How Does History Affect Art?

Art|Art History

The relationship between history and art is a complex one. Historically, art has been used to document, commemorate and reflect upon the events of the past.

Even in ancient times, art was used to depict and tell stories of historical events. The ancient Greeks and Romans were particularly adept at this and their sculptures, mosaics and frescoes offer us a valuable insight into their culture and history.

In more modern times, art has been used to express the spirit of a particular age or period in history. For example, many of the great works of the Renaissance were inspired by the political and social upheavals of the period.

Similarly, Modern Art was heavily influenced by World War I and its aftermath. This is because artists often draw on their own experiences or those of their contemporaries to create works which reflect on the contemporary state of affairs.

Art can also be seen as an instrument for understanding history better. By examining works from different periods we can gain a better perspective on how people lived during that time, as well as get an insight into how they viewed themselves or others. This can be very useful in gaining a fuller understanding of a particular period or event.

Finally, art can also be seen as an expression of collective memory. By examining works from different eras we can gain a sense of how people have remembered certain events throughout history. This provides us with an invaluable resource for understanding our shared heritage more fully.


History has had a profound effect on art throughout time; from Ancient Greece to modern day there is evidence that artists have drawn upon events from the past to create powerful works which reflect upon them. Art has also acted as an instrument for understanding history better by providing us with insights into how people lived during different periods; it is also an expression of collective memory which allows us to gain a deeper appreciation of our shared heritage.