What Does Art History Study?

Art|Art History

What Does Art History Study?

Art history is the study of objects of art in their historical and stylistic contexts. It is a broad field that includes the study of painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, prints, photographs and other visual arts from antiquity to the present day. The field also covers aspects of non-Western and non-traditional art forms.

Art historians seek to understand the meaning of works of art in terms of their cultural context. They look at how works were created and who created them, as well as the influences that may have played a role in their creation.

They use written records, archival documents, oral histories and other primary sources to uncover facts about the artwork’s origin and development. Art history also involves exploring how art has changed over time and how it has been interpreted by different cultures throughout history.

The study of art history can help us understand our own culture better by examining how people have used visual media to express themselves throughout history. It can also provide insight into the art trends of different cultures and periods. By studying artwork from different times and places, we can gain new perspectives on our current culture and society.

Studying art history can also provide an understanding of how artwork shapes society by influencing political movements or providing commentary on social issues. Furthermore, it allows us to appreciate artistic expressions from around the world that we would not otherwise be exposed to in our day-to-day lives.


In conclusion, art history studies objects of art in their historical and stylistic context in order to gain an understanding about culture and society from around the world throughout time. It helps us appreciate artwork from different times and places that we would not otherwise be exposed to daily life as well as provides insight into political movements or commentary on social issues through artwork’s influence on society.