What we know of Art History today actually has its roots back to the 19th century, but what the study is about, dates back to the ancient world. The art historians depend on the semiotics, formal analysis, iconography and psychoanalysis for understanding the history of a piece of art. After the World War II when photographic imitation and printing techniques improved, reproduction of artworks became easier. Technologies as such have tremendously helped the study of Art History to progress in profound ways, as they have facilitated easy evaluation of objects. Thus, the study of visual arts can be described as a practice that involves understanding social significance, context and form of art.
The chronological pillar of the study is the commemorative history of beautiful creations commissioned by public or religious bodies or prosperous individuals in Western Europe. A renowned example is “canon” which remains prominent to this day, and even has its mention on the history textbooks. However, there has been an effort made since the 20th century, to define the study to be more comprehensive of non-western art.
In the modern years, Art History has come up as a study that focusses in educating people how to assess and construe works of art established on their own perception. Often, Art history has been criticized for its biased nature, because every individual has their own point of view of seeing and defining things. The study of Art History teaches you to appraise what you see based on the art forms that you know already. This eventually develops your aesthetic understanding of a piece of art.
Those interested in the study of Art History are taught how to evaluate artefacts by numerous methods. It is difficult to understand the subject without knowing about the methods.