Each semester students find themselves enrolled in Art History classes for the first time. Ideally, they enrolled because they wanted to study the history of art and are enthusiastic about the prospect. This isn't always the case, however. Students may take Art History because it is required, or it seems like a good choice for AP credit in High School, or even because it is the only elective that fits into that semester's class schedule. Questions invariably arise: how come I took this class? What's in it for me? Why should I study art history when one of the latter three scenarios apply and a student realizes that Art History is not going to be an easy "A,”. I would argue that this is the single most fun reason to study Art History, and it doesn't just apply to pictures (that was merely a catchy headline for folks who were Rod Stewart fans back in the day). You see, every artist operates under a unique set of circumstances and all of them affect his or her work. Pre-literate cultures had to appease their gods, ensure fertility and frighten their enemies through art. Italian Renaissance artists had to please either the Catholic Church, rich patrons, or both. 

Why should i study art history

Korean artists had compelling nationalistic reasons to distinguish their art from Chinese art. Modern artists strove to find new ways of seeing even while catastrophic wars and economic depression swirled around them.  Contemporary artists are every bit as creative, and also have contemporary rents to pay -- they need to balance creativity with sales. There were personal, political, sociological and religious factors behind its creation, no matter which piece of art or architecture you see. Untangling them and seeing how they connect to other pieces of art is huge, delicious fun! This may come as news, but art history is not just about painting, sculpture and drawing. Even a particularly fine black velvet Elvis -- art history will offer it to you in case someone created something worth seeing. Art history is not an easy "A." as was mentioned in the introductory paragraph. Listen, I can practically hear you groaning from here, but don't despair. These are allexcellent skills to have, no matter where you want to go in life. Suppose you decide to become an engineer, scientist, or physician -- analysis and critical thinking define these careers. Think, really think about the amount of visual stimulation with which we are bombarded on a daily basis. You are reading this on your computer monitor, tablet or iPad. Realistically, you may own all of these. In your spare time, you might watch television or videos on the internet, or play graphic-intensive video games. We ask our brains to process immense amounts of images from the time we wake until we fall asleep -- and even then, some of us are vivid dreamers. We are shifting from predominantly verbal thinking to visual thinking as a species.