What is it and why do we study Art History and Appreciation? What kind of stuff will we be studying?Lots and lots of pictures of stuff. Musical instruments, housewares (cups, saucers, plates, and fabrics), posters, buildings (private homes, churches, temples, and tombs) and even movies!
What is it and what is it good for?For me Art History and Art Appreciation are important because these classes combine all of the other classes I had as an undergraduate. For each subject or idea I studied in a history, literature and even language and math, I found an idea that was illustrated or elaborated on in my study of the pictures in my Art History textbooks.
What goes good with it?Any one of the classes you see below is a good partner to Art History.What I did as an undergraduate was to take classes that were roughly studying the same time periods or subjects and write the same paper for all of my classes. For example, one semester I took:
HIST-104A Western Civilization (Art 103A) HIST-104B Western Civilization (Art 103B) GEOG-102-01 (012485) Cultural Geography GEOG-104-01 (012486) The World's Nations Almost All English Classes PHIL-101-03 (012984) Ancient Philosophy (Art 103 A) PHIL-102-03 (015572) Modern Philosophy (Art 103B) PHIL-110-01 (012992) Intro to Asian Religions PHIL-114-01 (012993) Intro to Islam (Art 103A)
History of Greece Greek Tragic Theatre Art History 1 (Prehistory through 1300 AD) Philosophy and Italian
I was able to write a paper about the influence of Greek Theatre and Philosophy on the Re-Building of Athens's Acropolis. I even was able to throw in some language stuff about Greek and Latin because of my Italian stuff!
Another semester I took:
Napoleon and the French Revolution 18th and 19th Century Art Literature (War and Peace by Tolstoy)
For that semester I wrote a paper on the French Revolutionary artist Jacques Louis David and how he was the main propagandist (advertising guy) for the French revolution. I was able to include some of the works of literature I was reading in my literature class because it covered another perspective of the wars!
I will always encourage you to integrate many different subjects and ideas into your study of Art History!!
How to use the Web site and the Textbook and how to fill in a worksheets.
(Stokstad has a similar "starter kit" on pages 17-41 make sure you know the terms on page 20.)
Step #1 Reading the paper texts and online texts before lecture. If you are in the online class, read Stokstad before you read the on-line stuff.
|The white section at the left is a page like the ones you may find in the Stokstad's "Art History." If you look at it you will see it has a picture of a man standing with his arm raised. This is sometimes referred to as a plate, picture, image or figure. The words directly beneath the image are a description of what it is. This description is called a caption. It contains information which you may not understand. Here is a color coded diagram to explain how the caption works. |
Beneath the body copy or text in the lower right hand corner is the name of the period and or culture you are studying. On the worksheets and tests this information is important. If you are confused about what period or culture you are studying look at this.
Many of the terms that are used above also apply to the identification of art works both in general, and in terms of how I want you to identify them on the worksheets. When asked about these terms, you will need to explain them completely in your won words and possibly to provide an example. Some of the terms we just used above are Title- This refers to the name of the work. Sometimes a title can include its location now or where is was found or even who found it.
BCE- Means "before the common era." In older books the term is BC, which means before the birth of Christ. We use BCE instead of CE in this class probably because we have a newer version of text book that uses BCE instead of CE and because of religious/cultural reasons. Since we are all not Christians, some people might be offended by the use of the term “Before Christ.”
CE- Means "common era." Older books will have AD "anno domini", which means "in the year of our lord."
Date- This is usually the time it was found. Sometimes historians aren't sure so we give a "range" of dates.For example 1st century CE (perhaps a copy of a bronze statue of c.20 BCE.)Location or Region- Where the work of art can be found or was originally created. For this class, make sure that you use the place where the work was created as the region, rather than the museum or country it is exhibited in now. This is importnat because it will come up on the work sheets. style-
1000 BCE - 900 BCE
Webster's dictionary defines,However, this definition is not quite right for the study of art.¹style n 1: designation, title 2 a: a distinctive manner of expression (as in writing or speech)
Style is influenced by culture, civilization and trends. A style in art usually defines how a work will look. A style is defined by a series of shared physical or formal characteristics. The name "style" on work sheets is often synonymous with a work's culture or civilization. For example, the Anasazi culture's style of representation is usually very linear, geometric, and unrealistic. The colors they use in paintings and pottery are made of subdued earth tones. culture- A culture is a group of people who share a similar way of life. Often they share the same religious beliefs and political opinions, dress similarly and even eat similar foods. They also share a way of seeing and representing things. Sometimes a culture is part of a civilization however a civilization is usually tied to a specific geographic region. (Make sure you do not copy this exact definition on the worksheets.)
civilization- Civilization is a broader terms including several cultures or periods of time. But, it can also be used as a specific reference to specific periods or segments of time, within a specific geographic location or region.
For example, the Greek civilization was found in the Mediterranean, where the modern country of Greece is now located. In general, they were unified by a similar culture although they spoke several dialects of Greek and there art went through several distinct styles and periods.
800-700 B.C.= Oriental Influence
700-500 B.C.= Archaic Period
480-350 B.C. = Classic Age
350-100 B.C.= Hellenism (Hellenistic Art) also called the Late Hellenistic.
period- The term "period," for art historians is often interchangeable with style, culture, and/or civilization. There are exceptions to this rule. Usually a period is the name given to a specific kind of style that is also linked to a time segment. Different developments of art forms in some cultures lead art historians to define a new time segment in which a new style emerges. In the case of Chinese and Egyptian art, these changes are referred to as dynasties.
In short, art historians pick a general name that defines a specific kind of art and they usually choose from among those names according to the term they think is the most descriptive.
The online textbook has a similar format to Stokstad but the captions are a little bit different.
Below is an excerpt from the online textbook which can be found at by following this link.
Augustus looks a lot like the Doryphoros but is from a region in Italy and comes from a much later time. Therefore Augustus comes from a different civilization that shared a lot of stylistic qualities with Ancient Greece. Threrefore, the main difference between period and civilization is that period is a kind of style that is a subset of a civilization. Civilizations go through many periods of development and a civilization is located in one geographic region and spans a longer time.
Kouros from Attica
(the region surrounding
c600 BCE 6' 4" marble
of Art, NY
Doryphoros (Spear Bearer)
(also called "the Canon")
by Polykleitos c450-440 BC
Roman copy after a bronze
original marble height 6'6"
tree stump and leg brace
6-30. Augustus of Primaporta.
Early 1st century CE
(perhaps a copy of a bronze
statue of c.20 BCE.)
Marble, height 6'8" (2.03m).
Musei Vaticani, Braccio Nuovo, Rome
All of these works of art come from ancient civilizations. Even though we use the term "ancient" what we are saying is that these civilization occurred a long time ago. The Kouros from Attica and the Doryphoros come from the Ancient Greek civilization while the Augustus of Primaporta come from the Ancient Roman civilization.
The Ancient Greek civilization, is tied to the region of land we now call Greece. The civilization lasted between circa (approximately) 1000 BCE to about 100 BCE but we divide the Greek civilization into various periods that are defined by the style of art they produced. For example, the Kouros from Attica, comes from a period we refer to as the Archaic period, which lasted from around 600-480 BCE. The style associated with this Archaic period is that the sculpture is a bit unrealistic and slightly stylized in a geometric way. This means that the style of the Archaic period was to make the sculptures look kind of "blocky" and unrealistic.
A later "period" that occurs during the Ancient Greek civilization is the "Classic Period" which lasted from circa 500 BCE -350 BCE. The main characteristics are that the sculptures look life-like or realistic. So both the Greek works "periods" belong to the Ancient Greek Civilization. However, something happens when geographic location changes.
Kiva painting from Kuana Pueblo Bonito
1300 CE - 1500 CE
SW United States
Anasazi Culture, Classic Period
|Form: This painting is very one dimensional and no created sense of space. The depictions of the animals and human figures are diagrammatic, flat, and without shading. The forms tend to be depicted in a geometric fashion. The colors are muted and generally in shades of brown because the pigments used to color the murals were created from minerals and naturally occurring dyes found in their environment. Iconography: There is no standard or accepted interpretation of the mural's iconography. Interpretations based on contemporary Navajo symbols indicate that the central large figure may represent a thunder god or a person praying or performing a ritual. In the figures right hand is a figure that looks very similar to the yei figures from the Navajo "Whirling Logs" blanket shown below. The figure is also holding a prayer stick similar to the yei figures. A bird, perhaps an eagle, descends from the right with water, a god may have sent him or he may be a god. The eagle on the right has seeds, arrows, and a rainbow coming out of his mouth. This bird, along with the fish between these two figures represent the desire of the Anasazi for fertile earth by representing its two distinct elements of land and water. |
Context: The murals in kivas were painted over at various times and this layering presents a time table for art historians. These paintings may suggest a culture preoccupied with irrigation systems and agriculture. The murals serve several purposes. The murals are didactic. They instruct, indoctrinate, and educate the worshippers in the stories and symbols used in the Anasazi religion. The creation of the mural may have been a form of worship as well. Many cultures throughout the globe use religious art for the same reasons.
Kiva painting from Kuana Pueblo Bonito
1300 CE - 1500 CE
SW United States
Anasazi Culture Classic Period
|Title- The name of the work, sometimes includes extra information Date- Sometimes historians aren't sure so we give a "range" of dates. |
Location or Region- Where the work of art was originally from. Not where it is now unless it hasn't been moved.
Style, Civilization, Culture,& Period -
Art historians pick a general name that defines a specific kind of art and they usually choose from among those names according to the term they think is the most descriptive. Usually it is a group of people who have lived during a specific period and share a way of life.
Often I use these terms interchangeably, but they are slightly different.
Step #2 Look up terms in the glossary and write definitions in margins of your text book. As you are reading you will encounter a lot of words you do not understand. In the back of Stokstad is a "glossary." This is a useful tool for clarifying any terms you may not have seen before.
This is what Stokstad's Glossary looks like.
contextualism A methodological approach in art history which focuses on the cultural back ground of an art object. Unlike connoirsseurship, contextualism utilizes the literature, history, economics, and social developments (among others) of a period, as well as the object itself, to explain the meaning of an artwork. See also connoirsseurship.
There is also a glossary (which is less reliable) at the bottom of the pages of the online text. Below is a recreation of Stokstad, on the left and right hand sides of the pages in the margins are the kinds of notes and definitions that you should be writing in your textbook.
Step #3 After your lecture and or after you've read the online textbook, place more notes in the margins.
How do I use this stuff for a work sheet? The online worksheets look very similar to this one which you can print off the internet. The slots or places you fill in are self explanatory; however there are some concepts you should pay attention to.
Here are a couple of ideas or requirements that I would like to see you guys follow when composing your short answers.
First, write in complete and grammatical sentences. Check you spelling before you hit the submit button. You can be marked off for bad grammar and spelling!!!
Second, the short essay questions are your chance to show me how you think and how deep your understanding is of a specific term. Make sure you elaborate. In applying it to the art work please make sure that your application of the term explains what it means. Make sure you expand your explanation by using ideas and facts from all the primary texts, lectures and readings.
REMEMBER: When writing an essay for a worksheet you are NEVER allowed to copy straight from the textbook, primary texts or the online textbook. I will notice if something is not in your own words and you will automatically fail the assignment.
Name I.P. Daily WS#2 Art 103A
Write a short paragraph, in complete sentences, comparing and contrasting the two works.
What are some suggestions, besides taking good notes, for remembering all of this material? I realize that I expect a lot from you, but I am confident that if you take detailed notes and do all of the reading, this material should come very easily to you. Here are some tips for keeping all of the information in your head:cir.ca prep [L, fr. circum around--more at circum-] (1861): at, in, or of approximately--used esp. with dates me.di.um n, pl mediums or me.dia [L, fr. neuter of medius middle--more at mid] (1593) (1): a channel or system of communication, information, or entertainment--compare mass medium (2): a publication or broadcast that carries advertising (3): a mode of artistic expression or communication (4): something (as a magnetic disk) on which information may be stored c: go-between, intermediary d pl mediums: an individual held to be a channel of communication between the earthly world and a world of spirits e: material or technical means of artistic expression 3 a: a condition or environment in which something may function or flourish b pl media (1): a nutrient system for the artificial cultivation of cells or organisms and esp. bacteria (2): a fluid or solid in which organic structures are placed (as for preservation or mounting) c: a liquid with which pigment is mixed by a painter
1) Keep a timeline!!! Mark it with two columns labeled "HISTORY" and "ART HISTORY". This way you will be able to track all of the events throughout time and begin to see new trends in art as events pass.GOOD LUCK WITH THE COURSE!!!!
2) Keep a list of trends!!! When you come across a new trends in art, write it down with a range of dates that mark when it emerged. This can help you follow new trends and how art can move along.
3) Keep a list of words!!! If you need to look up a word in the glossary or ask in class, write it down next to a definition. Such a list can help you memorize key concept that you may have had trouble with.
Key Concepts and Terms REMEMBER: When writing an essay for a worksheet you are NEVER allowed to copy straight from the textbook, primary texts or the online textbook. I will notice if something is not in your own words and you will automatically fail the assignment.
A text, as in a textbook, is something you read. A work of art, like a book, is also something that can be read. The first step in reading a book is looking at it -- not reading the book in the traditional sense but actually looking at the physical properties of the book. How big is the book? What is depicted on the cover? How many pages does it have? Are there illustrations? Take the book down off the shelf, crack it open, and you begin to read the book for its style. The first thing you may notice is the book's form. Are the sentences long and complicated? How is the book organized? Does the book follow a chronological or alphabetical sequence? Reading deeper into the book you discover its content. You are now analyzing the meaning of the book and what the book is about becomes important. You may find that as the book progresses that the way in which the plot elements and characters relate to each other means something more than you first realized. The overall meaning becomes clearer as you analyze the symbolism of the book's plot and characters. This means that you have placed the work within a contextual framework. When we look at a work of art, the same concepts apply to reading a work of art as if it were a written text.
How do you analyze and appreciate a text as a work of art or a work of art as a text?
(1) : orderly method of arrangement (as in the presentation of ideas) : manner of coordinating elements (as of an artistic production or course of reasoning)
(2) : a particular kind or instance of such arrangementb : PATTERN, SCHEMA c : the structural element, plan, or design of a work of art -- visible and measurable unit defined by a contour : a bounded surface or volume(3) The literal shape and mass of an object or figure. (4) More general, the materials used to make a work of art, the ways in which these materials are used utilized in terms of the formal elements (medium, texture, rhythm, tempo, dynamic contrast, melody, line, light/contrast/value structure, color, texture, size and composition.)
Navajo Sandpainting Textile
Contemporary Navajo Carpet 1990's
One of the more important elements concerning form is the idea of composition. Composition can include how things are laid out in two dimensional space or how the picture plane is organized. For example, the top two images in this illustration are asymmetrical. The blue circles are not evenly distributed through out each rectangle.
The bottom two most images are symmetrical. There are balancing elements on each side of the blue sphere in the lower left hand image. Even though one of the objects is a square and the other a circle, they take up about the same amount of space and have the same visual weight.
The boxes on either side of the tall white rectangle are mirror images of each other and this can be referred to as symmetrical too. Since you could draw a vertical line down the center of the center rectangle and on each side of this imaginary line it would be a mirror image, this is called bilateral symmetry.
The "Whirling Logs" textile on the left is arranged in a bilaterally symmetrical fashion because we could draw cut the design in half and the left and right sides are nearly a mirror image of each other. Nevertheless, for all its symmetry, this textile appears kind of flat looking.
These two pictures demonstrate this idea. If you look at the one on the left, there is very little overlapping in the picture plane and the figures seem to be pressed against this imaginary window. While the one on the right has some overlapping and we can tell that some figures are in front of others. This overlapping gives us a sense of space.
Composition also has to do with the creation of the illusion of space. When we look at pictures (as opposed to sculptures as the Augustus above) we often think of the picture as an imaginary window. The front of the window, or the glass, is the picture plane that we look through. In order to create space artists conceive of the picture plane as having three planes that recede back. In order to create space in the picture plane and the appearance of a foreground, middleground and background we can overlap objects to give this illusion. If there is nothing overlapped then we can say that there is no real illusion of space in the picture.
Navajo Sandpainting Textile
Contemporary Navajo Carpet 1990's
These two sculptural friezes demonstrate these ideas in a three dimensional form. If you look at the one on the left, there is very little overlapping in the picture plane and the figures seem to be pressed against this imaginary window. While the one on the right has some overlapping and we can tell that some figures are in front of others. This overlapping gives us a sense of space.
The "Panathanaic Frieze" from the Parthenon sculpted by Pheidias and his assistant, c.440 BCE, Athens, Greece, Classical Greek
Frieze from the Ara Pacis Augustae representing a prosession of Roman citizens, c139 BCE, Rome, Italy, Roman
Here is an example of a formal analysis of the Greek tragedy The Bacchae written by Euripides in 406 BCE. You can use a similar format of analysis when examining a work of art.
The Bacchae is play written in a chant form called dithyramb. Musical instruments, especially the drum, were used to keep time in the performance of the play. Approximately eighty percent of the play is dialogue while only a small portion is devoted to action on the stage. The order of the narrative is predictable and therefore symmetrical because there is a continuous cycle of basic components that are repeated throughout the play. These components are known as the prologos, parados, episode, stasimon, and exodos. The repeated sections are the three central components of the parados, episode, and stasimon, which are retold in predictable form as many as five times in the typical Greek tragedy.
- The prologos (prologue) is the opening scene in which an introductory monologue or dialogue is presented. This establishes the background information of the play and also introduces the "problem," or outlines the events that are to follow.
- The parados is the next section in which the chorus, in chant form, introduces some of the characters. They also tend to predict certain events and comment on the action that will follow in the episode. The chorus is also a useful tool for explaining to the audience some confusing parts of the story line.
- The episode is the main action of the play in which the central characters interact, to form a constant story line, in the center of the stage.
- The stasimon follows the episode. In this section the chorus summarizes and comments on the action that took place during the episode. The play ends with the exodos.
- The exodos is actually the last stasimon of the play and concludes the action with a ceremonial exit of the actors from the stage.
Since there are echoing or mirror like parts that come before and after the episode, which is in the center, you could think of the structure of the narrative as being fairly symmetrical.
Form is nothing without meaning, so the next step in the analysis of a work's form is supplemented by analyzing the work's content. By examining a work's meaning you are analyzing what the work symbolizes. This is called an iconographic analysis.
Etymology: Medieval Latin iconographia, from Greek eikonographia sketch, description, from eikonographein to describe, from eikon- + graphein to write -- more at CARVE
1 : pictorial material relating to or illustrating a subject
2 : the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject and especially a religious or legendary subject
3 : the imagery or symbolism of a work of art, an artist, or a body of art
4 : ICONOLOGY
Marylyns Stokstad's book "Art History" refers to this as content. According to Stockstad:
"Content includes subject matter, which is quite simply is what is represented, even when that consists strictly of lines and formal elements-lines and color without recognizable subject matter, for example." "The study of the "what" of subject matter is iconography. Iconology has come to mean the study of the "why" of subject matter."
Icon comes from the Greek word Ikon which means image. Originally, the term icon was associated with images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. In our culture we sometimes refer to people as cultural icons such Marilyn Monroe. Art historians have transformed the term to be synonymous with the term symbol. Therefore an icon can be an image of saint or animal or it can be a symbol such as a crucifix or a flag. Iconography is the interpretation of a series of icons within a work of art or literature.
For this class, an iconographic analysis is the analysis of the symbols used in a work of art.
Some interesting ideas that might help you to understand the terms "civilization" and "period" occur when studying the concept of "schema and correction." Both of these works of art come from the Ancient Greek civilization. Even though we use the term "ancient" what we are saying is that the Greek civilization occurred a long time ago. Within the Ancient Greek civilization, is tied to the region of land we now call Greece. The civilization lasted between circa (approximately) 1000 BCE to about 100 BCE but we divide the Greek civilization into various periods that are defined by the style of art they produced. For example, the Kouros from Attica, comes from a period we refer to as the Archaic period, which lasted from around 600-480 BCE. The style associated with this Archaic period is that the sculpture is a bit unrealistic and slightly stylized in a geometric way. This means that the style of the Archaic period was to make the sculptures look kind of "blocky" and unrealistic. A later period that occurred during the Ancient Greek civilization is the "Classic Period" which lasted from circa 500 BCE -350 BCE. The main characteristics are that the sculptures look lifelike or realistic. So both the "periods" belong to the Ancient Greek Civilization. The main difference between period and civilization is that period is a kind of style that is a subset of a civilization. Civilizations go through many periods of development and a civilization is located in one geographic region and spans a longer time.
We are already familiar with the term text, which is something we read but the term comes up in other places such as the term textile. A textile is something that is woven. The term originates in the Latin word texere which means to weave. The term context evolved from the Latin contextus which means to weave together.
Contextual analysis weaves together the text's form and iconography with the work's background: its environment, history and culture. For example, we need to know that the average height of human beings during the Roman Empire was usually around five feet tall in order to understand the significance of the height of the statue.
While these three forms of examination may seem arbitrary, they are not much different than the "who, what, when, where, and why" questions we were all raised on in grade school. When I first began my studies as an undergraduate much of my struggle as a student began with knowing what to look for. My sincerest wish is that you as students will be able to take these three planes of analysis (formal, iconographic and contextual) into other classrooms and areas in your life as a simple and effective tool.
asym.met.ri.cal or asym.met.ric adj [Gk asymmetria lack of proportion, fr. asymmetros ill-proportioned, fr. a- + symmetros symmetrical] (1690) 1: not symmetrical 2 usu asymmetric, of a carbon atom: bonded to four different atoms or groups -- asym.met.ri.cal.ly adv -- asym.me.try n bilateral symmetry n (1860): symmetry in which similar anatomical parts are arranged on opposite sides of a median axis so that only one plane can divide the individual into essentially identical halves
²frieze n [MF frise, perh. fr. ML phrygium, frisium embroidered cloth, fr. L phrygium, fr. neut. of Phrygius Phrygian, fr. Phrygia] (1563) 1: the part of an entablature between the architrave and the cornice--see entablature illustration 2: a sculptured or richly ornamented band (as on a building or piece of furniture) 3: a band, line, or series suggesting a frieze -- frieze.like adj
sym.me.try n, pl -tries [L symmetria, fr. Gk, fr. symmetros symmetrical, fr. syn- + metron measure--more at measure] (1541) 1: balanced proportions; also: beauty of form arising from balanced proportions 2: the property of being symmetrical; esp: correspondence in size, shape, and relative position of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line or median plane or about a center or axis--compare bilateral symmetry, radial symmetry 3: a rigid motion of a geometric figure that determines a one-to-one mapping onto itself 4: the property of remaining invariant under certain changes (as of orientation in space, of the sign of the electric charge, of parity, or of the direction of time flow)--used of physical phenomena and of equations describing them