History of Art Personal Statement Example

"Alright, I'm here, so what's the big deal with this art thing?". Most people step into a museum and have no idea what they're doing. They are blissfully unaware of two things: one, art is not a concept exclusive to museums; and two, looking is easy, but seeing is the tricky part. So, they look around a few rooms for an hour or two, choose the "prettiest" of the bunch as their favorite piece, and might even try to read the information on signs nearby, but give up after realizing it does not explain the artwork at hand. This had been my own experience for as long as I could remember. I was always left frustrated and dissatisfied when as a kid, I would leave these supposedly legendary museums like El Prado or The Metropolitan feeling like I had been staring at computer desktop backgrounds for an hour. Nonetheless, I still wanted to go back and try again, to see if this time would be different because what I did understand was that there was something I was missing.

As it turns out, the key came in asking the right questions, the most basic and complex of which was simply "what is art?". It took me a while to realize that there was more to it than paintings and sculptures, and this epiphany came from film. Having watched anything from Hollywood classics to animated television shows from a young age, film had been an easier to digest version of fundamental concepts such as lighting, color, texture, and framing, and I quickly became fixated on video essays explaining the evolution and use of these techniques to better communicate story points to the viewer. I eventually applied them on my own to other works outside of film. It became particularly useful academically during an analysis of the film The King's Speech (2010), in which I compared its cinematography techniques to the style of french impressionist painters, and displayed the effects of context both in the creation of the film and the story itself.

However, music was my more immediate introduction to the importance of context. Within my household, you can find someone listening to baroque composers, rock and roll icons, or pop princesses at any given moment, and understanding the situation each artist found themselves in, both personally and historically, became the most interesting part of any conversation. It is expected to apply one's own emotions or perspective into their perception of anything, but knowing what led each artist to create a certain piece made it that much more intricate, as it now held an infinite amount of different meanings and interpretations. Even if the original intent was simply to create something aesthetically pleasing, or to pay the rent, this just makes grasping how it became something so important to other people that much more fascinating. It became a personal matter when I began to develop artistically and found myself with sincere empathy and appreciation of artists' need to feel seen, and awareness of the deep emotional impact art can have. It also drew my attention towards the techniques they used, and how they themselves found inspiration in their own idols.

I now find myself in their place, wanting to understand them better, to know the situation they created in, to see what they hid from the untrained eye and how they did so, in hopes of bringing the lessons they learned into my own work. Not only this, but I also hope to avoid that same sense of bewilderment that I had for so long in others, and to make the experience of interpretation something based on research and cultivated opinion rather than just a guessing game based on instinct.

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Author's Comments

Here's my number one tip: these people read hundreds of these a day. Be different and stand out from the beginning, and then explain yourself. I got into all my choices and I'll be heading to the Courtauld Institute of Art. I'm an international student from Spain btw, don't know if it's relevant but I'll include it.

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