How to Make Art History Come to Life
Art students spend a lot of time working on their creative method of choice. You may paint, work on learning how to sell your art online, design some art business cards and then study for a college exam to help you get a degree in art - all in one day! With all this going on, many people find it difficult to really get into art history. It's not just about learning the names and styles of famous creatives throughout the ages, but you can really gain a better understanding of art today through studying the many renaissances and movements of the past. Here are some ways to make art history come to life so you recall the facts better and actually learn something from it:
Two words: Field trip
What do you remember most about elementary school? If you're like most kids, you probably have a field trip or two that come to mind when asked this question. Field trips allow students to put their knowledge to good use and learn outside of the classroom. In order to learn about art history while away from your desk, consider heading to an art museum. Here you can see the pieces you're reading about in real life. Visit art galleries in Chicago, New York or LA, where many famous works are on display. If you are unable to physically go to these places, opt to check them out virtually instead. Many museums and galleries host online displays that allow visitors to browse their collections from anywhere in the world. Not only do they feature the sculptures, mixed media pieces and weavings of famous artists, but the websites offer up even more information than what you're learning in class.
Embody the artist
When you're delving into the mechanics of Michelangelo's "David", Van Gogh's "The Starry Night" and Daisy Taugelchee's intricate rug weavings, you're learning, but not in a hands-on way. Instead of just looking up information about their techniques and lives, why not dive right in and try their methods yourself? Break out the clay, oil paints and fabric scraps so you can really cement their ways of creating famous works into your brain. You'll be learning a new technique and maybe even making your first try on a particular medium. And, you'll have great respect for these artists once you know what it's like to try to emulate their works. Once you've used the particular process the famous creative used, try to recreate your favorite piece of theirs in your chosen medium. It can be very fun and refreshing to use a medium you're familiar with to try to recreate a piece you love.
Take a walk in their shoes
Do some research to see if any cool artists once lived in your area. If they did, learn about their lives and see if you can go to some of the places that influenced them. Maybe that person really loved the way the light caressed the side of a certain mountain in your state. Grab a camera, sketchbook or other medium and see if you find similar inspiration. It's also an awesome idea to try to plan a vacation far away from home that will allow you to walk in the footsteps of an artist you love. Head to France to see where Paul Gauguin sought inspiration for his post-impressionist art. Make a cross-country drive to see the American Southwest where you can capture the lifestyle of the area's Native Americans with your art form or try to make your own version of Dorothea Lange's famous photographs.
Look into a new art era
You may find yourself growing bored with the art history you're studying in school or on your own. If that's the case, you're not looking in the right place. You are an artist. That means the arts interest you, and there will be various creatives, eras and styles that appeal to you. If you're getting more and more disinterested in the art history you're studying, move on to a different time period. Look for other styles, go from Renaissance to modern, realistic to impressionism. Switch from learning about textile-makers to enjoying pottery and ceramicists intricate works. This change of scenery will help you to stay interested and bring life into your studies.