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Humanities LibreTexts

Preface

  • Page ID
    64799
  • Art Appreciation (ARTH 100) is an introduction to the world of art created by people over thousands of years. Traditionally textbooks focus on white European male-oriented art with little concentration on artists of color, female artists, or multicultural experiences that form the real world. This textbook follows a different approach, writing the chapters in time sequence, the way people understand and arrange their thought patterns based on multiple cultures, and a diverse population.

    In most textbooks, authors discuss in chapter format, each culture as an isolated civilization, independent and lacking time continuance with art and culture. For example, a standard art appreciation textbook may have 60 pages describing Greek art, and 54 pages about Roman art, and yet this area of the world in 200 CE had a population of only 8 million. However, in 200 CE, China had a population of 57 million with a sophisticated society inventing a printing press, centuries before Gutenberg in Europe. The Chinese also painted incredible landscapes and calligraphy, made exquisite pottery and jade carvings, and created the unbelievable 8,000 Terracotta warriors, all in only 30 pages of information about China.

    Although the Americas had less population in this period, the thriving civilizations created amazing pyramids and temples, developed complex societies with extensive trade routes, and created artwork using precious metals, and woven textiles. However, these interesting societies are seldom documented in most art appreciation books giving the illusion that each culture functioned independently instead of a global connection similar to today. For example, the Egyptians did not live in isolation; they traded and visited other cultures throughout Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

    By using a time sequence, the information in this textbook includes multiple civilizations existing in the same periods and then compares and contrasts those civilizations. How did the people in the civilizations live, what kind of art did they create, what were the materials they used, how did they interact and trade, all a large part of understanding and appreciating art from many cultures? This book covers several cultures, for example, Greek, Roman, Nok, Qin, Yayoi, Nazca, Moche in 200 CE, bringing many different ideas of art and their creative artworks.

    We are a diverse society, and our college population represents that diversity. This is a more representational textbook that students can identify with based on ethnic experiences they possess, presented in a time sequence. This Art Appreciation (ARTH 100) textbook is inclusive of multiple civilizations around the world with a better distribution of art. Some of the art will be well known, and some of the writing is about art and cultures not usually included in the standard textbooks.

    This book documents cultures that lived in different places but in similar time frames allowing the cultures to compared and contrasted with each other. Civilizations did not live in isolated bubbles but traded across geographic areas and influenced each other, especially their art. This method of documenting the civilizations across time is a new way to integrate the art of civilizations. Comparing cultures helps expand student's concepts and understanding of how people can be different; however, all the cultures needed the same things; food, shelter, and ways to create, make and build art. The textbook was written in a sequential timeline starting with prehistoric art, through the multiple early civilizations and the art movements defining later artwork and processes. Each chapter addressed a specific time sequence providing a snapshot of the people and art found in those periods, for example, Chapter Four, entitled Learning to Build and The Evolution of Tools and Symbolic Statues (1900 BCE - 400 BCE) includes Egyptian Dynasties, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Phoenicians, Etruscans, Shang and Zhou Dynasties, Late Jomon, Chavin, Olmec, and Mayan. All civilizations found around the world during this period. Some of the cultures traded with each other, and others lived in isolation; however, each culture had specialized artwork.

    At the end of each chapter are tables and questions comparing and contrasting each of the civilizations and how they created art. For example, at the end of Chapter Four, is a table of a specific building in each civilization, how they constructed the building, and the decorative elements, all allowing students to recognize the civilizations existing in the same period. The students learn the differences and similarities of how art affected different cultures.

    Art methods and art materials are located in the first chapter and help students identify terms quickly. Then every chapter incorporates the appropriate methods and materials used by the civilizations and artists in specific chapters with ties to how an artist uses a comprehensive view for introductory students to gain an understanding and appreciation of art.

    Enjoy the journey…

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