A study of art history might be a good way to learn more about a culture than is possible to learn in general history classes. Most typical history courses concentrate on politics, economics and war. But art history focuses on much more than this because art reflects not only the political values of a people, but also religious beliefs, emotions and psychology. In addition, information about the daily activities of our ancestors can be provided by art. (78)In short, art expresses the essential qualities of a time and a place, and a study of it clearly offers us a deeper understanding than can be found in most history books.
In history books, objective information about the political life of a country is presented; that is, facts about politics are given, but opinions are not expressed. Art, on the other hand, is subjective (主观的): it reflects emotions and opinions. The great Spanish painter Francisco Goya was perhaps the first truly "political" artist. In his well-known painting The Third of May, 1808, he criticized the Spanish government for its abuse (滥用) of power over people.
In the same way, art can reflect a culture's religious beliefs. For hundreds of years in Europe, religious art had been almost the only type of art that existed. Churches and other religious buildings were filled with paintings that described people and stories from the Bible. Although most people couldn't read, they could still understand the Bible stories in the pictures on church walls. By contrast, one of the main characteristics of art in the Middle East was (and still is) its absence of human and animal images. This reflects the Islamic belief that statues (雕像) are not holy.
More can be learned about a culture from a study of art history than general history because ______.