ACE Class Report – Art History 1.
Title: Art History 1
Instructor: Professor Sharon Latchaw Hirsh
Why I chose to take this class:
This class teaches us how to look at and understand great art. This class give me the vocabulary of visual language for Art. The terms and other will form my virtual tool kit for looking at and understand great art. Also this is a good training experience for me to teach and mentor art to the new students.
What I learned from this class:
The importance of first impression: Between the early Renaissance and the present, Western art has changed in almost every conceivable way: in techniques, media, styles and even philosophies. Yet vocabulary of the visual language has hardly changed at all. Artist still talk about lines, space and color. These terms and others will form our virtual tool kit for looking at and understanding great art. Genre- In art history it can have two meanings: 1) The type of art – sculptures, paintings, prints, drawings and so forth, and 2) It refers to a scene from everyday life. Media are the material which the work is made. Tools – instruments used to manipulate the media. What are the work’s genre and medium and what tools techniques may have been used to create it.
Point of view and focal point: Point of view is where the viewer stands in relationship to the scene depicted in representational art. The focal point is the main focus of a work of art, the place where your eyes will almost automatically land on your first viewing and will return again and again. Both of these are purposely determined by the artist. Together, point of view and focal point help determine how a viewer approaches a painting.
Notice your relation to the scene, or point of view:
- Do you seem to be seeing the work from above, below or straight on?
- Are you an outside observer looking in on a self contained scene?
- Does someone or something inside the picture invite you into the work?
- Does the work actively confront you with cropping, compacting of close-up point of view.
Notice which parts of the work your eyes are drawn to, the focal point.
- .What catches your eyes when you first look at the work?
- How does your gaze move around the work as you explore it?
- Where does your gaze finally come to rest?
- Is this the kind of work that doesn’t have a focal point, or that it has more than one?
Color – Description, symbol and more: Complementary color intensify each other, analogous colors soften each other, to create a variety of effects, both optical and psychological. Artist can use color to draw focus, evoke emotion, or challenge preconditions. They can create the illusion of shape, depth and distance. Colors can even have a purely symbolic function. However it is used in an artwork, colors neither arbitrary or predetermined; it is always the artist’s choice. two main color schemes used: 1) Analogous color and 2) Complementary colors. Analogous color are harmonious, placed side by side, they will soften each other, warm colors (red, Yellow and Orange) evoke a happy response and cool colors (Blue, Green and Purple) evoking a melancholy or sad response. Complementary colors are on opposite spokes of the color wheel; red is opposite green, Yellow is opposite Purple and Blue is opposite Orange. Complementary colors intensify one another by creating and afterimage of their complements on the viewer retina.
Notice the colors the artist has chosen:
- Are the main colors primary (Blue, Red, Yellow), secondary (Orange, Purple, Green) or Tertiary (A blend of primary and secondary like teal)?
- Are the colors mainly dark to light?
- Are the colors high intensity (like bright Red) or low intensity (like Pink or Maroon)?
- Are the color the same as we see in nature (Blue sky) or not (Red or Yellow sky)?
Lines – Description and expression: Lines intended to portray an object are called descriptive, whereas lines not based in nature are called expressional. Crosshatching uses groups of lines to depict three-dimensional form. The direction of various lines can affect out emotional response to a work, as can their geometric or organic form. Upward lines gives us a feeling of happiness and downward lines ones makes us sad. Perpendicular sets of lines are emotional neutral.
Notice the lines in the work:
- Are the lines straight, with sharp angles (geometric), or curved and natural (organic)?
- Are the lines descriptive (depicting an object) or expressional (conveying emotions)?
- Are the lines bold outlines, cross hatching, or merely implies by change of color or value?
- What major directional lines can you see in the work? Are they mostly horizontal, vertical, diagonal or circular? What affects do the lines have on the work?
Space, shape, shade and shadow: Much of the vocabulary and psychology of shape is similar to that of lines. Organic versus geometric, descriptive versus expressive. When regarding a shape of figure, we also need to look at the ground,the negative space around it. Chiaroscuro – The shading of light and shadow towards the edge of figures and objects to enhance a sense of their three-dimensional volumetricity.
See the big picture – Composition: Composition is the combination of color, line and shape ( or color, mass and shape) that gives a great work of art a sense of balance. Well balanced composition may be symmetrical or asymmetrical, the latter is often more dynamic but it is difficult to execute well. In closed composition, the image or structure seems to frame itself. In open composition, the image seems to continue beyond the frame or into the void. Composition is also one more tool artist can use to create a sense of scale.
The illusion – getting the right perspective: Perspective is the key to the illusion of three-dimensional space in two-dimensional representational artwork. Linear perspective, discovered in the classical world and rediscovered during the Renaissance, scales all the objects in a painting towards a vanishing point. Foreshortening is the application of linear perspective to a single object. Atmospheric perspective applies more detail to foregrounded objects than to distance objects. An artist may use or violate any or all of the three to achieve the desired effect.
Art that moves us – Time and motion: Early Renaissance painters included multiple scenes on one panel to tell a story. Renaissance and early modern artists use lots of activity and dynamic posed figures to imply motion. As artist moved away from Realism, they experimented with brushwork and force lines to create dynamic effects. Three-dimensional sculpture asks the viewers to be in motion around or through the work, and kinetic sculpture is in motion itself.
Feeling with our eyes – Texture and light: Texture and light work together in am artwork, and an artist can manipulate one to affect the other because we cannot usually touch an artwork, the interplay of the elements allow us to feel with our eyes. The material and technique supply an artwork’s texture, and the only way the piece is lit reveals or conceals it. One of the most important parts of an art curator’s job is selecting the proper lighting to display the work as the artist intended without causing long term damage. Tenebrism: A strong contract of light and dark in painting, introduced in Baroque art of the e17th century.
Drawing – Dry, Liquid and Modern Media: Drawings, originally considered a practice medium, are often keys to understanding an artist’s work. Traditionally a crucible of ideas, certain drawings show the development stages of a great work. These types of drawing include croquis, or quick sketches, contour drawings which outline a subject, preliminary sketches, near completed plans for a painting, and cartoons, used to transfer a sketch to another surface to be painted. Only in the 19th century did drawing come to its own as an art form.
Printmaking – Relief and Intaglio: A print is a work on paper that can be mass produced. Arrived in the West from China during the Renaissance. Printmakers incise designs y hand onto wooden or metal plates with sharp tools or acid. In Relief print, the negative (paper-colored) areas are cut away. In Intaglio, the positive (ink-Colored) lines are carved in the plate is then inked and carefully pressed into the paper in a mechanical press.
Modern Printmaking – Planographic: Prints are intended to be made in multiples. In the 19th Century, artist began limiting prints to ensure quality. Planography printing methods were developed. Lithography allows an artist to draw an image rather that carve it. Silkscreen is a quick and easy printing process that works like stenciling. Monotype can only produce one perfect print per plate; its advantage is uniqueness.
How will this class contribute to my success upon release:
Knowledge about how art is created using different techniques will allow me to better understand ART. This knowledge will be taught to communities where I plan to volunteer my teaching and mentoring services.