Fox 1: Lecture 1
Art History 1A03
Monday May 6,2013
What do artists do?
Non verbal means
What do art historians do?
Art history is a living discourse-happens in the here & now
The textbook quotes: “privileged set of artifacts/evolves through the actions, opinions
and selections of artists, patrons, governments, collectors, archaeologists, museums, art
historians, & others.
Henry Moore (made similar artwork to one made 75 years ago)
Andre Serrano (iconoclasm, Jesus in urine)
4 Key Aspects of the Art Historical method:
1. Analyse physical properties: (date/age, condition, medium & technique,
dimensions & physical conditions). Age: Broad categories of Western Art History
such as Prehistoric (Greek & Roman), Byzantine, Medieval (Romanesque &
Gothic), Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, Realism,
Modernism & Post-Modernism
2. Analyse visual or formal properties: (colors, light, line, form, texture, style,
balance, composition & contrast)
3. Analyse content (iconography): (symbols & conventions) Ex = “Mother & Child”
c. 1890 by Mary Cassatt=informs meaning of painting. Also: King Tut & Buddha
4. Analyse cultural context (iconology): Artwork makes no sense. Ex = Sculptures
from Ancient Greece Fox 2: Lecture 1
Analysis of A Painting Using 4 Key Aspects of the Art Historical method: “Crucification
with the Virgin & St. John the Evangelist” c. 1460 by Roger Van der Weyden. Oil on oak
panels 71” x 73”.
1. Physical Properties: Distich (2 pictures in 1), oil, 1460, painted on oak panels,
chalk base coat, pigments in oil, informed reflectography reveals sketchy
drawing underneath, x-ray reveals dowel holes & plugs.
2. Visual Properties: Great detail in the fabric, sharp red colors, decay of walls,
contrast of wall with red tapestry, solid colors, lines create a cross, no shadows,
symmetrical on right side, curved linear left side, visual tension.
3. Content Properties: Jesus is being crucified, Mary is crying, bones represent
decay, skull symbolize