influences, facts and figures of Art History, the article proposes them. This is, admittedly, in part an impression given by the fact that it is particularly under-referenced. But still it reads to me like a personal reflection on art.

  • Comment Improvements and opinions are always welcomed...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I hope this clarifies why I added the tag. Regards, SGGH ping! 13:05, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment I am replacing the tag...Modernist (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Freud and Jung[edit]

It's a bit jarring to see Freud and Jung anywhere in a main wiki article about art history. Perhaps it should be included on their respective wiki pages instead.Mkadams888 (talk) 20:17, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Their influence on the subject has been notable, and is appropriate for inclusion here. JNW (talk) 20:46, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

Another thought about Freud and Jung[edit]

I agree that Freud and Jung's concepts would be better served to their specific pages or perhaps a topic of art and psychoanalysis. I think that sticking to the main researchers who focused in the study of art history, or the major movements of art would better serve the public as they seek to learn more information about the topic. I would like to see the Divisions by Period section first and have it much more developed and then the Historical Developments section after would be more logical. This is a huge topic and hard to know where to begin. I admire all the work already done on the project. It would be great to see it continue to move forward and remove any of the questionable citations. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an excellent timeline for Art History NetworkedTogether (talk) 04:14, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Draft outline[edit]

There's a draft for an outline to the Art history subject found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Outlines/Drafts/Outline of art history. Please feel free to review and revise it. In particular, the list of scholars probably needs more eyes. There's also a RM proposal to move that to draftspace if people care. -- Ricky81682 (talk) 18:40, 22 June 2016 (UTC)