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notes for chapters 1-5 (part of notes from chap. 6)

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Art History
ART H101
Hoyne Santa- Balazs

Art History 101 13/09/2011 11:58:00 Art History Sept 13 5 categories of analysis Context gives meaning and helps us understand why the work is significant. Understanding the mindset of the prehistoric people, conditions, geographic situation, religious context, economic situation, social stratification, class structure Content/Subject matter what you are looking at, subject matter Formal qualities physical properties, what it is made of, composition, how objects are arranged, recognizable form, lines, color, linear or nonlinear, three dimensional or not, see Starter Kit, elements of form Interpretation what does it actually mean? Pull all previous three together, the true understanding of the work Reception critical reception, may or may not be favorable, how does the work accomplish what it was set out to do? Interaction with its audience Chapter 1: Prehistoric art referring to the time before history Knowledge is not repeated, might change in interpretation, with audience, stories evolving. History is a way of fixing data, prehistory refers to a time before writing was invented. How reliable are understanding is of these people and their culture. Most speculative period of time Sculpture Central and Eastern Europe Paintings North Spain, South France Development of Architecture Lifestyle sparce, cannot drag a lot of stuff with them, cannot accumulate things, groups are small, life spans are fairly short, mid 30s th Study of the period did not begin until 18 century, during the enlightenment people began to organize and understand history, cultural material coming out of the ground with increasing history, then interpret the th information. 18 century is primative, primative people produce primative things. Lack of intelligence Utopian thinking things are not always getting better, regressions Understanding centuries th th rd nd st st nd rd th th th th th th th 5 , 4 , 3 , 2 , 1 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 . 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , th th st 19 , 20 , 21 (BC/BCE) (AD/CE) #1-5 Prehistoric period - 5 major phases Paleolithic the old stone age, derived from the misconception that everything was made of stone, roughly between100,000 BC and 8000 BC, further subdivided into lower, middle and upper Paleolithic, first date of examples come from 40 000 BC. hunter/gatherer small, family groups, not highly stratified pack animals animals are a major resource for raw materials; clothing, shelter, weaponry people follow movement of animals, central to the survival of prehistoric people portable dwellings made of animal hides, mammoth bones, structural elements everything is based on necessities available #1-3 see txtbook barial customs: bodies are curled into fetal position, resurrection of the sun, symbolic behavior, dipose of human remains, cost benefit analysis decorating objects: something is being communicated, first evidence, communicating with things to decorate the body with; first thing that people start to decorate, jewelry, what they want to communicate to the group, what does the individual want to say? Made of shells, animal bones, pebbles, organic materials, used for ornametation Mesolithic the middle stone age, transitionary period, people are settling down, changing living conditions, happens at different points in history Neolithic new stone age, began sometime around 8000 BC and 2300 BC Bronze Age weaponry, shovels Iron age starting at about 100 BC Sept 15 Sculpture and 2-D Works no categories, things were fluid, categories within living things are concrete, things can share features from both categories, transformation is possible permeability, things are impenetrable, possible for shaman to move it outside their bodies into another reality. #1-6: Animal head on human body, visual expression, virtues of that animal absorbed by human being. Human figures dominate sculptural figures, majority is of women. Majority of the women figures are small, and all feature gender characterstic, sexual anatomy is exaggerated, found in Central Asia, Central Europe, all seem to have similar visual characteristics, monumental attention grabbing sculptures, various interpretations. Supporting Theories: at one point, we were patriarachal, proportion of woman figures Pros: these are very imposing looking woman, look very powerful, conclusion was mostly woman represented signs of power because of sexual figure Cons: religious functionality, fertility aids Pros: many woman look quite large, or pregnant, some characteristics show woman who have been pregnant many times, they somehow related it to fertility, fertility theory has problems Cons: there is no evidence that people have connected sexual activity or role of the male in reproduction, sexuality a cult? scale and functionality, might have been used as a kind of charm practicalities of life, no faces, not individualized, fit easily into palm of the hand, surface were handled very frequently, surfaces would be worn down smoothly ideals for paleolithic beauty most problematic of the theories, 500 years ago we always had an idea of what we looked like, we have been doing things this way for over 2000 years. Naming problem: they are labeled, applied by scholars, not the prehistoric people, names reflects who did the naming. Symbolism of womans beauty, constructing notion of the ideal, art uses human form to show physical perfection, moral or internal perfection ex) Aphrodite
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