Art and History are two subjects that I study and enjoy very much, yet they are very different from each other in terms of knowledge. Art is a much weaker form of knowledge, because it is less factual and more about creativity and imagination. On the other hand, History is very factual, but like Art, it can be interpreted in many different ways.
Art is very fluid and constantly changing. Genres fall and new ones become popular, creating eras of art. That is why there are many eras and genres such as Renaissance, romanticism, baroque, and now, modern art. There are much fewer rules in art than in other subjects like math or sciences. Art is always open to interpretation, and what one person sees in an artwork may be very different to what another person sees in the same piece of artwork. There is the term ‘there is no wrong in art’, which can be argued with, but generally, art is very free. In modern day art, many contemporary artists paint very simple pieces, sometimes just a line across a canvas or a circle in the centre. Some people, such as myself personally, do not like this very simple style of artwork. Some people even fail to see it as ‘artwork’, yet the paintings sell for millions of dollars. Therefore, we can conclude that the rules in art are very flexible and free, and that art is not a fixed way of knowledge because of its changing styles and multiple meanings.
History lies somewhere in the middle in the scale of ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ knowledge. While a lot of historical knowledge is quite fixed, it can be subject to change as research develops and new discoveries are made. A case where this happened was the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, when the royal family – the Romanovs – were assassinated. For years, people thought one of the princesses escaped and might have lived, until her bones were found close to her family’s assassination site and a DNA test confirmed it was the princess. Usually, this only occurs for very secretive and mysterious events or events that happened a long time ago that have no living witnesses and clear written records. There is also the matter of conspiracy theories. However, the historical knowledge is going to be fixed and declared as true until proven otherwise. For example, we know that it is a historical fact that the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes on September 11, 2001. However, there are conspiracy theories that claim George Bush was at fault for the terror attack, yet it is considered false until proven true. History is also open to interpretation, although the public generally always decide on one solid fixed opinion. However, individuals can have their own personal view towards it. The opinions are always very argumentative, like whether or not the Treaty of Versailles was fair, which people have disagreed over and written historical papers on. However, these research questions and essays can provide unbiased information to better answer the question, providing reasons and facts that show both sides of the argument. Therefore, we can conclude that while historical facts are mostly fixed, the interpretations can be open for debate.