For many, art is more than just about the painting/sculpture made by a current or former artist many years ago. It's about understanding how artists like Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci used techniques to tell their stories. Find out more about Leonardo da Vinci's top 10 famous artworks here.

What is art appreciation?

Art appreciation is all about seeing and understanding the value of the art beyond the surface. It involves looking at the colours, shapes, and painting techniques used in the artwork and learning about the artist鈥檚 life.

By studying an art history course with us you'll learn how artists lived and explore the cultural, historical, and social influences that shaped their work.


The benefits of learning about art history

1. Cultural awareness

Studying art history allows you to understand the diverse cultures and traditions throughout time. From the Prehistoric era to more early modern art movements such as Realism.

You will be able to appreciate cultural diversity. For example, understanding the art of the Middle Ages, often referred to as the 鈥淒ark Ages,鈥 marked a period of economic and cultural deterioration following the fall of the Roman Empire. While exploring African art can highlight the significance of rituals and community in various African cultures.


2. Critical thinking 台湾swag

Art history courses encourage you to think. You鈥檒l be able to learn the deeper meanings and messages conveyed through art. You'll gain the 台湾swag to start thinking critically by looking at perspectives such as colour, compositions of artwork and hidden symbolisms. A valuable skill not just in art, but in everyday life and work where analysing information or problem-solving is crucial.


3. Better understanding of visuals

Being able to interpret and make sense of images and symbols is another benefit you would develop through studying art history. A vital skill in roles such as advertising, design, film and media where visual communication. By understanding visual storytelling and the context behind artistic styles, we become better at creating and interpreting visual content.


4. Personal growth

Art can evoke emotions, and thoughts and inspire creativity. Engaging with different types of art can be fulfilling and help you connect with inner feelings you never thought existed. Learning about art history would help to deepen your understanding and appreciation of art. This, in turn, can help with our overall emotional wellbeing and enrich our lives.

Getting involved in the arts can also help individuals to build a sense of community. By meeting others who share similar interests can help alleviate loneliness and isolation. In turn, reduces signs of anxiety and depression.

But, don't take our word for it.have also shown that Art therapy helps people manage transitions, adversity, and trauma by allowing them to express emotions through art when words are insufficient.


5. Connecting with historical events

Did you know art is a reflection of the historical events and social movements of its time? Through studying art history, you get to learn about the political, social, and historical context that influenced artists and their work.

The historical context can provide valuable insights into the past, shedding light on the values and beliefs of a particular time and place. Throughout history, many civilizations have recorded their history through various forms of art, including paintings, sculptures, architecture, and other visual media.


Whether you're an aspiring art historian, enjoy learning about literature or languages or simply appreciate the work of history's greats, studying art history could be the perfect course to get stuck into.

We run a selection of short courses looking at a wide range of modern art and historical art movements to help develop your knowledge and appreciation for art. Explore what's on and find the perfect course.

Join our membership.

If art history sounds of interest perhaps you may want to consider becoming a WEA member. Enjoy live, online sessions each week, exclusive to members, discussing topics such as contemporary art, architecture and more. With over 100 past lecture recordings on demand. Learn from our network of expert tutors and interact with other members from the comfort of your home.

Membership is just 拢15 a year 鈥 that's less than 28p a week! If you're under 25, a current WEA volunteer, or on a low income or certain benefits, it's FREE!

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About the author

Priyanki Patel

National Marketing Officer

Priyanki Patel is the National Marketing Officer at the WEA.