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The linkage of mankind- CFA (U of A) ART history program entrance essay


hopefull4 2 / 4  
Dec 27, 2010   #1
"Why is Art History an important discipline?" (main question)

Art is probably the best tool that we have to learn about past cultures. It lets us view exactly what was felt during that time and how people were reacting to events at that time. Too often people take for granted the impact that art has on their lives. When I used to visit the Art Institute of Chicago I used to be like most other people and simply look at the art and think- wow, how pretty. But until this year, when I decided to take AP Art History, I didn't realize how much art work really impacts our lives. It's one thing to look at a painting by Goya and think, "ewww how gory or grotesque," but then to know that a particular work (such as "The Third of May, 1808") is meant to show the travesties of war and the rebellion that often gets overlooked, it changes the meaning completely. Goya's portrayal of raw human emotion gives the onlooker a better grasp on the full gravity of the situation. Unfortunately, most viewers don't take in the whole of the meaning; that's why I believe it's so crucial to study art history. Because, art often provides the missing link and fills in for what stories cannot. It's the art historian's job to educate people on the importance of art and the role that it plays in our lives. By studying art history I want to be able to get in touch with the people of a lost culture through their expression and emotion, and that's through the artwork. It's more than just looking and memorizing artist names, dates, locations, cultures, etc. is about the learning and linking of cultures between each other. To me, studying art history is like looking at a giant picture book of time- just like any other history textbook, the themes and connections with other cultures are traced out. But, unlike other history textbooks, this giant picture book gives the best primary source documents available. Unlike articles or letters written by people of that time, it shows rather than explains and it gives us the raw feeling by the actual people of that culture. I would much rather look at a painting by some peasant from medieval Europe than read a letter by Henry VIII. Anyone can create artwork and that's the most exciting part about it- it's not limited to the upper class or nobility, but to everyone who can feel- who need a median in which to express themselves. No matter the time period in history; through evolution, revolution and war, artwork has managed to survive. Even in the most unlikely cases, such as Pompeii where everything was covered and much was burned and lost, we still have examples of their traditions through their wall paintings. Art history is more than a story of fact's, dates and biased accounts- it's a story of the human emotion and the ever changing species that are human beings.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 29, 2010   #2
I would write "for learning" instead:
Art is probably the best tool that we have for learning about past cultures.

You make a great point in this essay, very impressive!! I think the good thing to do is separate it into paragraphs. End the first paragraph with a thesis statement that expresses this message about the significance of art for conveying the real feelings people had during certain times in history.

Thanks for giving me this great new appreciation for art as a tool for understanding history.

When you use the dialogue, use some capitalization and punctuation:
...and think, "ewww how gory or grotesque," but then
...and think, "Ewww, how gory and grotesque!" but then...

:-)


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