What Is Art Appreciation?

Art appreciation is an understanding of the qualities that identify all great art. It involves having a knowledge of art movements, art history and art styles or techniques.


national park wall painting“Monument Valley”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
16″ x 12″
Oils on stretched canvas

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  • Art Movements
    An art movement is defined by a specific style of art characterized by the same artistic idea, philosophy, goal, style or technique that is practiced or followed by a group of artists within a particular timeframe or region. Each art movement is subtly or distinctly different than another movement of art. However, clearly some movements have been influenced by other art movements as they show obvious similarities while others seem to defy them. It is interesting to study the differences between the art movements and also to study the different periods of art.

Click for a list of the various art movements.

  • Art History
    Art history is a historical study of the development of artworks in the fields of painting, sculpture, drawing, architecture and the other visual arts. The history of art spans a period of time from the earliest cave paintings to today. Art history presents two primary concerns (1) to determine who made a particular work of art and when, and (2) to understand the stylistic approach or school of thought used by artist in the creation of the work.
  • Art Styles/Techniques
    The style or technique of a particular artist or school or movement. It is that ‘thing’ which makes you recognize a particular painting as being by a particular artist before you’re close enough to see a signature or to read the image label. A painting style can be the way the paint is handled (such as Pollock) or the brush strokes (such as Van Gogh). It can be the way a subject is dealt with, or simply the choice of subject(s). It can be the range of colors used, or a particular color that’s used in every painting.

Click for more information about art painting styles.  See also information about the art genres.