Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time Period and Art.

One of the best ways to quickly identify a piece of silver is by understanding the decorative styles used in different time periods. The way a piece of the decorative arts is shaped generally shapes the popular conventions of what is considered ascetically pleasing.   I am still working on this process. The relationship between the fine arts and the decorative arts is a close one. 

Having asked several art professors how to get better at this the most common answer has been experience. Visiting museums or viewing a piece of the decorative arts on the internet I try to guess the time period, then look at the time period (checking myself) then learn the style. I have asked a few art professors what the best text is to learn the different movements and the unamious answer is Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Here is a link to the book on Amazon. This seems to be the book on art history. I used it in art history in college in the late nineties and it is still a popular text that is revised often (I think it may be in the 13th edition). New it can be a bit pricey but there are plenty of older copies knocking around. A good investment I think. Plus its size, makes it an impressive book to leave out on the table when your snooty friends come by.

Another source that gives a really quick overview specific to silver can be found here at Silver Fox Antiques.  They also have a general guide to dating silver here.  It is on a commercial website (which I neither support or deride) but it was nice of them to take the time to generate some educational material. They seem to specialize in antique silver. It would be nice of them to put some examples up but then again that is the sort of material that this blog can help to fill in. Like so many other things perhaps we will get to that.


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