Guide to AP® Art History

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Global Prehistory

Where and when did art and human expression begin? Learn about shared characteristics of early art and how it helps us understand humans' place in the natural world.

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Art on Different Continents

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Ancient Mediterranean

The development of a systematic trade network in the Ancient Mediterranean led to a variety of artistic expressions that were influential in the classical world. Assess the influence of economics and cultural exchange on different artistic media. Pay close attention to the religious and cultural resonance of the period — from the rich polytheism of Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt to the gender norms of Ancient Rome.

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Art of the Ancient Near East

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Religion's Role in Near East Art

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The Art of Dynastic Egypt

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The Art of Ancient Greece and Rome

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Finding Context for Greek, Roman and Etruscan Art

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Early Europe and Colonial Americas

From priests to emperors, churches to castles, Medieval and Early European art betrays the deep impact of religious and political influence. You will also begin to explore the legacy of colonialism of these structures on the Colonial Americas.

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Divisions in the Study of European Medieval Art

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Medieval Art Derived From Various Influences

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Art From the Early Modern Atlantic World

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Changing Trends in Art and Architecture

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Religious Movements Lead to a Divergence

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Later Europe and Americas

The French and American Revolutions and the birth of calculus, capitalism, and modern scientific thought engendered deep artistic innovation in the form of Constructivism, Impressionism, Symbolism, and other new movements. Explore these genres and more and investigate the complex interplay between historical moments and the art they produce.

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Rapid Change and Innovation Inform Art

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Artists Assume New Roles in Society

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Art's New Role and Function in Society

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Indigenous Americas

What themes and events most concerned early Indigenous American art? Learn about a variety of functional art forms, including artifacts (like vessels and pots), paintings, and green materials (such as jadeite and turquoise).

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The World's Oldest Artistic Tradition

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Ancient Mesoamerica

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The Central Andes

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Africa

With art dating back over 70,0000 years, Africa is often considered the "Cradle of Humanity." From the earliest forms of rock art to the innovative works of the 20th century, African art has a rich and storied history shaped by some of the oldest civilizations in the world.

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Context, Use and Efficacy are Important in African Art

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West and Central Asia

From the Buddhist and Islamic traditions of figural art to the development of unique ceramics, textiles, metalwork, and calligraphy, this region provides a fascinating snapshot of how religious routes and trade networks have the power to impact art.

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Religious Arts United by Buddhism and Islam

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Figural Art in West and Central Asia

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South, East, and Southeast Asia

Some of the world's most sophisticated visual art has arisen in South, East, and Southeast Asia. Study the region's unique architectural developments, such as the Pagoda and learn about the development of various artistic tools such as Japanese woodblocks for printing.

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Ancient Traditions in South, East and Southeast Asia

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Religious and Philosophic Traditions in South and East Asia

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Artistic and Architectural Traditions' Roots

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Asian Art Was and Is Global

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The Pacific

With over 25,000 islands, the Pacific region is united by one thing: the ocean. The art of the region prominently incorporates nautical themes and explores the concept of isolation and separation.

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Pacific Art's Connection to Social Life

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Global Contemporary Art

The rise of technology and increasing global awareness characterize global contemporary art. As the Internet and other forms of technology democratize art and make it increasingly accessible to an ever-growing number and variety of people, new forms develop and emerge.

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Characterizations of Contemporary Art

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Understanding Contemporary Art in a Global Context

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