Art History and Art Education for Collectors and the Curious 

Art History and Art Education for Collectors and the Curious 

Written by Alli Hames 

(Reading time 2 minutes)

In​ ​this​ ​article​ ​we​ ​will​ ​discuss​ ​first,​ ​why​ ​the​ ​study​ ​of​ ​art​ ​and​ ​art​ ​history​ ​is​ ​important​ ​to​ ​art appreciation;secondly​ ​we​ ​will​ ​look​ ​into​ ​several​ ​modes​ ​of​ ​study​ ​and​ ​lastly​ ​we​ ​share​ ​our​ ​“short list”​ ​of​ ​favorite​ ​books​ ​and​ ​media​ ​to​ ​get​ ​one​ ​started​ ​on​ ​these​ ​subjects. 

Why​ ​is​ ​the​ ​study​ ​of​ ​art​ ​important​ ​to​ ​art​ ​appreciation? 

 It​ ​is​ ​said​ ​that​ ​​a​ ​picture​ ​is​ ​worth​ ​a​ ​1000​ ​words.​​ ​In​ ​the​ ​gallery,​ ​we​ ​often​ ​hear​ ​people​ ​say​ ​“this​ ​art does​ ​nothing​ ​for​ ​me”.​ ​My​ ​thinking​ ​is​ ​the​ ​opposite.​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​the​ ​viewer​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​“participate”​ ​in​ ​order to​ ​understand​ ​the​ ​context​ ​in​ ​which​ ​the​ ​art​ ​was​ ​created.  

 A​ ​quick​ ​note

*Our​ ​gallery​ ​library​ ​is​ ​open​ ​to ​residents​ ​and​ ​visitors​ ​to​ ​Salt​ ​Spring​ ​Island.​ ​Come​ ​sign​ ​out​ ​a​ ​book. Our​ ​library​ ​has​ ​special​ ​focus​ ​in​ ​Norval​ ​Morrisseau,​ ​Picasso,​ ​Northwest​ ​Coast​ ​and​ ​Inuit​ ​art traditions,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​smattering​ ​in​ ​western​ ​art​ ​through​ ​the​ ​ages,​ ​books​ ​on​ ​collecting,​ ​as​ ​well as​ ​a​ ​small​ ​section​ ​devoted​ ​to​ ​business.  

 

Modes​ ​of​ ​study 

Without​ ​labouring​ ​to​ ​gain​ ​a​ ​degree​ ​in​ ​art​ ​or​ ​art​ ​history​ ​anyone​ ​who​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​benefit​ ​from​ ​a broader​ ​knowledge​ ​of​ ​art​ ​and​ ​art​ ​history​ ​can​ ​do​ ​so​ ​from​ ​anywhere​ ​with​ ​little​ ​to​ ​no​ ​expense.

Visual​ ​art​ ​study​ ​benefits​ ​from​ ​visual​ ​aids.​ ​When​ ​reading​ ​about​ ​art​ ​in​ ​particular​ ​it​ ​is​ ​helpful​ ​to have​ ​some​ ​visual​ ​reference​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​you,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​words​ ​convey​ ​the​ ​ideas​ ​in​ ​one​ ​way,​ ​the​ ​eyes can​ ​convey​ ​what​ ​words​ ​alone​ ​never​ ​could. 

 

However... 

Life​ ​is​ ​busy.​ ​We​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​anyone​ ​feeling​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​not​ ​enough​ ​time​ ​in​ ​a​ ​day​ ​to​ ​learn.​ ​So​ ​if formal​ ​study​ ​from​ ​open​ ​books​ ​is​ ​an​ ​impossible​ ​luxury,​ ​think​ ​audiobooks.​ ​Downloadable​ ​from many​ ​sources,​ ​audio​ ​books​ ​are​ ​flexible​ ​when​ ​your​ ​schedule​ ​is​ ​not.​ ​Picture​ ​this;​ ​cooking​ ​dinner and​ ​listening​ ​to​ ​your​ ​latest​ ​audiobook​ ​about​ ​renaissance​ ​art,​ ​smiling​ ​with​ ​enlightened satisfaction.​ ​And​ ​if​ ​you​ ​really​ ​want​ ​to​ ​get​ ​into​ ​it​ ​you​ ​could​ ​plaster​ ​your​ ​fridge​ ​in​ ​art​ ​from​ ​the renaissance!​ ​Your​ ​friends​ ​will​ ​think​ ​you​ ​are​ ​nuts,​ ​but​ ​you​ ​know​ ​better. 

 

As​ ​well​ ​there​ ​are​ ​of​ ​course​ ​incredible​ ​resources​ ​to​ ​be​ ​found​ ​online.​ ​These​ ​can​ ​take​ ​the​ ​form​ ​of videos​ ​lectures,​ ​articles​ ​and​ ​much​ ​more.​ ​To​ ​begin​ ​though​ ​it​ ​is​ ​helpful​ ​to​ ​narrow​ ​your​ ​field​ ​of study​ ​to​ ​the​ ​basics.​ ​Because​ ​of​ ​the​ ​abundance​ ​of​ ​resources​ ​available​ ​online​ ​it​ ​can​ ​be​ ​difficult​ ​to discover​ ​where​ ​at​ ​first​ ​to​ ​begin​ ​and​ ​to​ ​which​ ​sources​ ​most​ ​credit​ ​is​ ​due. 

 

After​ ​you​ ​have​ ​gained​ ​an​ ​overview​ ​on​ ​art​ ​history​ ​and​ ​art​ ​fundamentals,​ ​you​ ​may​ ​find​ ​yourself drawn​ ​to​ ​a​ ​particular​ ​form​ ​of​ ​artistic​ ​expression.​ ​To​ ​explore​ ​that​ ​interest​ ​further​ ​I​ ​suggest submerging​ ​yourself​ ​in​ ​the​ ​era​ ​that​ ​the​ ​art​ ​was​ ​created​ ​in.​ ​Learning​ ​about​ ​the​ ​location,​ ​politics, religion,​ ​music,​ ​literature​ ​and​ ​social​ ​structures​ ​will​ ​serve​ ​to​ ​deepen​ ​your​ ​appreciation​ ​of​ ​that​ ​art form.  

 

Recommended​ ​study

 Books: 

 Art​ ​Fundamentals​ ​Theory​ ​and​ ​Practice  

 “The​ ​original​ ​textbook​ ​that​ ​set​ ​the​ ​standard​ ​for​ ​art​ ​foundations​ ​courses​ ​across​ ​the​ ​country,​ ​Art Fundamentals​ ​has​ ​guided​ ​generations​ ​of​ ​students​ ​through​ ​both​ ​the​ ​essential​ ​elements​ ​of​ ​art and​ ​the​ ​rich​ ​and​ ​varied​ ​history​ ​of​ ​their​ ​uses.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​organized​ ​Art​ ​Fundamentals​ ​to​ ​assist​ ​with “knowing”​ ​and​ ​“feeling”​ ​the​ ​fundamental​ ​concepts​ ​of​ ​refined​ ​creation.​ ​Our​ ​intent​ ​is​ ​to​ ​stimulate without​ ​locking​ ​students​ ​into​ ​a​ ​restricted​ ​mind-set​ ​or​ ​mechanical​ ​copying​ ​of​ ​ideas.” 

 

The​ ​Book​ ​of​ ​Art​ ​for​ ​Young​ ​People 

Audiobook​ ​available​ ​free​ ​and​ ​easy​ ​on​ ​YouTube​ ​​Here​

 “​Early​ ​twentieth​ ​century​ ​husband​ ​and​ ​wife​ ​collaboration​ ​concerning​ ​Fine​ ​Art,​ ​aimed​ ​at​ ​children. This​ ​is​ ​a​ ​charming​ ​book​ ​on​ ​Art​ ​History​ ​for​ ​children​ ​(and​ ​everyone​ ​else).​ ​Each​ ​chapter​ ​focuses on​ ​a​ ​great​ ​painting,​ ​reproduced​ ​in​ ​color​ ​in​ ​the​ ​original​ ​text.​ ​The​ ​authors​ ​explain​ ​the​ ​story​ ​behind the​ ​paintings,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​life,​ ​times,​ ​and​ ​techniques​ ​of​ ​the​ ​artists.”

 

Stealing​ ​The​ ​Mystic​ ​Lamb 

 Audiobook​ ​available​ ​on​ ​Audible​​ ​​Here​.  

 “​Jan​ ​van​ ​Eyck’s​ ​Ghent​ ​Altarpiece​ ​is​ ​the​ ​most​ ​frequently​ ​stolen​ ​artwork​ ​of​ ​all​ ​time.​ ​Since​ ​its completion​ ​in​ ​1432,​ ​this​ ​twelve-panel​ ​oil​ ​painting​ ​has​ ​been​ ​looted​ ​in​ ​three​ ​different​ ​wars, burned,​ ​dismembered,​ ​forged,​ ​smuggled,​ ​censored,​ ​hidden,​ ​attacked​ ​by​ ​iconoclasts,​ ​hunted​ ​by the​ ​Nazis​ ​and​ ​Napoleon,​ ​used​ ​as​ ​a​ ​diplomatic​ ​tool,​ ​ransomed,​ ​rescued​ ​by​ ​Austrian double-agents,​ ​and​ ​stolen​ ​a​ ​total​ ​of​ ​thirteen​ ​times.​ ​In​ ​this​ ​fast-paced,​ ​real-life​ ​thriller,​ ​art historian​ ​Noah​ ​Charney​ ​unravels​ ​the​ ​fascinating​ ​stories​ ​of​ ​each​ ​of​ ​these​ ​thefts.​ ​Charney​ ​also explores​ ​the​ ​history​ ​of​ ​art​ ​crime—and​ ​the​ ​ideological,​ ​religious,​ ​political,​ ​and​ ​social​ ​motivations that​ ​have​ ​led​ ​many​ ​men​ ​to​ ​covet​ ​this​ ​one​ ​masterpiece​ ​above​ ​all​ ​others.” 

 

Online​ ​sources: 

 BBC​ ​Power​ ​Of​ ​Art​ ​Series  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/powerofart/ 

 “This​ ​is​ ​not​ ​a​ ​series​ ​about​ ​things​ ​that​ ​hang​ ​on​ ​walls,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​not​ ​about​ ​decor​ ​or​ ​prettiness.​ ​It​ ​is​ ​a 

 series​ ​about​ ​the​ ​force,​ ​the​ ​need,​ ​the​ ​passion​ ​of​ ​art  ...the​ ​power​ ​of​ ​art.​ ​And​ ​it​ ​will​ ​wet​ ​your​ ​appetite

​ ​with​ ​in​ ​depth​ ​study​ ​into​ ​the​ ​life​ ​and​ ​times​ ​of​ ​artist 

 like​ ​Rembrandt,​ ​Caravaggio,​ ​Van​ ​Gogh​ ​and​ ​more.” 

 Tate​ ​​Blogs​ ​&​ ​Channe

http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment

 “​Blogs,​ ​features,​ ​news​ ​and​ ​videos​ ​about​ ​Tate​ ​and​ ​beyond.​ ​So​ ​much​ ​to​ ​learn,​ ​an​ ​incredible 

 resource​ ​for​ ​free​ ​art​ ​education” 

 ArtBookGuy​ ​(especially​ ​the​ ​section​ ​dedicated​ ​to​ ​“Collecting​ ​Art”) 

http://artbookguy.com/collecting_356.html

 “A​ ​website​ ​full​ ​of​ ​blogs,​ ​interviews,​ ​recommended​ ​reading,​ ​and​ ​cool​ ​stuff​ ​with​ ​a​ ​contemporary  view​ ​on​ ​art.​ ​ArtBookGuy​ ​believes​ ​in​ ​“Art​ ​For​ ​All​ ​People”.​ ​Art​ ​is​ ​created​ ​by​ ​all​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​people​ ​for  all​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​people.​ ​Art​ ​is​ ​always​ ​open​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​and​ ​encourages​ ​us​ ​to​ ​observe,​ ​create,  discuss​ ​and​ ​take​ ​action​ ​to​ ​move​ ​society​ ​forward.” 

 



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