Arts and the Humanities
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SURVEY OF THE ARTSAn Introduction to the Arts and Humanities
Art and the Eye of the Beholder• Art and Audience• Art and Artist• Art and Intention
The arts strive to weave our experiences into coherent bodies of knowledge and to communicate them to others
Art within humanities• Art is how our ancestors recorded
the world around them in a time before cameras
• We record things the same way today: in how we dress, what music we listen to, the buildings we work and live in, or what we write
• You can tell what a culture valued by their artwork
Science vs. Humanities • Seeks to describe reality• Attempts to create a
universal concept• Measurable and
• Seeks to describe humankind’s experience of reality
• Gives form to emotion• More analytical approach
What would you guess about the person who owns these items?
Concerns of art• Creativity• Aesthetic communication• Symbols
Fine art and applied art• Fine art is lauded for its aesthetic quality• Applied art includes architecture or handicrafts with a
Art’s purpose and functionAmong art’s purposes:1) Provide a record2) Give visible or other form to feelings3) Reveal metaphysical or spiritual truths4) Help people see the world in new or innovative ways
Among art’s functions:5) Enjoyment6) Political and social commentary7) Therapy8) Artifact
Aesthetic perception and response1. What is it?2. How is it put together?3. How does the work appeal to our senses?4. What does this work mean?
1. What is it?2. How is it put together?3. How does the work
appeal to our senses?4. What does this work
Picasso believed a painting was a “sum of destructions”
1. What is it?2. How is it put together?3. How does the work appeal to our senses?4. What does this work mean?
Criticism of art• Plato vs. Aristotle• Renaissance examined moral worth of art and its
relationship to nature
• The late 1800s disregarded traditional criticism• Today, we evaluate art based through a “lens”
• Formal criticism – considers no external conditions or information
• Contextual criticism – considers related information outside the artwork, such as facts about the artist, social and political conditions, etc.
• Artisanship – Is the work well made? Understand the medium and the style
• Communication – Evaluate what the artwork tries to say and if it was worth the effort. Does it offer a profound or unique insight?
Art brut, or “outsider art”• Idea developed by Jean
Dubuffet in the 1940s and Roger Cardinal in 1972
• Work created by those outside of mainstream art culture
• Artists may be self-taught• May illustrate extreme mental
states, unconventional ideas, or fantasy worlds