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Art 1010, Midterm study guide

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Art 1010, Midterm study guide Art 1010

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These notes cover the midterm material, Modules 1-6.
Introduction to Visual Arts
Kamree Gale
Study Guide
Art, Art History
50 ?




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This 79 page Study Guide was uploaded by Jessica on Thursday October 13, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to Art 1010 at Utah Valley University taught by Kamree Gale in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Visual Arts in Art, Art History at Utah Valley University.


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Date Created: 10/13/16
5 things art can do for viewers: 1 Keeps them hopeful 2 Makes them less lonely 3 Rebalances them 4 Helps them to appreciate stuf 5 Art is propaganda for what really matters 5 Issues with Art: 1 Artists 2 Beauty 3 Devotion 4 Society and economics 5 Personal preference Quiz 1 1 Nazi "degenerate art" was art considered "sickly" 2 Times featured Jackson Pollock 3 Cave paintings featured a pig 4 Egyptians believed thoughts and emotions were contained in the heart, not the brain 5 Greeks tried to portray the ideal body 6 Beauty is the expression through art of wealth and power 7 Open art market artists created without a patron in mind 8 Aniconic phase disallowed art to portray a visual image of divine 9 2.5 mil artists in 2000 10 2-3 mil attended Entarete Kunst exhibition With some of the earliest artworks dating back to over 30,000 years ago, and with millions of artists spanning the ages, we cannot assume that all artists have the same objectives, intentions, or desired messages. Artworks are as diverse as fingerprints or snowflakes. Artists reflect their unique perspectives, drawing from their own cultures, experiences, memories, and traditions. An artist’s view of the world strongly impacts the message being communicated through their work. Some artists record the world the way they see it, or the way they think we should see it. Some want to educate; others simply want to express or evoke feelings. Some artists hope to tell a story or record a historical moment; others seek to push the boundaries of what art can be. Some artists create because they are paid to; others create for their own enjoyment and expression, or perhaps as a way of expressing religious or spiritual beliefs. Is it possible for us, as viewers, to truly understand a work of art without knowing what the artist was intending to communicate? The artist’s objective is always an important starting point for appreciating any work of art. One of the oldest known works of art, The Tree of Life has been dubbed as “cave graffiti”. Because we don’t know who made it, it becomes a challenge to figure out why it was created and what it means. I don’t know about you, but looking at a hand stenciled on a cave that is nearly 40,000 years old is both fascinating and frustrating. What is it supposed to mean? Does it have special symbolic or religious significance? Is it a marker of a particular place or Rite of Passage? Or is the joke on us for trying to figure it out? Is it possible that some early caveman just got something on his hand and wiped it of on the wall of his cave? What we can find out from this work of art is very important to archaeologists and historians. Seeing these creations places humans in Indonesia at about 40,000 years ago. Seeing early artworks like this help us track and better understand the ancient human migration patterns. With some of the earliest artworks dating back to over 30,000 years ago, and with millions of artists spanning the ages, we cannot assume that all artists have the same objectives, intentions, or desired messages. Artworks are as diverse as fingerprints or snowflakes. Artists reflect their unique perspectives, drawing from their own cultures, experiences, memories, and traditions. An artist’s view of the world strongly impacts the message being communicated through their work. Some artists record the world the way they see it, or the way they think we should see it. Some want to educate; others simply want to express or evoke feelings. Some artists hope to tell a story or record a historical moment; others seek to push the boundaries of what art can be. Some artists create because they are paid to; others create for their own enjoyment and expression, or perhaps as a way of expressing religious or spiritual beliefs. Is it possible for us, as viewers, to truly understand a work of art without knowing what the artist was intending to communicate? The artist’s objective is always an important starting point for appreciating any work of art. One of the oldest known works of art, The Tree of Life has been dubbed as “cave graffiti”. Because we don’t know who made it, it becomes a challenge to figure out why it was created and what it means. I don’t know about you, but looking at a hand stenciled on a cave that is nearly 40,000 years old is both fascinating and frustrating. What is it supposed to mean? Does it have special symbolic or religious significance? Is it a marker of a particular place or Rite of Passage? Or is the joke on us for trying to figure it out? Is it possible that some early caveman just got something on his hand and wiped it of on the wall of his cave? What we can find out from this work of art is very important to archaeologists and historians. Seeing these creations places humans in Indonesia at about 40,000 years ago. Seeing early artworks like this help us track and better understand the ancient human migration patterns. Jackson Pollock was one of the most famous modern artists of his time. In fact, in 1949,Life magazine even ran an article on him and headlined the question, "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?" Pollock was able to contribute to a growing art movement in New York and was able to express emotions and feelings through dripping paint onto un-primed canvas. Pollock revolutionized the art market in the United States and help bring the modern art age to New York. Pablo Picasso almost single-handedly created the style called Cubism, an avant-garde art movement in the early 20 thcentury. He also is credited for being an artist who brought recognition to the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War with his works of art. Picasso continually reinvented himself and his art, constantly changing styles during his very long career, which spanned from the late 1800s all the way until his death in 1973. When he died, he was one of the richest artists of his time. A court-appointed auditor valued his estate at between $100 and $250 million. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $530 million to $1.3 billion today! While we would probably all agree that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, does the same hold true for our perception of beauty? Is beauty definable and universal? Are things deemed beautiful unchanging and fixed? Does beauty change from culture to culture, era to era? The answer is yes. Beauty is a fascinating topic to study because the concept of beauty is ever changing and subjective. Beauty difers according to time period, geographic location, style, religion, personal taste, and even economics. For example, back in the Middle Ages, being plump was a symbol of wealth, because people simply did not have the resources to eat well. Having a little surplus weight signified that one was not just wealthy, but also, powerful. For example, notice the imposing figures of the men below, who were French Ambassadors to the English court of Henry VIII back in the sixteenth century. Let’s expand our understanding of the connection points between beauty of power with the writing of David Lance Giones, who asserted: Beauty is the expression through art of wealth and power. The vehicle by which beauty comes into the world is art; anticipating the ideals of wealth and power, art gives form to the standards by which society judges itself. Art creates beauty. Art is the vanguard of taste, trumpeting fashion before it actually exists. Art, like science, goes where the money is. If you follow the history of art, you also follow the history of political power. Where is the nexus of culture? Why, it is always where the most impressive military and economic society of the day holds sway. Babylonia, Egypt, Athens, Rome, Florence, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo. These are, or have been, centers of beauty, taste and art. Not coincidentally, these also are or were centers of political and financial power. Artists are paid to tell everybody what beauty is, and to display that beauty for the glorification of their patrons. See: S06/docs/art_beauty.pdf (Links to an external site.) What does all of this mean to us? Not only does it mean that the concept of beauty is more complex than we might have first imagined, it also means that we cannot simply impose our twenty-first century viewpoint on the past, or even on dissimilar contemporaneous cultures. To illustrate this point, let’s consider the work of Peter Paul Rubens, who was a Flemish artist of the 1600s. Rubens, who was himself wealthy and educated, painted for royal courts and wealthy aristocrats across Europe, like Marie de Medici of France. His images are relatively easy to spot, because of his depiction of the female ideal. Rubens, The Three Graces, 1636-38 Rubens, Venus at the Mirror, 1614- Sarah Morris, UK Vogue (oil on canvas). 15 (oil on canvas). Magazine. Kate Moss on the Cover, 2000 As we’ve already noted, a little weight on one’s bones was a symbol of wealth during previous eras. But there is another dimension with Rubens’ women, which is more closely related to gender: the idea of fertility. The concept of fertility, conception and childbirth played a very strong role in art before the twentieth century. The fleshiness of Rubens’ nudes symbolized the idea of bounty, abundance, and fruitfulness. In a time of a very high infant mortality rate, it was not uncommon for women (even queens) to give birth to 15+ children, with only a few surviving infancy. Today, the media ideal of female beauty (again, the media ideal) is very diferent from the Ruben-esque ideal of the 1600s. How beauty is shown in art not only reflects, but also afects society. Think about the recent backlash against the use of Photoshop in the media. See: pagewanted=all&_r=0 (Links to an external site.) . Many of us would agree that the constant bombardment from the media of “perfect” figures, competitions, and faces is disconcerting and perhaps even psychologically disturbing, but the visual creation of a perfect ideal is nothing knew. In the end, when studying art we need to have a general idea of beauty. We need to know why something was considered beautiful and if it had an impact on the society that produced it. Younger Memnon (Ramses II), Polykleitos, Doryphoros, Fra Filippo Lippi, Madonna and approximately 1250 BCE (carved 440 BCE (marble). During Child with Two Angels, 1465 rock). It is doubtful that ancient the classical period, the (tempera paint on wood panel). Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II looked ancient Greeks sought to As we have already learned, the standards of female beauty exactly like this, but portraits ofconvey perfect idealism pharaohs were often idealized, so in their artworks. The have changed over the years. In that they represented the idea of Doryphoros is based on a addition to time periods and leadership and power rather than system of mathematical external factors, trends and fads individualized features. Because ofratios, used in an efort have also afected what was this, portraits of pharaohs diferedto portray “perfect” (and is) considered beautiful. little from century to century. proportions of the human This religious painting shows an male body. interesting worldly trend – Mary has a plucked hairline. High foreheads were considered very beautiful in the 1400s-1600s, and women often plucked their hairlines in order to achieve this desired efect. What role does art play in beliefs and religions? Religion and art are almost as old as the first humans themselves. Throughout the ages, art has been used to communicate and to teach about religious and spiritual beliefs. Art has also been used to reflect religious values and tenets, often through the use of symbols and iconography. It has also been used as an aid to personal devotion and private worship. Many religions today incorporate into their belief systems scriptures, religious texts, and primary source accounts, such as letters and journals that record religious beliefs and practices. However, religious art can also be a very strong resource to understanding belief systems and values. In some cases, art is the primary tool historians have to piece together the belief systems of the ancient past. Ancient Egypt is one of those ancient cultures that without art would be very difficult, even impossible, to understand. We know from the art they produced that gods were an incredibly important part of their everyday life and even the afterlife. Weighing of the Heart from Sesostris, Book of the Dead. c. 1,800 BCE (papyrus scroll) Weighing of the Heart from Sesostris, Book of the Dead. c. 1,800 BCE (papyrus scroll) The heart was believed to be the center of thought memory and emotion in Ancient Egypt. Egyptians believed they would be judged on their works during their lifetime by having their heart taken out and weighed before the god Osiris – the god of the dead and afterlife. The heart was believed to be weighed on gigantic scales against a feather – the symbol of truth order and justice. If the heart balanced with the feather then that person was granted a happy afterlife. If it weighed heavy with the sins of wrongdoings it would be eaten by the beast Ammit. Historians are able to piece together the Ancient Egyptian belief system from ancient hieroglyphics and works of art they left behind. Does art afect society or does society afect art? Who determines what art is worth? A work of art cannot just be a skillfully rendered image of lines and colors and shapes to be considered great. The society that produced it also needs to find that it is great. Historically, political leaders typically have the had the power to determine what art is remarkable or not: King Louis XIV favored extravagance, Napoleon enjoyed art that was idealized and heroic, the "Founding Fathers" of the United States favored art that communicated honesty, industriousness, and enlightenment. Often, the success of an artist or the prominence of particular artistic styles is simply a product of the society and/or economy that produced it. The visual arts can be a very powerful form of communication to the masses. Art can be used to serve for or against a social movement. Art has often been used to convey political sentiments and platforms. Think of a world without political propaganda. Would Lenin have been able to stage his communist revolution without his visual propaganda? Would a presidential candidate be able to win an election without using the visual arts to convey his message? Societies will almost always determine what art is “good art” and art will almost always reflect the society that produced it. October Revolution Poster, Soviet Union, 1917 Shepard Fairey, HOPE, 2008 J.M.Flagg, What does art mean to you? How does your definition fit with other viewpoints on art? Prior to the modern age, art was controlled by wealthy collectors and patrons who determined what was worth producing and why. Patrons—those who commission works of art—often dictated what artworks would look like, from subject matter to size to style. If artists deviated from the patron’s wishes, they would run the risk of not being paid. Until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the most common patrons in Europe were royalty, the aristocracy, and the Catholic Church. A typical day for the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. Tourists elbow their way to the front to get a glimpse of the 30 x 21 inch painting. The typical viewing time of the painting is 15 seconds, just enough time to snap a picture, which, incidentally, is behind glass, after having been both stolen and attacked over the years. Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Duchamp. L.H.O.O.Q Lisa, 1503-06 Today, artists usually produce art without a specific patron in mind. This is called the “open market”, which developed during the last few centuries. Artists often specialize in a certain type of art, which they hope to sell for the highest price they can reach. In the modern world, artworks are often sold through galleries, with agents taking a percentage of the selling price. Art can also be sold through auction, or simply outright from an artist to a buyer. The selling price and popularity of artworks in today’s world is afected by a range of factors, including the opinions of critics, art experts, historians, authors, auctioneers, museum curators, and gallerists, as well as collectors themselves, who usually come from a high net worth background. In short, the value of art is not always based purely on popular personal preference. Certain works of art have been selected over the years as being the most highly prized or valued. These are works you have seen hundred times already in a myriad of contexts, even if you don’t know their names. The Mona Lisa is a perfect example—how many times have you seen this painting, even without studying art history? Mona Lisa is referred to or portrayed in countless books, songs, and films. You can find her face gracing every possible surface including not just prints and postcards, but souvenir mugs, aprons, t-shirts, phone cases, and tote bags. The Mona Lisa is ubiquitous; she is often hailed as the ultimate portrait. But what if you don’t actually like the Mona Lisa? Have you ever stopped to really look at the portrait? Does it really send your heart aflutter and your blood pumping through your veins? Instructor Insights “I remember the first time I went to see Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa; I was so excited. I had studied Da Vinci, loved his works and had almost cried when I saw the Last Super in person. However, being in a cramped museum with a gazillion and a half people around me and pushing forward to see this not-so-beautiful lady in a tiny frame behind glass was SO not what I had in mind. I was totally let down by the piece. While da Vinci is one of my favorite artists, I absolutely HATE the Mona Lisa. I am convinced the only reason why she is so famous is because of the stories and mythology surrounding the piece. While, in reality, I know that is not the only reason why Mona is so famous, I simply just do not like her." Did you Know? On average the Mona Lisa is visited by 6 million people per year. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Mona Lisa as having the highest insurance value EVER for a painting. Today she is insured for about $780,000,000. If you would like more information on the Mona Lisa, see: gherardini-wife-francesco-del-giocondo (Links to an external site.) The viewer’s relationship with art can be sophisticated, academic, emotional, or casual. Opinions about what “art is” change over time and evolve just as much as fashion and style. As viewers of art, we participate in each work of art as we see and reflect what our personal preference may be. Art can mean something diferent to each individual person. Studying art takes some introspection to decide what you enjoy and why. It doesn’t mean your preferences won’t change over time, but it isn’t bad to not like a work of art that everyone else loves. It also isn’t bad to love the piece of art that is found in your local museum that nobody else could care less about. Deep down, art is as much about the viewer as it is the actual work. It is imperative for the rest of this course that you understand where you stand on art but also have an open mind to new works, artists, and styles that you will be introduced to. If you would like to find out what the 10 most expensive auction items have been in the world, click the links below. Why do you think people are willing to spend SO much money on art and other items? How do you think personal preference plays into the acquisition and selling of goods? In this module, we will cover seven primary elements: 1. Line 2. Shape 3. Form 4. Space 5. Texture 6. Value 7. Color At its fundamental core, art is a method of communication. From pictographs to comic books and from hieroglyphs to Renaissance paintings, art is a tool of visual communication. We have all heard the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This idiom holds true when using artworks as a key to understanding culture, history, or even psychology. You will soon discover for yourself that history is much easier to remember after seeing it depicted in an artwork, as opposed to simply reading about it in a book. Eugene Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, 1830 (oil on canvas) and the cover for Viva La Vida by Coldplay. It’s difficult not to feel swept away with feelings of revolutionary fervor after seeing Delacroix’s masterpiece based on the three-day “July” Revolution of France. Without the painting to remind us what it felt like to be in Paris during the summer of 1830, many might forget this important page in history. But Liberty Leading the People creates a mental image for us to recall—from the fallen barricades and chaotic street fighting to the smoke- choked air and spires of Notre Dame in the distance. This iconic painting has lived on through the ages, as seen with the cover of Viva La Vida. Artworks are like reservoirs of information, presented as a visual language. But we should remember, just as languages have rules, systems and norms, so do the arts. We call these systems the formal fundamentals, or the primary elements of art. Think of the formal fundamentals as a type of vocabulary. All artists employ these basics in some way. Just as a writer selects certain words to convey a thought or a feeling, so does an artist use certain visual qualities to convey a mood, message, or narrative. Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso were legendary rivals (frenemies, one might say). Both artists wanted to be the top modern painters in Paris in the first decades of the twentieth century. While Picasso might have been more prolific, both artists got their wish—their work completely changed the direction of modern and contemporary art. Also, both were also very interested in exploring the first fundamental: line. A line in art is exactly what it sounds like—a mark on a surface, made with a pencil, pen, paintbrush or the like. Lines can be thick or thin, noticeable or even invisible, as with implied lines. Lines can create forms, shapes, and patterns. They can be straight, curved, zigzag, dotted, horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Although these aspects line are relatively elementary, two terms you might not be aware of are: gesture and contour. Gesture lines are the types of lines we might call sketchy or loose; they usually convey a sense of movement. Contour lines, on the other hand, delineate the outer edges of forms and surface shapes. With contour drawings, the subject is reduced to lines only. Such drawings are extremely important for creating foundations for more complicated drawings and paintings. Although the terms shape and form might seem interchangeable, they actually are not. Shapes are flat and two-dimensional, while forms are three-dimensional (either literally or implied). Both shape and form are extremely important elements, as they give structure to an artwork. They can also impart significant symbolic and psychological meaning. Let’s explore the use of both elements in art. Pablo Picasso, The Joan Miro, Dutch Interior I, 1928 Jean Arp, Shirt Front and Fork, 1922 (oil on Aficionado, 1912 (oil on (oil on canvas). canvas). canvas). Shapes come in two basic varieties: geometric and organic. Geometric shapes are the basic, or regular shapes we’ve been familiar with since we were in preschool: squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles. As simple as these building blocks sound, artists rely heavily on geometric shapes to create both simple and complex compositions. Shape has even influenced the development of entire art styles. Organic shapes, on the other hand, are irregular shapes. They are complex and non-defined. They might seem free-flowing, and less structured than geometric shapes. Organic shapes are often associated with living things. Think about shapes you see in nature (like corral reefs, pinecones, bodies, insects); they are rarely geometric and sharp-edged. Detail of an arabesque decoration at the Alhambra in Spain, Rococo carving, 18th century Chi-Rho page from The Book of 14th century. Kells, c. 800 (illuminated manuscript; ink on calf vellum). Geometric and organic shapes are often used together, and since they do not imply depth, shapes are often used for decorative purposes, rather than to create a realistic or illusionary appearance. Decorative forms and patterns are used to embellish and ornament surfaces. Shape is a primary tool of graphic designers, who often work with flat surfaces and simplified, abstract surfaces. Unlike shape, form conveys depth. This can be literal three-dimensional depth, as seen in sculptures, or implied depth, as seen in paintings and drawings. Form is something you can hold in your hand or walk around; it is not an abstract, flat shape floating. Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Vertical and Horizontal Composition, Jean Pierre Raynaud, La Maison 1928 (oil on composition board). de la Celle-Saint-Cloud, 1974 (a house and art installation comprised entirely of white tiles). Do you see the diference between these two works? Both focus on geometry, but Taeuber- Arp’s work is made of flat shapes, whereas the tiles in Raynaud’s piece are shaped into blocky, three-dimensional forms that occupy real space. Since form can be real or implied, it doesn’t matter of Raynaud’s “work” is an actual house made of tiles, or a photograph of a house made of tiles. In the previous section, we touched upon the idea of three-dimensionality related to shapes. Let’s expand upon that idea. In art, space refers to the distance around or between the components of an artwork, or even space within. In art, space can be used in two primary ways: 1) the space of sculpture, which is both the area it occupies and the voids it contains, and 2) the “space” that exists on the flat picture plane (illusionistic space) Space in Sculpture: Sculptures are three-dimensional artworks, whether they are made of marble or concrete, metal or garbage, and whether they are a hundred feet tall or a half-inch. Sculptures exist in real space, with height, width and depth. Isamu The Aztec goddess Persian Relief from the Qajar Era Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Noguchi, Mother and Coatilcue, located at Shaw Memorial Child, mother of earth, c. Tangeh Savashi in Iran 1884 (bronze). 1947 (carved from 1487-1520 onyx) (carved from andesite). Not all sculptures occupy space in the same way. A sculpture in the round is a freestanding work of art, meant to be viewed from all sides, such as the Mother and child. A relief sculpture is not in the round, but rather, is flat or attached to a surface of some kind. Relief sculptures can be high relief, meaning there is more depth to the sculpted forms (forms project more than 50% from the background), or bas-relief, which is shallow, without deep projections or recesses. The Persian Relief sculpture seen above is relatively low or shallow; whereas the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial is quite high relief, almost to the point that the sculptured forms are detached. Rubin’s Vase, a famous optical illusion that shows faces formed by negative space (on the right). Another important concept related to sculpture as well as to two- dimensional work is negative space. Negative space refers to the space around or even within the subject. For example, in theMother and Child above, there are two areas of empty, negative space within the abstracted sculpture. Illusionistic Space: Unlike sculpture, which incorporates actual depth, paintings and drawings can incorporate the illusion of depth. In these works, artists imply or simulate the appearance of volume or mass on a two-dimensional surface. This is achieved through the use of shading, highlights, and shadows (this is called “modeling”), as well as through perspective. Perspective is a technique artists use to create the visual illusion of three-dimensional space on a flat, two-dimensional surface. The idea sounds simple enough, but it isn’t that easy to carry out in practice. At diferent points in history, artists struggled with achieving realistic representations of space. During the Renaissance, artists mastered the technique of rendering accurate perspective, as seen in Perugino’s work above. Although, interestingly, in the modern era, artists sometimes intentionally veered away from accurate perspective for experimental or psychological purposes, as seen in Kirchner’s work. Perugino, Christ Giving the Keys to Saint Peter. c. 1481-82Ernst Ludwig (fresco painting). Kirchner, Nollendorfpltaz, 1912 (oil on canvas). Linear perspective is only one type of perspective. Another important type is atmospheric perspective, also known as aerial perspective. Skim through the following resource, making sure that you understand what this type of perspective is before you move on: (Links to an external site.) Texture refers to surface quality. As with the previous elements we have studied, texture can be either literal or implied. The possibilities are limitless with texture. Textures can be rough, smooth, jagged, serrated, soft, silky, liquid, powdery, and so on. Additionally, textures can be natural, such as those found in nature like wood, stone, sand, and rock. They can also be artificial; imagine the feeling of plastic, rubber, vinyl, or even the surface of your keyboard or phone. Moai set in the hillside aDale Chihuly, The Sun, 2006 Anish Kapoor, To Reflect an Intimate Part of Rano Raraku, (glass) the Red, Easter Island, c. 1400- 1981 (powder sculptures). 1600 BCE (stone). Tactile texture refers to how a work of art feels to the touch. With the examples above, imagine the rough texture of the hardened volcanic ash of the Moai statues compared to the smooth, slick surface of Chihuly’s delicate glass installation. Imagine being about to touch one of Anish Kapoor’s sculptures made of powder! Visual texture, on the other hand, refers to the illusion of texture in two-dimensional artworks, as seen in the artworks below. The type of texture used by an artist can contribute not only to the viewer’s sensory experience, but also to the style of an artwork. Van Gogh, for example, used very thick paint to create highly expressionistic surfaces that almost seem to move before our eyes. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color or an entire artwork. Before we break down the element of value, however, we need to understand the important of light and shadow in art. We are all aware of the importance of light. Without it, life would be very diferent, a fact we are reminded of every time we see pictures of a bizarre deep-sea creature. Although light is a form of electromagnetic radiation (energy), we usually use “light” to refer to visible light: it is what makes our world visible. In the realm of art, light can be used a both a tool of creation and as a method of representing the world. Actual Light refers to the literal use of light in art, such as the way an artwork is lit within a museum or the way light falls on an object. Artworks that incorporate the property of light or are created by light also fit within this category. For example, photography is often described as “recording light” by way of an image sensor or light-sensitive material (like film). Think about the diference of image quality in a darkened room vs. the full light of day. Sculptors, working in three dimensions, are also very sensitive to the efects of light on their work. Represented Light: For centuries, artists have sought to capture the efects of light on objects, figures, and landscapes. Depicting light accurately requires a great deal of skill, since the interaction of light and space is very complex. Take a moment to notice the way light is interacting with the world around you. Light might be pouring in directionally from a nearby window, or it might be glowing around your computer screen. A nearby lamp could be bathing the room in even, incandescent light, or it might be creating abstract shapes through a decorative lampshade or cover. Multiple light sources are probably competing around you, casting diferent concentrations of light and casting multiple sets of shadows. Imagine how difficult it would be to capture all of these types of light in a painting! Natural light appears realistic and close to nature. Monet painted outdoors, on location in order to depict light as naturally as possible. In contrast,artificial light refers to light that was artificially created (light electric lights) or light that isn’t realistically rendered. It can also refer to light that was intentionally altered or skewed by the artist, as seen Deposition From the Cross, which seems sharp and overexposed, The Night Café seems unnatural and overly harsh. Can you see the diference in the treatment of light in these paintings? Edward Hopper’s Morning Sun is a good example of direct light. Direct light illuminates a surface or subject matter without being interrupted. Here, the woman and the wall at the back are both lit by strong, direct sunlight. Reflected light is just what it sounds like—light is reflected from one surface to another. The buildings on the right side of Lagorio’s Nerva at Night are lit both by the setting sun as well as the reflected light from the water’s surface. But light isn’t just limited to direct or reflected. These are two popular types of lighting, but there is a range of possibilities when depicting light. As we’ve learned, light is extremely varied and complex. How would you classify Vermeer’s use of light? We are well aware that light varies in terms of intensity, be it morning vs. afternoon sunlight, candlelight vs. a streetlight, or the light from a twenty watt bulb vs. a bank of LED lights. Light intensity and concentration afects how objects appear visually. Artworks with a high contrast between lights and darks often appear dramatic and even theatrical. In these works, there is a strong diference between dark and light colors or tones, as seen in the work of Caravaggio. The term for a sharp contrast is chiaroscuro (Italian for “light-dark”). Art works with a low contrast of darks and lights are more muted. In contrast to Caravaggio, Rembrandt’s use of light was much more subtle, with a lower contrast. Both artists, however, were extremely influential for their particular use of light. Did you know that some people experience a crossing of the senses called “synesthesia”? People with synesthesia might hear a color or taste a texture. Or, they might see a certain color when they hear a particular sound or voice. Principles of Design The principles of design describe the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art. 1. Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space.If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feelstable. In symmetrical balance, the elements used on one side of the design aresimilar to those on the other side; in asymmetrical balance, the sides are diferentbut still look balanced. In radial balance, the elements are arranged around a centralpoint and may be similar. 2. Emphasis is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually theartist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area couldbe diferent in size, color, texture, shape, etc. 3. Movement is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focalareas. Such movement can be directed along lines, edges, shape, and color within thework of art. 4. Pattern is the repeating of an object or symbol all over the work of art. 5. Repetition works with pattern to make the work of art seem active. The repetitionof elements of design creates unity within the work of art. 6. Proportion is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number)relate well with each other. When drawing the human figure, proportion can referto the size of the head compared to the rest of the body. 7. Rhythm is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly tocreate a feeling of organized movement. Rhythm creates a mood like music ordancing. To keep rhythm exciting and active, variety is essential. 8. Variety is the use of several elements of design to hold the viewer’s attention andto guide the viewer’s eye through and around the work of art. 9. Unity is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which createsa sense of completeness. Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa is an epic painting from the Romantic period. Based on a true story (of a shipwreck and a handful of survivors), this 23 foot long painting is very dramatic, theatrical, and dynamic. How did Gericault achieve this? By expertly wielding the principles of design. For example, notice the use of contrast in this composition: from the bright highlights to the deep shadows, there is a great deal of light and davariation in this painting. But yet, the lighting isn’t random. Gericault paid attention to rhythm in his use of light and dark, which creates visual harmony andbalance , even though the subject matter is tumultuous (notice thmovement of the figures, the inherent movement in the waves). Speaking of dramatic subject matter, notice how the artist directs our eye through the composition. By using zigzagging lines and sweeping forms, as well as dramatic lighting, our eyes move rapidly across the painting, especially from the dying victims in the foreground to the makeshift sail on the left and the clamoring figures on the right. Gericault used a hierarchy of forms to draw our eyes to various centers oemphasis (called focal points). Although the principle oEmphasis (what many call the “focal point”) was discussed above, it deserves more attention. A focal point is a specific point of interest within an artwork. In simple terms, it is the area that catches our eye the most. You will notice that artists usually organize their compositions around the focal point of their artworks. How do you create a focal point? There are no absolute rules, but focal points are often created by using contrasting colors, values, shapes, and lines; they are also created by subjects of particular interest. Are the Principles of Design the same for abstract works of art? Absolutely yes, the principles apply exactly the same to abstract art—artworks that are not based on transcriptions of reality. Applying the elements and principles to abstract is actually easier, because abstract art is usually more simplified, and often composed simply of shapes, forms, lines, and colors. The artworks above are nonrepresentational—they do not represent specific objects from reality. Instead of recognizable figures or shapes, the subject matter of these works is line, shape and color. Mondrian’s works focus on the principles of unity, rhythm, and balance. He spent most of his career exploring the perfect balance of shape and color. Because of the placement of forms and hues, Mondrian’s paintings seem very stable and equalized. How did he achieve this? He knew that diferent colors have diferent visual weight. Our eyes perceive darker colors as heavier than lighter colors (blue, for example, seems much heavier than yellow). Mondrian methodically balanced colors, lines, and shapes, so that his works don’t seem too “heavy” on one side verses another. Compare the static, unmoving quality of Mondrian’s work to Kandinsky’s. Kandinsky was also concerned with unity, harmony, and balance, but his work is more dynamic (diagonal lines almost always convey a sense of movement). Kandinsky employed varyingvisual elements, creating various points of emphasis. MEDIUM: While visual qualities are extremely important within the realm of art appreciation, another important component is medium. Simply put, medium refers to what an artwork is made form. The typical mediums chosen by artists have changed over time. In the Prehistoric Era, for example, art was made from such natural materials as stone, bone, wood, and clay. Over time, materials became much more sophisticated, from bronze sculptures to delicate painted pottery, wall frescos to oil paint. We will soon discover that mediums not have only evolved with time, they have also varied from region to region. During some eras, only certain materials were seen as worthy enough to use in artwork. For example, from the Renaissance to the 1800s, almost all paintings were made of oil paint on canvas, and most sculptures were made of either marble or bronze. Technique refers to the technical skills an artist applies to materials to achieve a particular result. Technique is like an artist’s signature—his or her way of creating an artwork. If ten artists were given the same colors of oil paint, the same canvas, and the same brushes, and if they were each instructed to paint a landscape, would the result look the same? It is highly improbable, because they would use a diferent technique, or a diferent variation of the same technique, as seen below. Albert Bierstadt, Storm in the Mountains, cPaul Cezanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, c.Arthur B. Dove, 1870 (oil on canvas) 1887 (oil on canvas) 1930 (oil on canvas) Like medium, technique also varies from era to era, and from place to place. In fact, technique can be a very helpful tool in placing an artwork within a particular style. Using the artworks above, for example, we can see that Bierstadt had a very formal, developed technique. His brushstrokes are very tight and methodical. Cezanne, on the other hand, was much more loose in the way he applied his paint to the canvas. If you were to see Mont Sainte-Victoire in real life, you would notice daubs of paint, and unmixed pigments. Dove’s technique is even more abstracted— not only do we see visible brushstrokes, we also see flat patches of paint, which makes the surface seem more decorative, and less illusionistic. Technique is best understood as what an artist does to his or her materials (pour, splatter, sweep, overlay, wash, chisel, polish, hammer, and the like). We will learn more about specific techniques as well as materials in future modules. Not everyone feels about art critics the same way as Oscar Wilde. Throughout history, art critics have been both loved and loathed. Critics are people who specialize in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating art. Since critics often write for newspapers, magazines, and even blogs, their opinions can be very important in shaping opinions about the value of art. In the past, critics wielded great power: some lauded artists for making important innovations, others condemned artists for taking too big of risks. Edmund Burke Feldman’s Aesthetic Criticism (as questioned by Questions: 1. Identify and Describe – identifying what can be seen: elements and materials – describe the visual and literal qualities. Art Historically deals with where, who, and when. (Be objective and formal). 2. Analyze- how is this put together physically and compositionally and identifying style or subject matter. What relationships do the elements sustain? (Make sure this is formal and addresses the diferent visual elements and principles we have discussed thus far). 3. Interpret – Why did the artists make the choices he/she did about materials, composition, subject matter, etc.? What is he/she trying to say? Is there an emotional tone? What do you think he/she is trying to say with their work? (Here you can be a little more subjective and let some of your own personal thoughts through). 4. Evaluation/Judgment – How does this compare with similar works? Did the artist make the right decisions? Does the work say what he wanted to say? Is the work of high quality? What do you think the artist could improve on? Does the work communicate significant ideas or arouse emotions? What is Art History? Rutgers University ofers this answer: Art History is a discipline that seeks to understand diferent cultures and epochs through the study and analysis of art and architecture as a means of communication. We exist in an environment that is filled with the artifacts of human history, architecture, painting, and sculpture. Art History ofers the tools to recognize and to understand these forms, and thus is a vital part of any serious liberal arts education. Art History provides knowledge and understanding of the past, and through it, of the present. The discipline encourages humanity and sympathy by teaching about other individuals and societies through their visual expression. Art History provides intellectual confidence gained through learning how to recognize, order, and interpret facts. In so doing, it trains one to think and write clearly and to read carefully. Art History encompasses much than breaking down visual qualities or appreciating diferent mediums or techniques. Art History provides a context, or framework of understanding. No matter what your interests are or what your major is, you will find connections in Art History. For example, all of the following topics are relevant to studying the history of art: 1. Cultural history 2. Political history 3. Social history 4. Religious history 5. Economic history 6. Surrounding theories or philosophies 7. Symbolism 8. Connections to other art forms (like music, literature, dance) In short, Art History helps us to understand not only an individual artwork, but also the surrounding culture. It helps us to understand the history of humanity, human achievement, and human expression. Let’s cap of this module by considering one more way of looking at art. We have studied the definitions of formal qualities of art, and we’ve learned about the importance of Art History. An additional way of understanding the message and significance of an artwork is through the application of art theory. Art theory can be a very complex. At some schools, entire courses are devoted to understanding a handful of theories. While getting into the nitty-gritty details is a bit outside the scope of our course, you should still be familiar with how theory works. Since as far back as the ancient Greeks, philosophers and thinkers have developed theories for understanding the purpose of art (and individual artworks). For example, Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the creation and appreciation of beauty. The question becomes, what is beauty? What are the standards for beauty? During the Greek Classical Era, the standard for beauty involved balance, harmony, symmetry, and idealism. But is there an absolute formula for beauty? What if an artist’s intention was not to create beauty, but another compelling quality? Must an artwork be beautiful in order to be deemed “art”? These are the types of questions that have preoccupied thinkers for hundreds of years. In the Twentieth Century, an explosion of theoretical ideas burst on the art scene. Art History and criticism reacted to the development of new philosophies and theories that questioned truth, how we view the world, how we construct our understanding of language, and how our knowledge is impacted by societal programming. Theory can impact artists DURING the creation of artworks; it can also be applied as a way of understanding an artwork AFTER it is created. Humankind has been creating forms of art for thousands upon thousands of years, this early art is universally known aCave Art . When discussing Cave Art, we are generally referring to art from the Prehistoric Era. Prehistoric typically means “before written history”. So, even though prehistoric peoples didn’t have written forms of language, they still produced art. The date of what we call Cave Art ranges roughly from 30,000 BCE to 1,500 BCE. While dating such artworks is rather simple, through modern scientific processes like carbon dating, little else is known about it. For this reason, Cave Art remains a fascinating topic for historians and anthropologists. Prehistoric history is very difficult to study, as we have very little clear data on our early ancestors. The art they left behind can be even more elusive than their history. There are many unknown variables with Cave Art, which leaves us placing ourselves into the mind-set of our early ancestors, trying to figure out why art was invented and what is being depicted. What we know: What we don't know: Venus of Willendorf Venus of Willendorf, Willendorf Austria, c.28,000 – 25,000 BCE (limestone). The nude figure known as Venus of Willendorf is considered to be one of the earliest sculptural depictions of the human form. She is tiny, measuring only about four inches high, and is sculpted from limestone. Many early prehistoric sculptures are female forms. Historians believe this is evidence women were seen with greater importance to the survival and continuance of early humans. The sculpture is very conceptual, with the emphasis on female anatomy (conceptual art focuses more on the idea/concept, rather than a true-to-life transcription). Consequently, this little figure was dubbed Venus after the Greek goddess of beauty and love who was almost always shown nude in ancient times. However, historians consider it unlikely that Venus of Willendorf was meant to represent a goddess. The Lascaux caves were discovered on September 12 th, 1940, inside several caverns. The main cavern is approximately 66 feet wide and 16 feet high. Over 1,700 paintings and low relief engravings decorate the walls of the cavern. The largest figure rendered measures at 11 feet and 6 inches long. The most famous prehistoric structure is undoubtedly the monumental Stonehenge. Once believed to be a magical site created by the medieval magician Merlin, Stonehenge’s past is shrouded in mystery. Found on the Salisbury Plain of England about two hours north of London, hundreds of colossal stones are arranged in post and lintel circles and rings. Stonehenge is believed to have astronomical and solar importance as several stones align perfectly with the rising sun on the summer and winter solstices. Stonehenge provides insight that as the prehistoric age was coming to an end: man’s intelligence was increasing. As time progressed, humans evolved. Their abilities to process information and innovate grew exponentially. Around 8,000 BCE (about 5,000 years prior to the construction of Stonehenge) in the farm and marshlands cradled between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, humans abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and started to congregate together. This group of people began forming a shared culture. By 3200 BCE they started using scratched pictures to represent objects and by 2900 BCE these pictures formed into the first written language known as cuneiform! With the development of written language comes one of the world’s oldest civilizations, commonly classified as Mesopotamia. Simultaneously, over 1,000 miles away, two prehistoric kingdoms were uniting in the Nile Valley. This unification gave birth to the Egyptian Civilization which we know of today. It is in these great civilizations the roots of our modern western world were undoubtedly starting to form nearly 5,000 years. The art we will see truly showcases the development, advancement and progression of these great ancient worlds. With the development of civilization, art became entrenched in many social and political purposes. Today, ancient art provides insight and meaning to the scientific study of ancient civilizations and cultures. As we begin to discuss Mesopotamian and Egyptian art, we will start dissecting the questions introduced at the beginning of the course: How do humans use visual arts and why? What is the purpose of art? Ancient Mesopotamian culture began in approximately 8,000 BCE, in the ancient Near East (Modern Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey). It ended in 331 BCE with the disastrous civil fall of the Persian Empire. Mesopotamia was the home to enormous advancements, such as arithmetic, phonetic writing, and monotheistic religions (it was the birthplace of the Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity). Here humans began farming and using the rivers to irrigate. Life became significantly easier as the use of the wheel and plow become commonplace. For the first time since the dawn of man, humans had a surplus of goods and time. While Mesopotamia was the home of great advancement and the world’s first cities, it was also one of the most war-ridden locations on earth. It was and still continues to be an extremely volatile location. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers were widely unpredictable and often flooded without warning. The ancient pantheon of gods were seen as vengeful and dubious. Eight monumental city-states will rise and fall in Ancient Mesopotamia. Civil peace was rare. As you will see, each city-state will have their own art styles and purposes influenced by the proceeding society. Standard of Ur, from tomb 779, Ur, Iraq, c. 2600 BCE (shell, limestone, lapis lazuli, bitumen) This beautiful two foot, box structure found in an ancient royal cemetery from the Sumerian city-state provides insight into the social structure and military characteristics of the ancient Mesopotamian peoples. The sloping box is meticulously inlaid with shell, limestone and lapis lazuli (a rare and expensive azure blue stone found in the desert regions of Afghanistan). The box consists of six banded registers and serves as a historical narrative. The registers, much like a comic book, are to be read left to right. As you can see, a king-like figure stands in the center of the top register; he is larger than all of other figures. He stands taller than the rest as his smaller soldiers show him stripped down captives from a recent battle. This hierarchy of scale is used widely in ancient works and conceptually shows importance and power. Moving to the second and third register can you tell who the important figures are? If you look closely, you can see small, baby-like men are being trampled under the feet and chariots of the victorious Sumerians. These men are much smaller in scale and have been stripped of their clothing, communicating their weakness and lack of importance to the viewer. If you continue on through the narrative, you will notice it is no longer a visual of war, but a visual of ceremony and celebration as the spoils of war are brought to the King. Can you spot him? Much easier then a Where’s Waldo image from today, the king can be spotted in the top left hand corner due to the hierarchy of figures. Stele of Naram-Sin Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, Susa, Iran, 2254-2218 BCE (pink sandstone). Victory Stele of Naram-Sin, Susa, Iran, 2254-2218 BCE (pink sandstone). This Akkadian sandstone bas-relief (or low- relief) sculpture also depicts a war scene from Mesopotamia. Unlike the Standard of Ur, the artist will abandon the banded register composition and will assimilate a landscape image into the visual. Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Musuem, Berlin (glazed Detail of Ishtar Gate, Cuneiform Inscription of King brick). originally from Babylon, Iraq, Nebuchadnezzar II c. 575 BCE. Ishtar Gate, originally from Babylon, Iraq, c. 575 BCE. As mentioned previously, one of the greatest Kings of Mesopotamia was none other than the infamous biblical King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon (604 – 562 BCE). Nebuchadnezzar restored Babylon from a city of ruins and clay bricks, to a bustling hub of culture and power. He filled his cities with extravagant temples and monuments to the Gods. Once listed on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (only to be replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria), Nebuchadnezzar’s Ishtar Gate is breathtaking, with it’s double rounded arches and glazed blue and gold-colored bricks. A symbol of Babylon’s power and wealth Ishtar Gate is named for the Mesopotamian Goddess of love and war and was constructed for a myriad of Mesopotamian gods. The structure is decorated with mushhushshu’s (horned dragons), lions, horses and bulls. Ziggurat of Ur (Nanna Ziggurat), Muqaiyir, Iraq, c. 2100 – Votive Figures from the Square Temple, Eshnunna, Iraq, 2050 BCE (mud brick and baked brick). c. 2900- 2600 BCE (gypsum, limestone). As the politics and landscape of Mesopotamia changed, the people began to see their gods as fickle. They often worshipped out of fear, hoping to appease the mighty gods. The massive ziggurats (platform-like structures) and temples that dotted Mesopotamia were the center of everyday life. Much like the later Ishtar Gate, ziggurats served a purpose of communicating power, wealth and prestige to all who saw them. Elevated to withstand flooding and impending enemy takeovers, ziggurats were believed to be a meeting place between the gods and humans. Upon excavation of many of these ziggurats, curious sculptures were found. Known as votive figures, these statuettes are small representational human figures ranging in size from a couple of inches to several feet tall. These figures are usually in standing prayer position, and have HUGE wide set eyes looking up toward the heavens. They were placed in shrines to the gods and served as proxies with eyes set to meet and converse. The Ziggurat of Ur, a temple-like structure that was reduced to ruins over time, was restored in the 1980’s under the direction of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The Ziggurat of Ur was even used as a type of shield—Hussein and parked fighter jets next to the ziggurat thinking the American bombers would spare his jets in an efort to keep the ancient structure safe. Michael Taylor, who served as an American platoon leader in Iraq from 2007-2008 said, “The only way for a Westerner to visit Ur in 2008 was to come ready for war, in armored vehicles bristling with machine guns. Hopefully someday soon, people from across the world will peacefully tour what we saw as soldier.” Stele of Hammurabi, Susa, Iraq, c. 1792-1750 BCE (diorite). The Mesopotamians believed it was possible for their king to have divine interactions with the gods while worshipping. One of these divine interactions is visually recorded on the noteworthy Law Code of Hammurabi. King Hammurabi is seen conversing with the god of justice, Shamash. To date, this stele is one of the most remarkable historical artifacts from Mesopotamia. Now that we have an understanding of ancient Mesopotamia, let’s move southward to the great ancient civilization of Egypt. In 1922, as the world was still reeling from the fallout of World War I, British archaeologist Howard Carter was on the cusp of finding what would be one of the most-publicized discoveries. On February 19 th, 1923, Carter was able to excavate the untouched Burial Tomb of King Tutankhamen in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Quickly ancient Egyptian myth, history, and style became the upcoming trend of the 1920’s. In fact, The New York Times reported in June 1923 that women were so obsessed with the Egyptian designs found on the sarcophagus of King Tut, they were giving themselves the same patterns by strategically sun-burning designs on their skin. To read the full article (optional), see: res=9A0DE5D71730E333A25754C1A9609C946295D6CF (Links to an external site.) One hundred years later we, in the western world, are still fascinated with ancient Egypt. Almost every major museum has an entire wing devoted to Egyptian artifacts and history. Egyptian designs and motifs are found in pop culture everywhere. Unlike the ever-changing Mesopotamian region, Egypt remained nearly unchanged for almost 3,500 years. This is fascinating to think about when we consider the United States is not even 250 years old! The Egyptian culture and civilization ruled the Nile Valley from roughly 3,000 BCE to 30 BCE, when the Romans invaded. At the epicenter of Egyptian civilization was the Nile River. Contrasted to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the Nile was predictable and was a dependable water source. It was this predictability, coupled with the geographical isolation, which allowed Egyptian culture and civilization to flourish and to remain steady. The Egyptians had a strong religious philosophy that influenced their art, culture, politics and everyday life. They focused on their afterlife, and believed they passed through life, death and theika (spiritual soul) would eventually reach eternal life. With 3,500 years for the Egyptian theological civilization to grow Egyptian gods were deeply ingrained in the social structures of the society and honored as they provided the link the Egyptians needed to their afterlife. Furthermore, the themes we will see in Egyptian art are communicatory themes of longevity, the afterlife, religion and power. The Palette of Narmer, Pre-Dynastic, c. 2950-2775 (siltstone). The Palette of Narmer helps mark the beginning of the Egyptian civilization as it depicts the unification of two prehistoric Egyptian kingdoms. This ceremonial piece, meant to hold eyeliner (see the hole in the right palette) was composed in bande


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