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University of Toronto St. George
Jens Wollesen

The Work of Art I: The Visual Analysis 1/12/2012 3:03:00 PM Historical insight regarding initial attempts to establish “scientific” criteria for the scrutiny of pictures by means of visual analysis. Scientific - the emerging discipline of art history had to compete with other academic fields such as history and „natural sciences‟ Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897)  1848 taught at Pdagogium in Basel and in 1855 at the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich. 1858 to 1893 he held the chair of history and art history at the University of Basel.  Between 1846 – 1856 he made several long trips to Italy, partly to escape his feeling of oppression and loneliness.  Emphasized the individual person as the starting point of a historical study.  Distrust of historical progress was not in tune with the generally optimistic cultural-historical writing of the time.  Accepted the concept of a universal spirit expressed in culture. He believed that the process of growth and decay follow laws which are basically beyond human understanding.  At this time the discipline of art was very much connected to history. It was not compartmentalized existing in itself only.  Approach to art and history, a cultural-historical approach, was very important in its time, and for Wolfflin.  Is known to posterity as the father of cultural history. (Aby Warburg will expand on this)  Earlier historians concentrated on political and military history, he discussed the complex life of the people, including religion, art and literature.  He wrote: “And all things are sources – not only books, but the whole of life and every kind of spiritual manifestation.” Heinrich Wolfflin (June 21 1864 – July 19 1945)  Famous Swiss art historian whose classifying principles (“painterly” vs “linear”, etc..) were influential in the development of formal analysis th in the History of art during the later 20 century.  Taught in Basel, Berlin and Munich in the generation that raised German art history to pre-eminence.  3 great books: Renaissance und Barock (1888), Die Klassische Kunst (1898, “Classical Art”) and Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe (1915, translated as “Principles of Art History”)  Wolfflin‟s family in Winterthur, Switzerland, was wealthy and culture. His father (Eduard Wolfflin) was a classicist, who helped found and organize the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Wolfflin studied art history and philosophy under Jakob Burkhart.  Offered the perspective of a value-free culturally unbiased, objective, more-or-less scientific apolitical access to works of art **(within the constraints of his time, of course, because today this would not fly)  “Because the awareness of each age differes from preceding and succeeding ages, artists are beholden to their periods and cannot freely choose to paint”  “Every artist finds certain visual possibilities before him, to which he is bound. Not everything is possible at all times. Vision itself has its history and the revelation of these visual strata must be regarded as the primary task of art history.” – romanticized view of things.  Textbook: Wolfflin trying to make art history something more profound than the rhapsodizing of connoisseurs and the fact-finding of biographers…believes art can have firmer foundation…to make art history scientific…by introducing method Birthplace of the history of art and of the filed as a university institution lies in Germany. Art history was taught by Wolfflin using slides which was a novelty. Two projectors side by side to compare to monuments. Development of Slides: 1. Using a Biunial or double lens Magic Lantern  Made in England in 1878 by Tyler & Stackemann 2. The German company Agfa invented an irregular-screen process that competed with the auto-chrome, but for political reasons it was not available outside Germany until the 1920s. This early English example was taken by the Oxford physicist T. C. Keeley. - slides were hand coloured and then projected. Cumbersome process. 3. Kodachrome film for still photography was introduced in 1936, it was returned form processing as a film strip. Less cumbersome, but after lots of use, colours become pink. Wolfflin created formalist approach to style. Style to him depends on factors such as: persons, schools, country, race, period and the elusive spirit of the age, THE ZEITGEIST. He said: Can history be raised to a science in which, following the model of natural sciences, one extracts from the profusion of facts the great laws of the spiritual development in the human race? Hoping to discover principles upon which cultural sciences could be founded. Necessary to know the laws which rule social, intellectual and moral phenomena. This knowledge of laws is the source of all power of man even where mental phenomena are concerned. History is not a monolithic truth; it changes with our perceptions. Wolfflin‟s Principles: a. Linear – Painterly (made up word, translated from German “malerisch”) Elements on the canvas are primarily described by lines figures are distinct from one another, the painting is more or less a coloured drawing. The painterly painting relies on color to express form. Pain is usually loosely handled, form is not defined with discrete lines and the edges of froms are not defined. b. Plane – Recession Objects in a planar painting are usually laid out parallel to the picture plain we tend to see the flat sides more. Recession the planes disappear. c. Closed – Open Does the space in the painting seem closed of f by something at the edge of the canvas? Are the limits of the scene defined by objects within it? Or does the painted space appear to stretch on infinitely beyond the limits of the canvas? d. Unity – Multiplicity The multiple painting feels like a collection of individual elements grouped together in the picture space. You feel you could pluck one object right out of the painting. IN the unified painting one senses the objects not as individual elements, but as coherent parts of a general scene. e. Absolute Clarity – Relative Clarity Are objects desxribed as objects or as paint? In the painting with absolute clarity objects tend to be placed in strong, clear light so their edges are crisp and the viewer has an immediate understanding of the form of the object. Objects are, as it were, re-created in paint. Relative clairity, on the other hand, has to do with the optical sensation of objects. Bjects are suggested in paint, not re-created. They generally tend to be darker and more loosely focused. Painted objects are not easily visually separable from the general painted field. Composition There is more than what meets your eyes! OR We only see what we are looking for?  Organization of forms and colours within the work of art  Traditional sculpture - the arrangement of masses and planes.  Representation painting – the grouping of forms on a 2D plane in depth  Abstract painting – forms are generally composed on planes parallel to the picture surface  Illusionistic works with advanced perspective - forms are arranged in accord with the laws of depth perception. Michael Baxandall Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy (1972) Assembling symbolic series of clours was a late medival game still played in the Renaissance. St. Anthoninus and others expounded a theological code: White –Purity Red- Chairity Yellow-gold –Dignity Black – Humility Compositional Elements:  Shape and Proportion  Centre of Interest or emphasis (focal point(s))  Balance between the elements  Harmony, or consistency among the elements The orientation of elements  The path or direction followed by the viewer‟s eye when they observe the image  Colour contrast: the value or degree of lightness darkness, used within the picture  Geometry: for example, use of the golden mean  Rhythm  Illumination or lighting  Perspective Composition is intrinsically interwoven with ART. The end of ART means the end of COMPOSTION? YES to a certain extent. The Work of Art II: ARCHITECTURE 1/12/2012 3:03:00 PM History of Architecture distinct from the history of art. Architecture is different from painting and sculpture, because you can walk INTO architecture (unlike a picture). Architecture develops into space and time. You walk through, you can live in architecture – it thoroughly affects you. Architecture is meaningful. Symbolizes political, ecclesiastical or cultural power, superiority an triumph. For ex. Triumphal arches of Roman architecture. Transfer of meaning between different arches, all harkening back to the arches of antiquity from days of Roman glory. Retrospect styles carry meaning (i.e. Neoclassical, Neoromanesque, Neogothic). Historical architectural building styles were often revitalized, quoting the original aura of power for a different presence. Architecture normally is functional, although formal distinguishing features change through time and become blurred in our times. Paradigms change.  Domestic – square box apartments, offices  Cult/Ecclesiastical – churches, mosques  Civic/Culture –  Utilitarian/Industrial The term “architect(us)” goes back to twelfth century and is immediately bound to Gothic architecture and treaties of Saint Augustine. Then, and today, architecture is a sophisticated amalgam of ideas and engineering. Today, engineering often takes precedence over ideas. Architecture in the past was influenced by the bible, divine ideas, etc.. Architect was rarely used in the medieval ages and describes clerics responsible for the building or just simple masons. A revival of that term took places in the twelfth century; it coincided exactly with an important sociological shift that transformed the humble master mason into the architect of the thirteenth century, no longer being considered as a mere craftsmen, but as a scientist, or theorecticus of his art. Cross Section – a vertical cut through the building Floor Plan or Ground plan w/ cross section – horizontal cross section of a building as the building would look at ground level. A ground plan shows the basic outlined shape of a building and, usually, the outlines of other interior and exterior features. Axonometric View – to measure along the axis. Viewed from a skew direction in order to reveal more than one side in the same picture. Isometric view – form of graphical projection. Axonometirci orthographic projection. Method of visually representing 3D objects in 2D in which the three axes of space appear equally foreshortened. There are eight different orientations to obtain an isometric view, depending into which octant the viewer looks. Many buildings and monuments have to be reconstructed by archeologists not only by found debris, but also by mentions and records of it in literature and so forth. Vitruvius – The Ten Books on Architecture (De Architectura) This is the first and most famous text in the history of western landscape architecture, architecture, engineering and town planning. IN Roman times the architect was, from the word‟s greek etymology, a „chief technician.‟ The Ten Books‟ contents list reveals that most aspects of engineering, including harbours, site planning, clocks aqueducts, pumps, The Greek Orders (from left from rit to right: Doric, Ionic, and Coritihian) These orders do not consist of accidental assemblies of elements, but are coordinated structures according to certain ratios and proportions. Doric are closest to the ground, in Roman Architecture. The Temple of Athena was not “straight” for optical and structural reasons certain architectural elements were leaning. Rome – Caput Mundi (head of the world) The original Pantheon was built in 27 BC – 25 BC, during third consulship of Marcus Agrippa (his name is inscribed on the portico of the building). The inscription reads M AGRIPPA LF COS TERTIUM FECIT “Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius during his third consulate built this” Originally built with adjoining baths and water gardens. Agrippa‟s pantheon was destroyed along with two other buildings in a fire in 80. And the current building dates from about 125. During the reign of the Emperor Hadrian as date-stamps on the bricks reveal. It was totally reconstructed , with the text of the original inscription added to the new façade a common practice in Hadrian‟s rebuilding projects all over Rome. Pantheon influenced many other circular buildings. For example, le Pantheon (1758-1789)m a church dedicated to St. Genevieve. Early example of Neoclassicism. Coffered celling in the Pantheon is also seen in many other structures. The emergence of the basilica. The appropriation of the official, Roman congregational architectural structure (basilica) for Christian purposes under Constantine the Great Old Saint-Peter Old Saint-Paul But there were also building with a central plan layout. The emphasis was not on the apse, but focused on the vertical aspect: the dome. When constant moved his capital from Rome to Constantinople, he had one of the most remarkable church structures built, the church of the Holy Apostles. Unfortunately nothing is left of it except literary evidence. Romanesque Period After the first millennium, new architectural inspirations emerge Modern Medieval Architecture – Gothic Style Chartres Cathedral (1194-1230) Notre-Dames, Amiens (High Gothic) Cathedral – Bishop‟s church Important terms Compound Pier Nave Arcade Triforium Flying Buttress The Five Fundamental Principles of Architecture Architecture depends on: 1. Order gives due measure to the members of a work considered separately, and symmetrical agreement to the proportions of the whole. It is an adjustment according to quantity. Arrangement includes putting of things in proper laces and elegance of effect which is due to adjsutments of appropriate character of the work. Forms of expression include: ground plan (proper successive use of compasses/rule), elevation (picture of front of building in proportion) and perspective (method of sketching front with sides in background). All three come of reflexion (laborious thought) and invention (solving intricate problems with discovery of new principles). – Arrangement 2. Eurhythmy is beauty and fitness in adjustments of memebers. Found when members of work are of a hieight suited to their breadth, breathy suited to length and they all correspond symmetrically. 3. Symmetry is proper agreement between members and relation between different parts in accordance with certain part selected as standard. Ex. the human body there is kind of symmetrical harmony between the body parts. Symmetry in a temple must be between columns, etc. 4. Propriety is the perfection of style, which comes in a work when it is authoritatively constructed on approved principles; arises from: a. Prescription: in case of hypaethral (roofless) edifices, open to sky, are honoring different gods. Or temples of Minerva, Mars and Hercles will be Doric to represent virile strength ofthese gods. Temples of Venus, Flora, Proserpine, Spring Water and Nymphs, will use Corinthian because of thes
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