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.” 

 



Leave a comment


Also in Art News

“THERE ARE NO FAKES” A provocative film by Jamie Kastner
“THERE ARE NO FAKES” A provocative film by Jamie Kastner

Thursday October 24 @ 7PM
Steffich Fine Art (Reserve Online)
*Limited Availability*
"The film focuses on what might be the largest art forgery scam in Canada, related to renowned Indigenous artist Norval Morrisseau." - CITYNEWS



Read More

Obsolete Objects Find New Life In Shiny Steel by By Elizabeth Nolan
Obsolete Objects Find New Life In Shiny Steel by By Elizabeth Nolan

Nolan writes, "McFarlane’s keen eye for form finds delightful expression in Out Foxed, a collages piece where the layers are cut from old circuit boards rather than paper. A large fleet of yellow hunting dogs races toward the left side of the scene. Meanwhile, the crafty red fox is headed in the opposite direction and just about to leave the right side of the frame."

Read More

How Art Arrived at Jackson Pollock
How Art Arrived at Jackson Pollock

The Nerdwriter is a series of video essays about art, culture, politics, philosophy and more.  At the very least you'll know more than you did when you started the video stream...

Read More