AHTR – A Place to Enlighten, Entertain and Inspire

In a time where people have trouble focusing on one thing for very long, art allows us to absorb and appreciate our culture and traditions. It promotes a sense of community that would otherwise be lost in a world obsessed with their cell phones. It teaches us to see and value beauty in the most mundane things around us. Art is also a powerful tool for social change and can be used to educate, inspire, and encourage a new generation of students to embrace their heritage and the diversity in this country.

The study of art allows us to explore the way in which the human mind and body respond to art. It also offers a wide variety of professional opportunities for those who wish to specialize in the field, whether that be in museum or gallery work, arts writing or reporting, and academe. Additionally, those who have taken art history as a major have found that the skills they learn in the classroom are transferable to careers in fields such as business, law, medicine and international relations.

There are many different theories of art, but it has essentially been defined as either an expression or communication of emotions and ideas, a vehicle for exploring formal elements, mimesis or representation, or as the process by which a culture develops a medium for self-expression and interpretation. More recently, thinkers such as Martin Heidegger have interpreted art as the means by which a culture creates a “medium” in which to express itself and communicate.

Art has the ability to take cultural practices from where they are at and transport them into a world that has little to no connection with their origin. Whether that’s a Zen garden in San Francisco or a wedding ceremony with paper swans, art has the power to connect cultures that otherwise would remain isolated.

AHTR is committed to teaching art history and hopes that the resources on this website will be helpful to anyone who is interested in learning more about this fascinating subject. Our goal is to offer a place where those teaching or studying art can share their successes, failures and reflections with their peers. We hope you will join us on our quest to enlighten, entertain and inspire.

How to Analyze an Artwork

When analyzing an artwork, it is helpful to start by describing what you see. Then, analyze the composition for form, color, light and movement. Finally, interpret the piece by looking for themes or ideas that the artist is trying to convey. Describe how the artist uses contrasting colors, shapes and textures to create visual interest. Identify patterns or rhythms of line movement in the work. Notice how the artist uses proportion and size relationships in the work, such as asymmetrical balance or geometric versus natural forms.

When it comes to interpreting an artwork, oftentimes a student’s first reaction will be way off the mark. It’s important to give yourself time and space to think before jumping to a knee-jerk response. For example, if you notice that the work is asymmetrical, try to determine if the imbalance is intended or accidental.