Art history as a university independent science arose in the second half of the XIX century. Separating from the historical science, art history has firmly taken its place among the humanities: at the universities the departments of theory and history of art are opening, preparing specialists, for the first time there are special scientific journals of purely art history. For a century and a half art criticism gave rise to the names of brilliant scientists who wrote theoretical works, attributed unknown works, studied all periods of the history of the artistic development of mankind, as well as schools were defined, methods were developed in the study and understanding of works of art. Modern art history as an active creative phenomenon has tremendous possibilities, because it relies on a new tool for interdisciplinary research. When studying the era, style, creativity of an individual artist, contemporary art historians synthesize the entire cultural spectrum of the given time, tracing the connection of art, philosophy, religion. Strive to capture the whole worldview context of the era.
Art history consists of three sections: art history, art theory and art criticism. The German scientist Johann Winkelmann (1717-1768) wrote the first work on the history of art in the 18th century. In the “History of the Art of Antiquity” were systematized knowledge of the art of antiquity. Numerous archaeological discoveries and scientific research have expanded the boundaries of art history. The creation and opening of museums played a huge role in the development of science. Masterpieces of art for the first time became available for public viewing. The basis of state museums was made up of royal and private collections. Thus, the first public museum in Europe was the Louvre, which was opened in 1793. Systematic scientific research of collections was necessary. The basis of museum activity was the study and attribution of works of painting, graphics and sculpture, since in any collection there was always a huge number of works of unknown authors or questionable authorship that required an art expert examination.
By the beginning of XX century. There was a general history of fine art, where the full forty-five-thousand-year artistic development of mankind was found with the following periodization: primitive art, the art of the Ancient East, antiquity, the art of the Middle Ages, the art of modern times, the art of modern times, the art of postmodernism.