Sayre woa ch02_lecture-243765

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  • Learning Objectives1 of 2Describe the relationship between words and images.Distinguish between representation and abstraction.Discuss how form, as opposed to content, might also help us to understand the meaning of a work of art.

  • Learning Objectives2 of 2Explain how cultural conventions can inform our interpretation of works of art.

  • Introduction1 of 2In order to get the most out of art appreciation, you must describe why you "like" a work and how it communicates to you rather than just "I like this work."

  • Introduction2 of 2Making sense of Willem de Koonig's North Atlantic Light requires visual literacy.The title helps us recognize what looks like a sailboat at the painting's center.Closer observation can reveal details about light reflecting from the sky into the sea.Critical thinking aids in the interpretation of complicated works.

  • Willem de Kooning, North Atlantic Light. 1977. Oil on canvas, 6' 8" 5' 10". Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Acquired with the support of the Rembrandt Association. 2015. Photo Art Resource/Scala, Florence. 2015 Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. [Fig. 2-1]

  • Words and Images1 of 4Magritte's The Treason of Images depicts a reproduction of an image of a pipe found in tobacco ads of his time.The caption, translated as "This is not a pipe," refers to the fact that this image is not actually a representation of a pipe.Both images and words symbolically refer to things in the world, but are not the things themselves.

  • Ren Magritt,. The Treason of Images, Ceci n'est past une pipe. 1929. Oil on canvas, 21-1/2 28-1/2". Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2015 C. Herscovici/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. [Fig. 2-2]

  • Words and Images2 of 4Shirin Neshat's series, Women of Allah, combines words and images.Rebellious Silence shows a woman wearing a chador that covers everything but her face.A rifle divides the Farsi poem written on her face.The subject matter only hints at the complexity of its content, which relies on the context of the viewing party.

  • Shirin Neshat, Rebellious Silence, from the series Women of Allah. 1994. Gelatin silver print and ink, 11 14". Shirin Neshat, courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photo: Cynthia Preston. [Fig. X-X]

  • Words and Images3 of 4In Islamic culture, calligraphy is the chief form of art and pious writing is sacred.Until recent times, every book began with the bismillah.The Triumphal Entry from Firdawsi's Shahnamah shows a beautiful example in the top right-hand corner.

  • Triumphal Entry, page from a manuscript of Firdawsi's Shahnamah, Persian, Safavid culture. 156283 Opaque watercolor, ink, and gold on paper, 18-11/16 13". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.Francis Bartlett Donation and Picture Fund, 14.692. Photograph 2015 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. [Fig. 2-4]

  • Words and Images4 of 4Islamic culture concerns itself largely with the word of the Qur'an and images are absent in most architecture.Depiction of living creatures was frowned upon; a page from a copy of Nizami's Khamseh shows the heads of humans have been erased.Iconoclasts wished to destroy images in religious settings and appeared at various periods in Christian history.

  • Page from a copy of Nizami's Khamseh (Quintet) illustrating a princely country feast, Persian, Safavid culture. 157475. Illuminated manuscript, 9-3/4 6". India Office, London. British Library Board, I.O. ISLAMIC 1129, f.29. [Fig. 2-5]

  • Representation and Abstraction1 of 5Vocabulary has been developed to describe how closely an image resembles visual reality.Art can be representational, portraying objects in recognizable form.Realism occurs when the image resembles what the eye sees.An work is photorealistic if it is so realistic that it seems like a photograph.

  • Representation and Abstraction2 of 5Art can be abstract when it resembles its real-world subject less.It can be called nonobjective if it does not refer to the natural or objective world at all.

  • The Creative Process1 of 2Abstract Illusionism: George Green's Marooned in dreaming: a path of song and mindGreen's distinct style is characterized by images of abstract sculptural forms that seem to float free from the painting's surface.This work begins with a single sheet of raw birch, painted with a highly illusionistic trompe-l'oeil frame.

  • George Green. marooned in dreaming: a path of song and mind, in progress. 2011. Top: Raw birch ground before painting. Middle: Second stage, painted frame and mat. Bottom: Third stage, painted frame and seascape. Courtesy of the artist. [Fig. 2-7]

  • George Green. marooned in dreaming: a path of song and mind, in progress.2011. Second stage, painted frame and mat. Courtesy of the artist. [Fig. 2-8]

  • The Creative Process2 of 2Abstract Illusionism: George Green's Marooned in dreaming: a path of song and mindA photorealistic seascape, based on a photograph, is then painted inside the frame.Then, the entire composition is overlaid with scrolls, arabesques, and planes of color, a visual representation of music.

  • George Green. marooned in dreaming: a path of song and mind, in progress. 2011. Third stage, painted frame and seascape. Courtesy of the artist. [Fig. 2-9]

  • George Green. marooned in dreaming: a path of song and mind. 2011. Acrylic on birch, 4' 6' 10". Courtesy of the artist. [Fig. 2-10]

  • Representation and Abstraction3 of 5Albert Bierstadt's Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast was criticized for being more fanciful than realistic, despite its representational appearance.Since Bierstadt had never visited Puget Sound, his work is naturalistic rather than realistic.While it is based in realistic elements, its composition is formulaic.

  • Albert Bierstadt, Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast. 1870. Oil on canvas, 4' 4-1/2" 6' 10". Seattle Art Museum.Gift of the Friends of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum, with additional funds from the General Acquisition Fund, 2000.70. Photo: Howard Giske. [Fig. 2-6]

  • Representation and Abstraction4 of 5Wolf Kahn's Afterglow I is more abstract naturalism, featuring a less descriptive landscape with trees.Old Mick Tjakamarra's Honey Ant Dreaming also shows a landscape, but along the rules of Aboriginal symbolism.Landscapes were thought to depict a record of the Ancestral Being's passing.

  • Wolf Kahn, Afterglow I. 1974. Oil on canvas, 41-1/2" 5' 6". Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Kahn. Art Wolf Kahn/Licensed by VAGA, New York. [Fig. 2-11]

  • Old Mick Tjakamarra, Honey Ant Dreaming. 1982. Acrylic on canvas, 36 27". Aboriginal Artists Agency Limited. Photo: Jennifer Steele/Art Resource, New York.[Fig. 2-12]

  • Representation and Abstraction5 of 5Old Mick Tjakamarra's Honey Ant Dreaming also shows a landscape, but along the rules of Aboriginal symbolism.Ceremonial paintings on rocks and the ground were made for centuries in Australia's Western Desert region.This work shows Papunya Tula, where three colonies of ants appear at center.

  • Form and Meaning1 of 3Form refers to everything from the materials used to create a work to the way it employs formal elements into the composition.It often opposed to content, or what the work expresses or means.

  • Form and Meaning2 of 3Kazimir Malevich's Black Square was an attempt to free art from objectivity.The work shows a black square set on a white one and was originally exhibited in the gallery space as though it were a religious icon in a traditional Russian home.The work is minimal, parodic, and totally abstract.

  • Kazimir Malevich, Black Square. ca. 192330. Oil on plaster, 14-1/2 14-1/2". Muse National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.Inv. AM1978-631. Photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Jacques Faujou. [Fig. 2-13]

  • Form and Meaning3 of 3Beatriz Milhazes based Carambola on a square, influenced by Malevich.Even the geometrical composition's circles were intended to contain squares.She cites color as creating conflict and movement and references forms of Brazilian culture in the piece.

  • Beatriz Milhazes, Carambola. 2008. Acrylic on canvas, 4' 6-7/8" 4' 2-5/8".Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery, New York and Shanghai. [Fig. 2-14]

  • Convention, Symbols, and Interpretation1 of 6Interpretation of a work relies on its cultural context.Art historian Kenneth Clark compared the images of Apollo and an African dancing mask.He was able to decode conventions of Greek sculpture, but misinterpreted the meaning of the African mask through his ethnocentric reading.

  • Apollo Belvedere (detail), Roman copy after a 4th-century BCE Greek original.Height of entire sculpture 7' 4". Museo Pio-Clementino, Vatican City. 2015 Photo Scala, Florence. [Fig. 2-15]

  • African dancing mask from Ulivira, Lake Tanganyika.Lateral view. Wood, Height 24". The Courtauld Gallery, London.The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London/Bridgeman Images. [Fig. 2-16]

  • Convention, Symbols, and Interpretation2 of 6Iconography is a system of visual images widely understood by a given culture or group that is carried forward through generations.Symbols represent something other than their literal meaning.Over time, the meaning of an image can still change or be lost within a culture.

  • Convention, Symbols, and Interpretation3 of 6Giovanni Arnolfini and His Wife Giovanna Cenami by Jan van Eyck has a repertoire of symbols that would have been understood by the contemporaneous viewer, but are lost today.From a Muslim perspe