Art History and its importance

Art History

History as a subject in itself is an ocean and when it comes to art, it just crosses the next level. You cannot confine art history in a closet and make sense out of it. You need to see things from different lenses and try to analyze what the artist is trying to say.

So, to make more sense of art history, scroll down to learn more about it.

What is art history?

In simple words, art history is a study of the history of the visual arts, and other types of arts including sculpture, painting, printmaking, interior design, etc.  It majorly deals with the historical developments of the art products and how to identify, classify, evaluate, analyze and interpret them.

If one goes in depth then art history appears to be something more than this listing of all art related movement and its timeline. It more about discovering the reason behind the artwork, the understanding of its origin and the relevance it held that time and in the contemporary world.

What is iconography?

One of the major parts of art history is iconography and it deals with the analysis of the symbolism of works of arts. The art historians try to gauge what are the visual elements of an artwork, what it shows about that particular time period, its civilization and how they were created.

Importance of art history

Art history is very important as it helps in understanding many things about the human past. These are:

Helps in understanding different Cultures

The analysis of arts by art historians has helped in recounting the stories of the past related to different societies and their culture. Even the civilizations that got vanished with time are today understood properly especially their culture with the help of the artworks of those eras. For instance, with the help of murals on the walls of the city of Pompeii, the art historians are today able to understand what the lifestyle of the people was and how prostitution was an important part of the city.  This whole recounting of past events has been instrumental in clarifying many things about human civilization and how it evolved over the centuries.

See things differently

The study of art history has helped the world see things from different angles and have developed critical thinking. It is not just about memorizing the period in which a particular painting or artwork was made but to analyze what the artist was trying to show from his or her work.


It is the importance of art history and its relevance that makes it even today a favorite subject for many. Those who pursue a career in this are able to come up with a new understanding of the past, thereby giving more meaning to a piece of artwork.