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Introduction to Art History

I've adapted this from an original presentation that wasn't mine; adding a few more slides. Serves as an excellent introduction to Art History and its methodology.

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Introduction to Art History

  1. 1. Introduction to Art History<br />Art History Starter Kit and Methodology<br />Magister Ricard<br />Somerset Academy 2009-2010<br />
  2. 2. Slide Contents<br />What is Art? Its Purpose and Its Function<br />Fundamentals of Interpretation: Formal and Contextual Analysis<br />Principles of Design: Style<br />
  3. 3. Leonardo da Vinci<br />Mona Lisa<br />Oil on poplar<br />c. 1503<br />
  4. 4. Claude Monet<br />Impression, Sunrise<br />Oil on canvas<br />1872<br />
  5. 5. Andy Warhol<br />Superman<br />Screen print<br />1961<br />
  6. 6. What is Art?<br />Art (art), n. 1. the quality, production, or expression of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance<br />Work of art = visual expression of an idea<br />Medium = a particular material, along with its accompanying technique (plural = media)<br />
  7. 7. Popular Media<br />Paint media<br />Acrylic, Enamel, Gesso, Glaze, Ink, Oil, Tempera, Watercolor<br />Used on: Canvas, Cloth, Glass, Metal, Paper, Wood<br />Drawing media<br />Chalk pastel, Charcoal, Colored pencil, Marker, Oil pastel, Pen and ink<br />Sculpture materials<br />Beads, Clay, Found objects, Jewels, Marble, Metals, Papier-mache, Plaster, Plastic, Sand, Stone, Textile, Wax, Wire, Wood<br />
  8. 8. Medium: Watercolor<br />Thomas Girtin<br />Jedburgh Abbey from the River. 1798-99. Watercolor on paper.<br />
  9. 9. What is “History”?<br />History (his-tuh-ree), n. 1. the branch of knowledge dealing with past events. 2. a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle: a history of France; a medical history of the patient. <br />economic realities<br />historical events<br />social dynamics<br />religious and spiritual organizations<br />technological advancements<br />
  10. 10. Purposes and Functions of Art<br />Communicating information<br />In non-literate societies, art was used for teaching<br />Today, photography, film & television are used for disseminating information<br />
  11. 11. Purposes and Functions of Art<br />Spiritual Sustenance<br />All of the world’s major religions have used art to inspire and instruct the faith<br />
  12. 12. Purposes and Functions of Art<br />Personal & Cultural Expression<br />
  13. 13. Purposes and Functions of Art<br />Social & Political Purposes<br />Artist have criticized or influenced values or public opinion<br />Often it is clear & direct<br />Other times, it is less obvious <br />Monarchs who commissioned projects to symbolize their strength & power<br />
  14. 14. Social & Political Influences<br />Paul Revere<br />The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street, Boston, Massachusetts. 1770. Engraving.<br />Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin-Mansar<br />Palais de Versailles, Versailles, France. 1668-85.<br />
  15. 15. II. Fundamentals of Interpretation:<br />Formal and Contextual Analysis<br />
  16. 16. Art = Form + Content<br />In the most basic way art can be thought of as having two parts:<br />its form<br />its content<br />Form relates to the “formal” aspects of art or how the art is made.<br />Content relates to the subject of the art.<br />
  17. 17. Formal Analysis of Painting<br />Looking at a work of art to try to understand what the artist wants to convey visually<br />Line and Shape<br />Color<br />Texture<br />Space and Mass<br />Composition<br />Scale<br />
  18. 18. 1. Line and Shape<br />Lines define space and may create an outline or contour, as style called “linear.”<br />They can be visible or implied<br />It may be two-dimensional, three-dimensional (as with a wire), or suggested or implied.<br />Wherever there is an edge, the place where one object or plane appears to end and other object or space<br />
  19. 19.
  20. 20. 2. Color<br />Color is the event of wavelengths of light hitting an object and those wavelengths reflecting back into your eyes.<br />Color is also an element of art with three properties: hue, saturation, and value:<br />Hue is the name of the color (e.g., red, blue, or yellow.)<br />Saturation is the quality or brightness or dullness of the hue; sometimes called “intensity”<br />Value is the degree of lightness or darkness of a hue<br />On a color wheel, colors are divided into groups called primary (red, yellow & blue), secondary (orange, green & violet), and tertiary (mix of a primary & a secondary) <br />Complementary or opposite are two colors directly opposite one another on the color wheel<br />
  21. 21. 2. Color: Hues<br />
  22. 22. 2. Color: Saturation - quality or brightness or dullness of the hue (a.k.a. intensity)<br />
  23. 23. 2. Color: Value - degree of lightness or darkness of a hue<br />
  24. 24.
  25. 25. 3. Texture<br />Texture is an element of art pertaining to the surface quality or “feel” of the work of art.<br />Texture can be described as smooth, rough, soft, etc. Some textures are real and others are simulated.<br />Textures that can be felt are ones that the fingers can actually touch, however, in paintings drapery and clothing often have a texture that can only be seen, as it is simulated.<br />
  26. 26. 4. Space and Mass<br />Space references to what contains objects; may be three dimensional (actual) or two dimensional (illusion)<br />Mass refers to the effect and degree of bulk, density, and weight of matter in space<br />In architecture or sculpture, it is the area occupied by a form<br />As opposed to plane and area, Mass is used for three-dimensional objects<br />
  27. 27. 4. Space and Mass: Perspective<br />Perspective is the technique that artists use to project the illusion of three-dimensional space onto a two-dimensional surface.<br />Perspective helps to create a sense of depth–a sense of receding space.<br />Artists achieve perspective in several different ways: <br />by making objects in the foreground larger than those in the background <br />by making objects at the bottom of the composition larger than those at the top<br />by using lighter colors and fuzzier edges to suggest the distant objects and space<br />by using mathematical or linear perspective, where the recession is directed towards a vanishing point.<br />
  28. 28.
  29. 29. 4. Space and Mass: Foreshortening<br />Foreshortening is way of representing an object so that it conveys the illusion of depth–an object appears to be thrust forward or back into space.<br />Foreshortening succeeds particularly well when the near and far parts of the object contrast greatly.<br />Picture Space makes use of foreground, middle ground and background<br />Andrea Mantegna, The Lamentation over the Dead Christ, c. 1490 CE<br />
  30. 30. 5. Composition<br />How items are arranged or organized in a work of art<br />Symmetrical or assymetrical<br />Static or dynamic<br />Consider pictorial depth (illusion) rendering 3D on 2D surface or plane (picture plane)<br />Picture space is comprised of foreground, middle ground, and background and extends from beyond the picture plane<br />
  31. 31. 5. Composition<br />Composition, then, is the relationship of the parts of a painting, sculpture, or work of architecture.<br />Artists consider composition when they structure the relationships of colors, lines, shapes, and masses in their art.<br />Artists generally try to make the composition of their works pleasing by balancing the aforementioned relations.<br />Other times, artists will use composition to be expressive in some way, for example making some aspect of their art unbalanced or asymmetrical.<br />
  32. 32. 6. Scale<br />As an art history term, scale refers to the size of the art object at hand or the size of the objects represented in a particular art object.<br />Scale can also have to do with the size of a building as compared with the people who inhabit that space.<br />Artists often use scale to suggest relationships between figures and landscape, figures and other figures, and/or sometimes a figure’s importance.<br />
  33. 33. Movement<br />Another quality an artist might utilize <br />Gives lifelike feeling to a work<br />Artists often search for ways to create a sense of movement, from manipulating the objects within a work to the medium itself<br />
  34. 34.
  35. 35. Analysis of Raphael’s School of Athens <br />Subject Matter/Content: It is not a school but a gathering of important Greek philosophers. <br />Materials and Technique: Raphael painted in the style of fresco. Fresco means painting on wet plaster. <br />Composition: The School of Athens is done in a pyramidal composition which is very characteristic of Raphael and the High Renaissance. <br />Use of Color: Raphael uses mostly natural colors with lots of browns and greys. He uses some orange and blue but mostly very earthly tones. Raphael did not use bright colors because he intended the mood to be more solemn.<br />Lines and Forms: Raphael gives his figures mass, bulk and weight by using perspective, drapery, chiaroscuro, and contropposto. The way the clothing of the figures falls on their bodies gives them a sense of underlying body structure. All the lines converge between Plato and Aristotle&apos;s heads which gives it the pyramidal composition. &quot;There is also an interest in accurate body proportion, which is reminiscent of classical Greek works.&quot; (http://hyper.vcsun.org...)<br />Sense of Movement: All characters in &quot;The School of Athens&quot; are doing something. This indicts a great sense of motion which is visible in the poses of the figures. <br />Use of Space: Although the painting seems crowded in some parts (especially around Plato and Aristotle) Raphael creates a great sense of space. He has a vanishing point so the painting looks like it goes back forever. He also paints the figures in the foreground larger than the rest which adds to the sense of space.<br />
  36. 36.
  37. 37. III. Principles of Design:<br />Style<br />
  38. 38. Style<br />Style refers to the consistent and characteristic handling of media, elements of form, and principles of design that make a work identifiable as the particular culture, period, region, group, or person<br />Style = Form and Composition <br />Makes a work distinctive!<br />
  39. 39. Cultural Style<br />Societies develop their own beliefs and style of material forms (clothing, buildings, etc)<br />Artists are a product of their culture<br />Standing Vishnu, 10th Century ce, India, Tamil Nadu, Tanjore region.  Bronze, H. 33&quot;  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York <br />
  40. 40. Period Style<br />Styles change over time<br />Art changes because of economic & political changes, new technology, religious insight<br />Sometimes a desire for something new comes along<br />
  41. 41. Regional Style<br />Geography also leads to diverse styles<br />May be conscious decision or caused by a mere lack of communication over distance<br />Ex: variations in Maya architecture; Hindu sculpture in India varies from North to South India; and abstract paintings produced in California differed from New York in the 1950s<br />
  42. 42. Group Style<br />Sometimes artist form alliances, exhibit together and publicize their aims as a group to promote a distinct style<br />One of the best known group styles is Impressionism<br />
  43. 43. Personal Style<br />Individual artists often have characteristic modes of personal expression<br />
  44. 44. Two Basic Forms of Style<br />Representational<br />Seeks to create recognizable subject matter<br />Abstract<br />Seeks to capture the essence of a form, not literal representation<br />
  45. 45. Representational Styles<br />Realism – the attempt to depict objects accurately, objectively<br />Naturalism – similar to Realism except often implies a grim subject<br />Illusionism – seeks to create a convincing representation or illusion of reality<br />
  46. 46. Realism<br />
  47. 47. Naturalism<br />
  48. 48. Illusionism<br />
  49. 49. Abstract Styles<br />Non-representational – does not produce recognizable imagery<br />Expressionism – Plays with subjectivity, artist’s own ideas/feelings or viewer’s ideas/feelings<br />Exaggerates to get the essence of a form<br />
  50. 50. Non-Representational<br />
  51. 51. Expressionism<br />
  52. 52. Websites About Art<br />Chris Whitcombe’s web site - Dr. Whitcombe hosts the singularly best resource for art history on the Internet. (This would be my first stop if I were looking for an image or additional resources.)<br />ArtLex - ArtLex is a hyperlinked dictionary of art terms, and it includes abundant examples to illustrate the meanings of terms.<br />Artchive - Mark Harden’s Artchive is an image resource arranged alphabetically by artist, as well as by school and/or era.<br />Olga’s Gallery - Like Harden’s Artchive. (Don’t ask me about the name.)<br />Timeline of Art History (Met) - Self-explanatory<br />Humanities Web - Humanities Web “shows the interconnections, the web, the links, between history, the arts, and culture - and how each plays off and influences the others.”<br />