AH 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Hatshepsut, Cowry, Tutankhamun

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12 Jun 2015
Notes for AH
1) Form and Context
-form refers to the visual aspects of art alone without any
reference to history, culture, society, politics, economics, etc.
-Context considers the historical, sociopolitical, economic and
etc. environment out of which the art emerged.
2) We combine the formal and contextual so we
can understand the full way of art.
3) We look at the formal analysis of the elements of
art: line, shape, value, color, texture (physical
and implied) Even if you look at a picture and
you don’t know what it is, you can still
appreciate it for its beauty, oh it has color, it has
an interesting shape, it has texture. It has many
of the elements that we use to create a work of
art. What the artist does with these elements helps us understand
what the artist does to make art. When you put them together it
looks like one way of art but when they are separate they look like
an individual piece of art.
4) We look for emphasis or de-emphasis in a work of art. If you
have a painting and in the painting one person is 15 feet tall and
everyone else is 5 feet tall then we automatically assume the 15
feet tall person is the most important. This can point you in the
right direction of what is the most important about the painting.
5) Principles of Design: unity, harmony, variety, balance, rhythm,
repetition, dominance, movement.
-All of these are held together and they are what makes this
piece of art a unit.
-We are seeing the artists thinking process, we are seeing how
they view the painting.
6) Once you look at the other principles and elements we can go
deeper and look at the subject matter: iconography, symbols,
content, and meaning.
-with some symbols you can just have the symbol with no words
or writing and know what it means : nike swoosh. However
some symbols there are lots of meanings and without context
you can miss the meaning of the symbol.
7) Subject Matter: Subject Matter consists of all the identifiable
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objects, incidents, iconographic or narrative references that are
recognizable in a work of art.
-Iconography: the identification of images with symbolic content
or meaning
Pre-Historical Art:
3 kinds of art time centuries.
-MESOLITHIC Middle Stone Age
-NEOLITHIC New Stone Age
Old Stone Age: we are completely removed from these people, why did they
make the objects they made or why they use the materials they used… we
can only make educated guesses.
-picture of bear:
-picture of stretched out dancers and animals
-picture of overweight naked women.
-Fertility Goddess from Cernavoda ( Romania) 5,000 BCE- \
-Women holding bison horn ( ca 25,000-20,000) Laussel France.
-Spray Painted Hand print from Vallon- pont-d Arc in Southern
-The bulls are not free standing, they are relief sculpture.
The Earliest Sculpted Forms
-examine the nature and reasons for the earliest sculpted forms,
the majority of which are stylized depictions of women.
-If size denotes importance, then the biggest thing is usually the
most important.
-Sculpture in-the-round ( Freestanding)
-sculpture in relief
-Subtractive method/additive
-Medium- what the structure is made out of.
Paleolithic Artists (?) Cro- Magnon.
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Oral Spray painting. Why make cave paintings?
- to capture and master painted animals (cattle, horses, bison)
- For ritual or religious purposes ( cave bears, panthers, wooly
- As symbols of power ( Predatory and strong animals)
Cave Artist Tools:
Chauvet Cave: chauvet cave was discovered by Jean marie Cauvet in a forge
of the Ardeche River in southern France in 1994. Its paintings, engravings
and ddeawins may date as early as 30,000 BCE or as recent
AH NOTES FOR 8/29/14
Studying works of art
-because meaning can change over time, one goal of art history
is to identify the cultural factors that produce a work, to
determine what it probabaly ent for the artist and the original
audience, and to acknowledge that no interpretation is
definitive. This approach is known as:
A) Formalism
B) Contextualism
C) Symbolism
D) Naturalism
-when we seek to know the meaning and interpretation of a work
of art we seek to learn about its
a) iconography
b) canon
c) idealism
d) aesthetics
Art history
-many art historians consider the first art history book to be lives
of the most excellent Italian architects, painters nad scultors
( 1550) by
a) michelangelo
b) leonardo da vinci
c) gio
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