Welcome to the Classical Art History website. Hopefully, you've come to learn about ancient art history and the cultures in which it exists. Whether you are here to browse or stay, I hope you come away with some new found appreciation for the ancient societies that we discuss.
So, what is Classical Art History?
Literally, it is the study of ancient Greek and Roman art. However, I believe that a knowledge of the surrounding civilizations, and their art work, is needed in order to fully understand and comprehend the Greco-Roman arts. Why? Because the Greeks and Romans were highly influenced by these surrounding cultures; meaning that their art wouldn't exist, as it does, without the direct influence of their neighbors. How can we understand Archaic Greek art, which is based on Egyptian art, if we don't know how or why (or even from whom) they discovered this style? It is for this reason that my guidance into art involves more than just the traditional Classics (Greek and Roman). Thus, I am excited to say that we will be studying the art of not only Greece and Rome but Mesopotamia, Egypt, The Aegean Islands, and Etruria, as well. This entire time frame spans from 3300 BC - 400 AD, approximately 3,700 years.
Also, you may remember that our journey into art history will have a "classical twist" to it. What I mean is this: while we learn about the art, we will also be examining the literature, religion, mythology, and everyday life of the civilizations that we cover. By studying all of these aspects, we will be attempting to gain a knowledge "in the round", which is a way of learning that will enable us to truly get an understanding of the ancient peoples. Being a future Classicist (a person who studies the history, language, and cultures of the Greco-Romans), I think it's important to know as much as possible about the people we are studying. How can we accomplish our feat of understanding if we don't know about the things that will enlighten our minds to their worlds, like religion or mythology? For instance, if we try to study a sculpture of Eros but do not know who Eros was, or what Eros stood for, our analysis and understanding would be directly effected and would be inhibited drastically. Hopefully, you can see why "studying art" by merely looking at pictures may be classed as a waste of time.
I was once asked why I focus my studies on "ancient" art, especially since it's so distant from where we are now. My answer was simple: because our present is based on the past, and unless we know where we were, we can never comprehend where we are now. Sound too complicated? Maybe. But it's true! ALL art is based on the ancients; and some of the things we take for granted today are inventions of the ancients. Think, for example, of stadium seating as we know it: a big stadium that can house thousands of people to see live shows and events, where we have tickets with specific section-and-seating numbers. Where do you think we got this idea from? If you said ancient Rome, you'd be correct! And for another example, think of numbers and counting and math. Where would we be if we couldn't add, subtract, keep mathematical records of inventory or the like? Where do you think that invention came from? The first ones to create a number system and a way of record-keeping were the Sumerians. Our society is based directly on the everyday past of the world's ancestors... and unless we study them, understand them, and come to appreciate their contributions to the world, we will never fully understand or appreciate what mankind can do: past, present, or future. And that, my friends, is why I study the ancients.
Because of my absolute love, respect, and admiration of past civilizations, I decided to create this website. I want to help people understand the ancients and what they have done for us. Too many people dismiss them because they're "old" or inconsequential. By studying their art, and their cultures, you will be able to get more informed and - with any luck - come to appreciate them and all that they did. Are these civilizations perfect? No, far from it. But neither are we, the present-day humans walking on the same Earth that they did so long ago. All you need is an open mind, a welcoming heart, and an understanding that their world is not our world... and all will be fine.
With that said, let me tell you "How to Use This Page".
How to Use This Website:
Lessons - the location of where the art history information will be stored; each lesson will be listed chronologically and cover materials regarding a specific civilization. (For instance, Near Eastern Art.)
Assignments - the location of where the written work, such as homework, quizzes, and exams will be stored; each lesson will have a study guide and quiz that you can take in order to gauge your understanding of the material, while some lessons will have additional written homework assignments. (A mid-term and a final are also available under this section.)
Museum - the location of where the images of art will be stored; every image that we study will be available in the folders for further study or identification practice.
Library - the location of where the ancient literary texts will be stored; examples of the most significant texts in our study will be available for further comprehension of cultural understanding.
News - the location of where the Art History news will be stored; any articles that are related to ancient art history will be posted to keep you up-to-date on what's going on in the world. (Past news articles that have a direct relevancy to our study will also be listed.)
Resources - the location of where the resource guide will be stored; each source that was used in order to create this site will be listed in order to provide a grounding for authority, as well as a bibliography.
Links - the location of where the links page will be stored; any link that will benefit further study of ancient art history will be posted for your review.
Now that you know how to use this site, I'm hoping that you'll use it extensively. I will be putting up articles about art history, as well as news regarding museums and looting - which has become a big problem in the last couple of years. I'll also be posting some literature from the day and age of our studies, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, poetry of Sappho,and The Histories of Greece. By reading ancient texts (translated into English, of course), we can learn about the ancients from their very own words! (Am I the only one excited?!) So be sure to visit often.
And lastly, I am planning to teach art history once I obtain my degree, so any feedback that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. If something doesn't make sense because of the way I've worded it, please don't hesitate to let me know - and ask questions. If you like something because it made the topic easy-to-learn, please tell me that, too. Anything you guys can contribute, in order to make this site better, will always be welcomed! So, be sure to keep in touch. I want to wish you all the best of luck with learning about Ancient Art History. Learning art history, of any kind, isn't easy - but it is rewarding! So stick with it and I'm sure you'll come to love it, or at least appreciate it more than you did.
Here's to your new journey into art!
Classical Art History, Creator
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