Tradition of figure drawing in Northern-European art

Anita Loomis


One question posed by art history is how does a mode of artistic interpretation, i.e. an art form, develop? The question may focus purely on the changes taking place in such a development, which are attributed to internal modification within the art form itself and to the availability of art forms from other traditions. But the question may be broadened to include historical and cultural factors outside the realm of art proper. Sometimes historical and cultural factors are necessary to explain how and why a particular art form develops as it does. If a new influence whose origin is uncertain but is suspected to be related to a given tradition with similar characteristics appears in an art form, historical facts may help to verify the probability that the influence has indeed come from that tradition. If a given art form is readily available to each of two different traditions and the one absorbs and assimilates it readily while the other does not, cultural factors may give a clue to the reasons.