Art history as we know it in the 21st century began in the 19th century but has precedents that date to the ancient world. These scholars were largely responsible for establishing art history as a legitimate field of study in the English-speaking world, and the influence of Panofsky’s methodology, in particular, determined the course of American art history for a generation.
At the time of the Spanish conquest of Yucatán during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Maya were still powerful, but many communities were paying tribute to Aztec society The latter culture was thriving, and it included arts such as sculpture, painting, and feather mosaics.
While personal reminiscences of art and artists have long been written and read (see Lorenzo Ghiberti Commentarii, for the best early example), 8 it was Giorgio Vasari, the Tuscan painter, sculptor and author of the Lives of the Painters , who wrote the first true history of art.
For more about the history and artifacts of these cultures, see: Oceanic art (from the South Pacific and Australasia), African art (from all parts of the continent) and Tribal art (from Africa, the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, Burma, Australasia, North America, and Alaska).
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