Art is any form of expression created by humans that appeals to the senses or evokes emotions. It encompasses a wide range of activities, creations and ways of expressing ideas, and it is studied in the branch of philosophy known as aesthetics. Art is often viewed as having an objective, universal meaning that can be found in the work itself or in its historical context, but this meaning is also subjective and may be interpreted differently by different individuals.
Throughout history, art has been subject to a variety of philosophies and interpretations. Ancient philosophers theorized about art, and some even made criticisms of it. For example, Plato argued that paintings were only a “semblance of true existence,” whereas reality existed in the mind and in the idea of the thing itself.
From the beginning of human history, artists have created works to express their own ideas and feelings, as well as to communicate those of others. Those feelings can be aesthetic or moral. For example, a painting of a sad or sick person can cause viewers to pity the suffering depicted. In contrast, a work of humor can make people laugh. Aristotle wrote that the highest form of art was tragedy, because it elicits empathy with its characters and teaches lessons about life.
Modern and contemporary art is shaped by the era in which it is created, including the political, cultural and social conditions at the time. Some artists are influenced by their religion and beliefs, while others may be inspired by current events or personal experiences. In general, art is designed to connect with people on an emotional level, whether it inspires love or hate.
There are a few ways to teach art history to children. One way is to teach about a single artist or period at a time. Another is to focus on a specific type of art, such as sculpture or painting. This can be done by posting images on a bulletin board dedicated to art history, or by reading books about the particular topic.
There are also many textbooks available that cover art history from a more general perspective. These books typically cover topics from the earliest cave paintings through modern and contemporary art. This book, for instance, focuses on the development of art throughout the world and includes chapters on major movements, such as impressionism and abstract expressionism. This is a great book for beginners and those looking for a broad overview of art history.