Art Appreciation is a survey of the history of Western visual arts, with a primary focus on painting. Students begin with an introduction to the basic principles of painting and learn how to critique and compare works of art. Students then explore prehistoric and early Greek and Roman art before they move on to the Middle Ages. Emphasis is placed on the Renaissance and the principles and masters that emerged in Italy and northern Europe. Students continue their art tour with the United States during the 20th century, a time of great innovation as abstract art took center stage. While Western art is the course's primary focus, students will finish the course by studying artistic traditions from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.
Coverage of each artistic movement highlights historical context and introduces students to key artists that represent a variety of geographic locations. Throughout the course, students apply what they have learned about art critique to analyze and evaluate both individual artists and individual works of art.
Art Appreciation is based on national standards developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, as well as key state standards. It encompasses a variety of skills to enable students to critique, compare, and perhaps influence their own works of art.