What are the reasons for linking art and history?

Primary History article

By Hilary Cooper, published 30th July 2008

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content and links may be outdated.

Visual images, paintings, sculpture, photographs, cartoons from past times are important historical sources. Accordingly, Simon Schama embeds visual images and imagery in his historical oeuvre, not primarily as illustration but as a crucial part of the warp and weft of evidentially grounded narrative and analysis. Schama has married History and Art in articles, books and supremely through the visual medium of television and DVD. His BBC series, The Power Of Art graphically illustrates the combined educational power of Art and History Arnheim: ‘Every visual pattern, be it a painting, a building, an ornament, a chair .... every work of art is a statement about something which makes a declaration about the nature of human existence'. Illustrations in books can demonstrate how and why interpretations vary. Paintings, drawings, replica artefacts made by children can develop either detailed observation of sources or historical imagination. Can there be more fundamental reasons for combining history and art?...

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