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ARTH 226 Thurs Nov 8 Lecture.docx

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Art History
ARTH 226
Matthew C.Hunter

ARTH 226 Thursday Nov 8 Daguerre, Talbot and the Inventions of Photography Review:  Three artists all born in 1730s, all hailing from not heart of cultural life (like Chardin and David), but hailing from distances o Emerging industrial centers - Joseph Wright o Emerging crucial colonial center of North America - Benjamin West o Important colonial court of Boston - John Singleton Copley  Wright: moving in midst of highly energized scientific culture of British midlands  Closely connected, patronized by leading figures in lunar society in Birmingham - society that integrates important figures like Jospeh Arkwright, Josiah Wedgwood  Takes science and technological innovations for centerpieces of his art o Ex. An Experiment on a Bird on the Air Pump  Benjamin West:  Taking up highest academic genre of history painting which is essential to dignity of long 18th century  Not mere mechanic or craftsman, dignity of this kind of artist stands apart from his capacity to rival from arts of poetry and literature in using images that can tell a story and speak to general concerns of human subject/modern citizen  West, hailing from afar, (Philadelphia), having come to Britain upon finishing Grand Tour, bankrolled by wealthy syndicate, taking scene from British war, insists on depiction of that event in its modern particularity o Death of General Wolfe (1770, oil on canvas)  Representing modern actions that happened in particular places and modern times in modern garb  Artist should be as West says, a watchman over his times, projecting over future and to eyes of world, a view of events happening in the present and communicating them to the future  Self-consciously modern position being articulated by West  Good grounds for thinking about West as modern artist  James Gilray, Titianus redivius, -or- the seven wise-men consulting the new Venetian oracle o Benjamin West becomes ensnared in early 1790s o Monkey peeing in toes of Appolo Belvedere on left o Behind Donkey's behind, we see building crumbling, as if edifice of knowledge is crumbling o Meanwhile, reynolds is rising up from grave, hearing prospects of wonderful manuscript of Titian being recovered o West, meanwhile, is retreating from scene as whole episode is about to be brought to life (on right)  What we get from Gilray is stylization of Zophany's early depiction of newly formed royal academy  Like Joshua Reynolds before him, and many other artists of our period, West was seduced by the sentuous, colouristic capacities of artists such as Titian  Following on from predecessor Reynolds as second president of Royal Academy, West takes over  Following on from Reynold's own utilization of chemical preparation  West allured by scheme of family who claimed to have manuscript that had been lost for ages, now retrieved, and they were willing to share with high and mighty of British Academy for a sum  Information from manuscrpt fed to West and colleagues over period of months  Basic principle: begin with not white ground, as typical for painters in this period, but instead the painting began with a black background o Like in Titianus redivius, -or- the seven wise-men consulting the new Venetian oracle  Cicero Discovering the Tomb of Archimedes o Black background, overlay painting, tinted colours on top  Tension of modern artist using revolution of painting while at same time, having abiding interest in old master of practices of past (British Manufactory: A Sketch)  Also places at heart of his depiction, an object not British at all, but an ancient roman artefact: the Portland Vase  John Singleton Copley:  Like west, hailing from afar - American colony  In artistic network, asking artists whom he's never talked to, to send him artistic supplies  Creating trade routes, to prepare for transport: works like Boy with a Squirrel  Using technologies, thematizing them in ways in painting itself  Also painting patriotic figures, heroes of American revolution o Paul Revere o Craftsmanship seems to echo Copley's own conception of his craft  Artist engaging directly with mechanisms of transport across oceans, across vast distances, with network of artists  Factory of Josiah Wedgwood, Portland Vase o Part of industrial revolution itself, from which photography, a seemingly defining modern medium, emerges  When we look at work of William Henry Fox Talbot, York Minister Cathedral from Lod Lane, 1844 or Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, The Tuileries  Photographic experiments are often cast as a defining moment, a differentiating moment  Year 1839 - announcement of Daguerre's technique o Turning point of artistic modernity o Seen by some as wonderul thing o Theodore Maurisset, Daguerrotypemania o Charles Baudelaire sees it as horrible Experimental Printing  Two major figures of photographic history: o Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre o John Moffatt, William Henry Fox Talbot  Daguerre: inventions are called Daguerreotypes  Talbot: paper and negative process  Peter Perez Burdett o Picture: ...after Wright's Two Boys inflating a Bladder  Caravaggio type painting, candlelit effect o Burdett investigating visual possibilities of chemical pr
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