Acknowledging how architecture, painting, sculpture and the decorative arts reflect the culture and society of their time, this book in the Art Essentials series invites the reader to experience and appreciate the entirety of Western art from prehistory to today.
Focusing on the ‘history’ in art history, each of the twelve chapters opens with a question to ponder, followed by a summary of the major historical developments of the period, touching on social structure, political organization, migration, race, religious beliefs, scientific advances and customs. An exploration of these themes in the visual arts reveals how architecture, sculpture and painting simultaneously shape, reflect, and document the culture of the time and place they were created. A secondary focus explores the constantly evolving aesthetic preferences that swing between naturalism and abstraction, with each era and style either rebelling against the previous or seeking to improve it. Antecedents and outside influences are also discussed.