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Old 03-17-2007, 04:36 PM
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Is a knowledge of Art history important?

Hi everyone. I've been thinking about this at various times: Is a knowledge of Art history important to the artist, i.e, does one have to know about ones precedents and the evolution of art to create quality, potent, relevant work or could one create fine art without a knowledge of art history?

My opinion is that a knowledge of art history is essential in creating relevant art. By knowing where art is at at the current time it gives one a far better chance of creating fine art. That's not to say that one couldn't create fine art by not having a knowledge of art history, but ones chances are far diminished.

I believe we learn from each other. An analogy I like to make is that of science: if a scientist wants to make preogress in a certain field, he would make faster progress by referring to his precedents, and much slower progress, if any, by ignoring them.

Regards.
Anthony.
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Old 03-17-2007, 07:43 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

Hm. I'd have to say that you are stating the obvious. However, what's obvious to you and me may not be to others.
Is understanding what came before you important? Well, yes, it is.
What's more important to me, however, is that I WANT and NEED to know what came before.
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Old 03-17-2007, 08:08 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

[quote=SanDL]Hm. I'd have to say that you are stating the obvious. However, what's obvious to you and me may not be to others.


well it's not really obvious then is it.
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Old 03-17-2007, 10:26 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

A knowledge of art history is important... and has been a source of pleasure in the development... to me. I think it gives the artist a reserve of ideas and sources of inspiration as well as a prior knowledge upon which to build his/her work. I'm uncertain, however, just how essential it is to the artist. If we take an artist such as Michelangelo, it is doubtful that he had much of a knowledge of "art history" beyond the work of his Florentine predecessors, the pieces of contemporary and ancient art collected by his patrons, and the ruins of ancient Rome that surrounded him. Some "outsider" artists are/were virtually ignorant of art history, yet still created marvelous works of art. I know that I am more knowledgeable in art history than most artists... but in no way would I assume that it guarantees that my work will also be better than that of most artists.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:31 AM
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Wink Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

Yes it is important. But I am reminded of Einsteins quote that "imagination is more important than knowledge."

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Old 03-18-2007, 02:00 AM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

But knowledge can be the seed to imagination.

I loved my courses on Precolumbian art of the Americas. It really stretched my concept of bowl, vessel, and container. It expanded the concept of 'tool'...what is a mark marking tool...I went from using finely made clay modeling tools to shells, shark's teeth, and sticks, then suddenly everything I saw became a mark making tool. Imagination is near boundless when everything around you suddenly becomes a tool to create your vision with.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:15 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

There is also a manner in which one's knowledge of art history can become limitting. I have seen and known any number of artists who have developed preconcieved notions of what art SHOULD look like based upon the works of master artists they admire. Work which might turn these preconceptions upside-down would be immediately dismissed, and they would certainly never allow themselves to question the very notion of that which they so admire.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:30 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

yes stlukes, I also think that art knowledge can be stifling to an extent hence the seeming attempts by certain artists to un-know anything in order to be more naturally creative. I suppose it can also make one become more self conscious and therefore contrived and untrue top ones instincts.

Last edited by francis bacon : 03-18-2007 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:15 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

If you stand on the shoulders of a giant you may see farther...

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Old 03-18-2007, 05:37 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

Personally I think that knowledge of art history is fascinating and important in it's own right, and not (just) as a means to an artistic end.
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:02 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

Mothsailor I agree that Art history is interesting in its own right.
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:55 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

Yes, art history is not merely a means to an end but an end in and of itsself. Besides, does anything else impress the girls quite as much? Daniel?
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:07 PM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

This is an interesting question. I don't suppose those who produce Outsider Art have much knowledge of art history?

At the same time, I think that anyone who has even once created a piece of art, and shown it to others, will from that moment onwards start picking up knowledge of other people's work, their methods and materials.

So I suppose a certain knowledge of art history becomes inevitable.

Thanks, Anthony, for setting a lay person like me thinking on this.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:31 AM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

stlukes: some girls like flowers--some girls like allusions to analytical cubism.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:32 AM
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Re: Is a knowledge of Art history important?

mithila: That's my pleasure.

Anthony.

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