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Why Do We Study the History of Art?
The Artistic Impulse ◦ The study of art teaches us about our own creative expressions ◦ In art there are three broad artistic categories: Pictures—Latin pingo, “I paint” Sculpture—Latin sculpere, “to carve” Architecture—literally “high (archi) buildings (tecture)” ◦ Chronological notation B.C. “Before Christ” A.D. anno Domini—Latin meaning “year of our lord” B.C.E.—before common era; equates to B.C. C.E.—common era; equates to A.D. ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.2
Why Do We Value Art? ◦ Material value: value derived from the precious material used to create the object; i.e. gold, bronze ◦ Intrinsic value: value depends on the artist and his or her work; i.e. da Vinci’s Mona Lisa ◦ Religious value: value to a group of people who identify with the object ◦ Nationalistic value: valued for their expression of pride and accomplishments of a culture ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.3
Why Do We Value Art? ◦ Psychological value: our emotional reaction to a piece of art; pleasure, fright, amusement, avoidance, outrage ◦ Brancusi’s Bird: manufactured metal or a work of art? Photographer Edward Steichen purchased the bronze sculpture and wished to imported it into the U.S. duty-free Customs officials did not see it as art but as a kitchen utensil, which required a $600 import duty ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.4
Art and Illusion ◦ Illusionistic—representational pictures and sculptures so true to life they may be mistaken for the real thing The grapes of ancient Greek artist Zeuxis René Magritte’s The Betrayal of Images The lifelike sculptures of American Duane Hanson ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.5 René Magritte The Betrayal of Images (This is Not a Pipe), 1928, oil on canvas 23 ½ X 28 ½ inches Duane Hanson, Tourists II, 1988, Autobody filler, fiberglass and mixed media, with accessories Life-size
Art and Illusion ◦ Traditions equating artists with gods Both are seen as creators Gods have been represented as artists ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.6 Peter Bruegel the Elder, Tower of Babel, 1563, tempera on panel God as Architect (God drawing the universe with a compass) 13 century illuminated manuscript.
Art and Identification ◦ Reflections and shadows: legends of how art began Tracing a shadow or reflected image Narcissus – fell in love with his own image in a reflection Inspired not only to create, but also capture existing forms ◦ Image magic Some cultures believe harming an image of someone will hurt the actual person Certain religions forbid the making of images of their god(s) Especially apparent in the Jewish and Islamic religious traditions In Whistler’s famous depiction of his mother, we see a keen likeness. Whistler said about his work: “One does like to make one’s mummy just as nice as possible.” ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.7 James Abbot McNeil Whistler, Arrangement in Black and Gray, oil on canvas
Art and Identification ◦ Architecture The most utilitarian of the three broad artistic categories Must fulfill a function, versus being just aesthetically pleasing Unique in that appreciation for the work is incomplete until one has experienced it physically Identification with being inside a structure begins in utero; thus some postulate there is an intuitive relationship between motherhood and architecture ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.8 Jan Van Eyck, The Virgin in a Church, 1410-25, oil on panel
Archaeology and Art History ◦ Archaeology is the study of beginnings ◦ The primary aim of archaeologists: to reconstruct history from the physical remains of past cultures ◦ In the recent past archaeology was the province of amateur explorers and collectors of antiquities ◦ Art history is the study of the history of visual arts, in contrast with art appreciation, which is primarily about aesthetics ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.9
Methodologies of Art History ◦ Formalism “Art for art’s sake” ◦ Iconography Emphasizes the content of art ◦ Iconology Studies the rationale behind a group of works ◦ Marxism Explores the relationship between art and economic factors ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.10
Methodologies of Art History ◦ Feminism Assumes that the making of art is influenced by gender ◦ Biography and autobiography Interpreting works as expressions of the artists’ lives and personalities ◦ Semiology An attempt to identify universal and meaningful patterns in various cultural expressions ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.11 Meret Oppenheim, Fur-Covered cup, Saucer and Spoon, 1936
Methodologies of Art History ◦ Deconstruction Questions the assumptions about works ◦ Psychoanalysis Explores the personality of the artist through the study of his or her work ©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.12
Key Terms For Art History. Plato and Aristotle Style: In the visual arts, a manner of execution that is characteristic of an individual, a school, a period,
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