Exploring Art
Exploring Art

Exploring Art

Lead Author(s): Rob Wilson

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A survey of art processes, materials and theories and an outline of how to approach artworks in their historical context.


What is Art?  This loaded question is the foundation of this text.  This question has been examined for generations by artists, patrons, art historians, and students alike.  Every individual has had their own musings on what art is, and their respective musings have been as individual as the people themselves.  No one has truly figured out an overarching answer, assuming that the question can be answered at all.  

The goal of this text is not to answer that question, but instead, to encourage you to find your own answer and to then provide you with the vocabulary and theory required to back up your claim.  This text focuses primarily on visual art, though brings in other arts as they intersect with visual art movements throughout history. 

Chapters 1-11 discuss a background of art theory, and evaluate different mediums of art making.  The remaining chapters discuss a survey of Art History with interactive questions and materials to help you put art methods into their historical context.  

By the end of this text, you should have a general and global knowledge of visual art including theory, media and methods, and historical context.  This knowledge can inform your life as you view and appreciate art in the future, and as you have a greater awareness of yourself in a world of visual culture.  


I would like to thank The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty Museum for their open access programs, making works of art available for free to the public.  The vast majority of images in this text are from these two institutions and without their program this text would not be possible.  I would also like to thank Darla Wilson and Jennifer Gubler for their contribution of time in assisting with image finding for this text as well as their proofreading efforts.