First things first

What exactly do we mean by art, and what kind of history (or histories) should we explore?

videos + essays

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An introduction to iconographic analysis
An introduction to iconographic analysis

Ever wanted to know how art historians determine the meanings of symbols and identify subject matter? Learn more with this brief introduction to the iconographic approach.

Art history and world art history
Art history and world art history

“Art history is relevant” is not how the discipline of art history is typically framed in popular discourse.

Must art be beautiful? Picasso’s <em>Old Guitarist</em>
Must art be beautiful? Picasso’s Old Guitarist

Must art be Beautiful? And just what is beauty anyway?

Who’s who? How to recognize saints…
Who’s who? How to recognize saints…

Why does St. John the Baptist carry a lamb? Catherine a wheel? Mary Magdalene a jar?

A brief history of Western culture
A brief history of Western culture

History is untidy. Though imperfect, defining periods and styles can order the chaos of millennia.

What is art history and where is it going?
What is art history and where is it going?

Methods change, the canon expands, and we write history anew. Long focused on the West, the field is going global.

How art can help you analyze
How art can help you analyze

Pay attention! Identifying symptoms and solving crimes require many of the same skills as art historical analysis.

Why art matters (why look at art?)
Why art matters (why look at art?)

These museum professionals do it for a living. Stop, take a breath, and open your eyes—it’s your answer that counts.

What is cultural heritage?
What is cultural heritage?

Whose property is it anyway? Even when we’re talking about humanity’s greatest achievements, institutions disagree.

What maps tell us
What maps tell us

Whether you’re centered on Jerusalem or relegated to a spot “down under,” maps reflect belief as much as location.

What made art valuable: then and now
What made art valuable: then and now

Artistic labor has changed over time—so has its perceived value. Now a mere idea can be worth its weight in gold.

Common questions about dates
Common questions about dates

Where to begin? Depending on the calendar, it all starts with Christ’s birth, the new moon, or Pope Gregory.

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