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Architecture in itself is an art that involves designing and constructing structures in accordance with certain professional principles - relating intangible symbols on drawn on a piece of paper to the actual work to be done on the ground such as buildings It date back to early seventeenth and eighteenth century and later spread to other parts of the world. Advancement of this technology to other parts of the world met new challenges -especially at the society level- due to the society's urge for new and/ or to improve existing architectural styles. It has also evolved through influence by other factors for instance such as political economic and technology. All these have made architecture to be recognized as a new profession in which amateur craftsmen started to train in.
However, architecture has faced a lot of constraints like any other discipline in professional fields. This has occurred due to different perspectives emanating from different cultures - between the West and the East. Early in the nineteenth century, the field of architecture was considered formally to recognize characteristics such as traditional techniques technique and/ or materials. During this period, people professional architects emerged as amateurs with various architectural styles. Hatt and Klonk (2006), notes that with respect to the above, architectural history is therefore 'a sub discipline of art history that focuses on the historical evolution of principles and styles in the design of buildings and cities.' Thus, it led to interpretation of architecture in new perspectives under the postmodern pluralism by some theorists. For instance, in the mid 20th century, theories were raised that tried to interpret architectural elements in various languages. Such approaches include the Critical Theory project and Hermeneutics (Saalman, 1993).
These both approaches identifies architecture as a phenomena and as a sort of language, even though they differ in terms of reference whereby the critical theory is more oriented to self-refential compared to contextual perspective of Hermeneutics (Ibid, 1993). It is thus viewed that metaphysical influences of earlier perceived theories, technological advancement in the modern world, capitalism views, and/ or neo-liberalism to have a stake in the current wave of change in architecture as a discipline. Saalam (1993) further states that with the awareness by some cultures/societies, of the former colonialists' influence on their architecture, they have therefore embarked on programs to re-examine their architecture. This aims at liberating their architectural history from western-oriented doctrines which they perceive to be unsuitable.
The architectural history has therefore been established as discipline in the Western countries and this is evident considering the significant magnitude of historical clarity they possess as opposed to non-western culture. He further states that the tracing the architectural history is complicated more by the west's colonialism. However the postmodern historical perspectives have of late tried to address about both historical perceptions, but this has been hampered by wider scope of the subject matter. It has also been the caused historians to time and again change their individual opinions.
Art history has been from the past been studied best based on eras -time- and regions -places in which the particular developments took place. This study might also be done based on sub-fields. Ancient art is more specifically studied in the ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt either independently or in combination. This depended upon whether there are any common pieces of art that are shared. Fitzpatrick (1992), describes some of the art history alliances that have been studied as Greece versus Rome and Indian versus Korean. Over the time, art history has been chronologically noted into various segments. He states that the earliest surviving historical art to have been documented regarding the Greek's architecture. This dates back to AD 77-79. This art history has therefore aided in tracing possibly the first art historian, a Greek sculptor who lived 280BC by the name Xenokrates of Sicyon (McAndrew, 1980). Other historical art similar to this one has been studied in China about calligraphic writers. Besides, the art work has been used for comparative studies of the Renaissance views.
McAndrew (1980), quotes Giorgio Vasari as the first person to have written 'the first true history of art. Although Giorgio's work has received much criticism, because of his preference to feature his fellow countrymen (thus biased), it gives an insight into early development of historical art (9). He gives him credit to have studied much about progression of art and its development in the early years. With passage of time and some scholars, for instance Johann Joachim (1717-1768) opposed Vasari's biased art work. He argued 'that the real emphasis in the study of art should be the views of the learned beholder and not the unique viewpoint of the charismatic artist.' McAndrew (1980). His work is therefore regarded to have triggered criticism of historical art. He further mentions that Johann Joachim critiqued the artistic extremes of Rococo forms and was inspirational in reforming the taste and favor of the more sober neoclassicism. Johann is also accredited for distinguishing between the eras of olden art and correlating historical style and world history.
Another historical figure, Hinrich Wolfflin (1865-1945), is considered to be the father of modern art history. He adopted a scientific approach in historical art by various concepts. He first studied art using psychology. Hinrich argued that its only art and architecture would have been best if it was used to give a picture of human body; that if facades of houses resembled human faces. He also considered an approach whereby, could have studied through comparison so as to make distinctions of style and finally authored a book. It depicted how stylistic periods differed from one another. Uniquely, he proposed the creation of art history without bibliographies of arti8sts unlike Giorgio Vasari. The last approach he used was nationhood which tried to determine whether there was any inherent relationship between Italian and German art styles.
At the same Hinrich Wolfflin came up with his ideologies regarding art history, Riegl and Franz Wickhoff, from the Vienna School of Art history, re-evaluated and wrote about the periods in art history that had been neglected. They were the pioneer students to do this but later after another group of professors, which included 'Julius von Schlosser, Hans Tietze, and Karl Maria Swoboda' ,just to mention a few, developed a total art-historical methodology (Hugh, 1991). They were opposed to some approaches such as patronage and iconography and preferred instead the aesthetic attributes of art work. In the early 1920s, Erwin Panofsky and Aby Warburg, developed iconography -writing symbols- concept. This later culminated into iconology that refers to all types of art work. Erwin conceptualized iconography in a classical context and Renaissance views. They are accredited with initiating art history as a profession especially in America (Ibid, 1991).
A number of psychological theories were introduced in art historical study. Such, was introduced by Freud Simund who tried to psychoanalyze the artistic work -paintings- of Loeonardo da Vinci to determine the artist's psyche. This came to be referred to as psychoanalysis. This approach was also applied by Carl Jung who emphasized that by exploring dreams, art mythology, religion and philosophy, it would have been easier to understand an individuals' psyche. He explored a lot of the art history of the East and West. Jung questioned the notion of modern human beings to rely much heavily on science rather than also 'integrating spirituality and the appreciation of unconscious realm' (Ibid, 1991).
Hugh (1991) notes in his work that it is in the mid 20th century, that art historians used critical approaches so as to embrace history from social aspect. Marxism is one such theory that tried to examine correlation between art and societal aspects such as, economy and ideologies, which were contained in art images. For instance, Clement Greenberg and Meyer Scapiro are some of the Marxist historians of the 20th century. Meyer is remembered mostly for his study on sculpture and Renaissanance. Later in the 20th century, the feminism art history was examined. It tried to critically analyse the role of women in art in the past but more specifically concentrated on their role in the modern world. Semiontic view has also been developed to interpret the meaning contained in art objects.
Over the time, various perspectives which have developed includes among others, the Neo-classical, Renaissance, Liberalism, and both contemporary structuralism and post-structuralism. Neo-classicism was a revolution in art and architecture in the 18th and19th century that was mostly concerned with decorative arts characterized by order, symmetry and style simplicity. This involved a new way of interpreting principles of Classical architecture which was based on the order -a unit of design classified according to the type of design used. For instance, there were three orders in the Greek architecture; Doric, Corinthian, and Ionic. It's inclusive of Federal, Classical-Revival, and Greek-Revival styles. Classical revival style was popular in the period between 1770-1830 whereas Greek Revival style prevailed between 1830-1850. The neo-classical style art structures were characterized by monumentality and columns; application of ornamentation, absence of moldings; and use of both Greek and Roman orders. Most of the buildings in this style had a smooth symmetrical façade, unadorned roof line, and ornamental elements that usually surrounded the floor (Hugh, 1991).
Renaissance architecture prevailed in the years early 15th -17th centuries. It emphasized the revolution and or development of antique cultural and material styles of the Greek and Roman. Renaissance architecture, a replacement of medieval architecture, was strongly oriented on symmetry, geometry, and the regularity of structural parts. However, it concentrated more on ancient Roman architecture which was the widely available source. Art historians usually divide Renaissance into various designations that include: Quattro cento (1400-1500) - in which architectural concepts were re-examined and new rules formulated; High Renaissance (1500-1525)-approaches were borrowed from classical theories; Mannerism (1520-1600)-where architects made experimentations by making use of architectural structures to stress the relevance of the solid-spatial relationships (McAndrew, 1980).
Renaissance architecture had some specific features which were later adopted and advanced by Classical architects. These included: plan - buildings had a square symmetrical appearance; façade -symmetrically round vertical axis; columns and pilasters -such as Tuscan and Ionic; arches-semi circular and segmental; vaults -segmental and on square plan; domes -a means of roofing; ceilings; doors -with square lintels; windows -in a semicircular arch; walls -highly finished straight courses; and details -which were precisely curved. The theory of structuralism came about in the middle of 20th century and it critiqued the ideologies of International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM) - that perceived architecture as a political-economic model. Thus it aimed at recognizing the personality of the urban residents and forms. Besides it implies a referral to these forms of design and construction.
These theories have to a great extent influenced the transformation of the modern world architecture: architecture has therefore been recognized as a profession.