Scholars who work in the area of art history apply the same academic protocol as scholars who specialize in other types of history.
Considered one of the finer 'art' forms, art is similar to poetry and music in its origins and development. Often described as the process of intentionally arranging items in a manner to invoke conscious thought or emotional response from the participants, the concept of art is wide-ranging and can encompass a number of graphical and abstract expressions.
The history of art traces the earliest art forms back to their roots and explores the way in which art has evolved and played a role in cultural development. As well as tracing art through its development and evolution, the history of art is also concerned with its development in terms of style, form and genre. How has art progressed and how have our impressions and ideology changed over time? Does art play the same role in society today as it did 1000 years ago?
A typical history of art course will delve deeply into the psychology behind each artist, or groups of artists. For what purpose were certain artistic pieces created? What was the importance of pre-historic cave murals or ancient hieroglyphs? To fully understand and appreciate the beauty of art as a form of expression, one must first understand the reasoning that gave birth to that expression.
For some introductory reading, and as a useful resource on the history of art, students should visit The World Wide Web Virtual Library: History of Art.