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.

Art Movements

An art movement is a distinctive style of art typified by a collection of artists practicing or following the same artistic idea, philosophy, objective, style, or method within a specified time frame or region. Each art movement is subtly or distinctly different than another movement of art. However, other art movements have influenced some movements as they show obvious similarities while others seem to defy them. It is interesting to study the differences between the art movements and study the different periods of art.

Art History

Art history is a historical study of the development of artworks in painting, sculpture, drawing, architecture, and other visual arts. The history of art spans a 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 artists in creating the work.

Art Styles or Techniques

The style or technique of a particular artist or school, or movement. It is that ‘thing’ that makes you recognize a specific 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 how 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.

Additional Reading

What is Fine Art?

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

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UPDATED: 26 October 2020

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