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Intro to Art History

Intro to Art History

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Intro to Art History

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  1. Intro to Art History

  2. Art History A. Art History – focuses on recreating social, cultural, and economic contexts in which an artwork was created 1) Goal of art history -> understand the artwork and its meaning B. Art history is not definite! 1)It is related to other areas (i.e. anthropology) and often overlaps with aesthetics and art criticism 2)Definition of “art” has become more broad than it was in earlier times 3)The meaning of an artwork can change over time and from a different perspective.

  3. Nature of Art History A. Art generally analyzed in two forms: formal and contextual. 1) Formal analysis – focus on visual qualities. Artist’s decisions on visual aspects (i.e. color choice) relate to meaning of artwork. 2) Contextual analysis – looks outside the artwork to consider culture, economy, location, etc. of work’s origin for meaning of artwork. B. Art historians often assume the art of one culture will affect the art of a future culture.

  4. Development of Art History A. Arose as a discipline in mid-eighteenth century. 1)Evolved from ancient Roman Pliny the Elder to Enlightenment thinkers and even present-day art historians.

  5. Art of the Old Stone Age A. Oldest works of art – cave paintings in Chauvet Cave, France. 1) Natural pigments used to draw outlines of animals, possibly as part of rituals. B. Venus women statues from Old Stone Age cultures suggest value of fertility. C. Lascaux cave paintings first art to include both humans and animals.

  6. Venus Statue

  7. Lascaux Cave Painting

  8. Art of the Middle Stone Age A. Cave and rock paintings continue to appear in southwestern Europe. 1) Lascaux still only site of human subjects in artwork.

  9. Art of the New Stone Age A. Rings and rows of stones (i.e. Stonehenge) appear in Europe. 1) “Heel-stone” sits northeast of site, marking point where sun rises on midsummer solstice.

  10. Ancient Mesopotamian Art A. Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) was site of strong religious influence. 1) Religious temples evolved to become stepped pyramids called ziggurats. B. After Babylonian invasion, pillar containing Hammurabi’s Code becomes symbol of law and order C. During Assyrian period, relief carvings became popular to depict important historical events.

  11. Ziggurat

  12. Persian Art A. Known for palace at Persepolis (influenced by Egyptian art)

  13. Ancient Egyptian Art A. Architecture of Predynastic period (before conquest by Alexander the Great) 1) Sphinx, pyramids at Giza, pharaoh statues. B. Hierarchical scale – status of person determines size in artwork (kings would be largest, defeated enemies smallest) C. Fractional representation – each part of body shown as much as possible (profile of head, torso in full frontal view, profile of arms and legs). D. Pharaohs’ tombs often sites of much decoration and art.

  14. Fractional Representation As much of body as possible is shown

  15. Nubian Art A. Little is known on Nubian art, but art historians continue to search for clues.

  16. Art of the Aegean Islands • Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean cultures influenced Ancient Greek art. • Cycladics known for nude female figures and decorated pottery • Minoans created frescos (paint on wet plaster) and pottery designs • Religious influence in art • Mycenaeans mastered goldsmithing.

  17. Ancient Greek Art • Known for stone statues influenced by Egyptian and Mesopotamian art • Temples built with three main types of orders (column designs) • Doric – simple cap, no base • Ionic – curved design in cap, simple base • Corinthian – intricate design in cap, simple base

  18. Greek Orders Doric Corinthian Ionic

  19. The Classical Period • Athens became home to the Classical Period – a period of fine Greek architecture and sculpture • 475-323 B.C.E. • Early Classical Period – Doric columns and sculptures emphasized strength • Contrapposto – pose that appeared in Greek sculptures that made figure’s balance uneven to give more natural stance • Middle Classical Period – Parthenon establishes column as principle feature in Western architecture • Late Classical Period – decline in architecture. Use of Corinthian column • Hellenstic Period (331 - 23 B.C.E.) – influence of Eastern culture. Venus de Milo famous sculpture.

  20. Venus de Milo

  21. Etruscan Art • Transition from Greek to Roman art • “Ideal to pragmatic” • Etruscans first known inhabitants of Italy • Only surviving art – clay artifacts and sarcophagus lids

  22. Roman Art • Early Roman art – reflected influences of Etruscan art • 2nd century B.C.E. – adapted Greek idealized figures to show Roman emperors • Architecture – invented concrete (stones cemented together) • Pioneer the dome and the arch to build bridges and aqueducts

  23. The Colosseum, the Pantheon, and Aqueduct

  24. Roman Art (cont.) D. Relief sculptures common would glorify empire 1. Emperors and military victories 2. Reliefs on tombs to honor the dead E. Statues and busts became common for funeral processions 1. Still followed idealistic style

  25. Byzantine Art • Byzantine art – mosaics • Christian subject matter. Found in Ravenna, Italy • Byzantine architecture – Hagia Sophia

  26. Ravenna Mosaic

  27. Hagia Sophia

  28. Medieval Art • Dominated by Catholic Church • Majority illiterate – monks copied illuminated manuscripts • Book of Kells and Coronation Gospels • Germanic metalwork popular • Often jewelry • Vikings carved designs on their ships

  29. Architecture of Medieval Churches • At the heart of every city or town was a church • Early churches – Romanesque(used Roman arch) • Often formed from barrel vaults (rounded vault) • Vault – arch-shaped structure used as ceiling or to support ceiling (intersection of arches) • Massive stone walls, small doors and windows • 12th – 16th centuries – Gothicchurhes • Pointed arch gives “soaring” sense • Ribbed vaults (thin framework vaults) • Flying buttresses (exterior supports) counteracts pressure created by arches • Large stained glass windows


  31. Vaults

  32. Romanesque Church

  33. Gothic Cathedral

  34. Renaissance in Southern Europe • Late 13th century – transitional period from Gothic to Renaissance • Giotto diBondone created frescos using perspective (giving illusion of third dimension) • Beginning of use of naturalistic style • Growing economy, influence of Greek and Roman art led to rise of Renaissance • Rise of individual artists • 1400 A.D. – competition to design Florence baptistery doors won by Lorenzo Ghiberti • Combined biblical scene with Greek style • Second place winner – Filippo Brunelleschi • Finished dome of Florence Duomo • Developed linear perspective (single vanishing point) • Masaccio transforms into aerial perspective (“bird’s-eye view”)

  35. The Duomo

  36. The Ninja Turtles! (plus one) • Donatello – “founder of modern sculpture” • Influenced by classic antiquity. Work showed naturalism • David bronze statue (revived male nude) • Botticelli – The Birth of Venus depicts female nude as lasting image in art • Leonardo Da Vinci – “Renaissance Man” (inventor, architect, engineer, painter, sculptor, scientist, musician) • Designed canal lock system, designs for submarine and helicopter • The Last Supper and Mona Lisa • Mona Lisa used sfumato (blurred outline) • Michelangelo diBuonarotti creates David out of marble slab • “Embodied spirit of Florence” • Commissioned by Pope Julius II to design tomb (later cancelled) • Created The Dying Slave, The Bound Slave, and Moses • The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel • Raphael Sanzio also commissioned by Julius II • School of Athens pays homage to Greek thinkers • Sistine Madonna shows mastery of Madonna (Virgin Mary)

  37. Key Renaissance Works

  38. More Southern Renaissance Artists • Giorgione – The Tempest shows landscape as important subject matter • Titian Vecelli – painted portraits with column or curtain backdrop • Tintoretto influenced by Mannerism • Distortion of perspective, scale, color, positioning, etc. • Chiaroscuro – contrast of light and dark • Reformation takes focus off church; Counter Reformation puts focus back on church • El Greco and Tintoretto bridge gap between Renaissance and Baroque periods

  39. Mannerism

  40. Renaissance in Northern Europe • New oil paints = more detail • Artists travel south to Italy • Matthias Grünewald’sIsenheimAlterpiece depicts Christ’s crusifiction. • German artist Albrecht Dürer influenced by naturalism and Italian Renaissance • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and other woodcuts and engravings • Hans Holbein the Younger painted for King Henry VIII • Captured detail and psychological character of subjects

  41. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

  42. Baroque Art • Baroque – characterized by movement and energy • Sought to appeal to emotion and faith • Patronage of wealthy few led to rise of Baroque work • Lots of color and ornamentation • Baroque = dramatic! • Used chiaroscuro, Caravaggio most known for it • “caravaggesque” • Artemisia Gentileschi – woman Baroque artist • Bernini sculpted Ecstasy of Saint Teresa • Flanders – center of Baroque art • Rembrandt known for The Night Watch • Louis XIV had much Baroque art in his Versailles palace • Diego Velazquez (Spanish Baroque painter) based figures of color instead of drawings • Influenced Impressionism

  43. Example of Baroque Art

  44. Rococo Art • Rococo – celebrated grand, luxurious life in Versailles palace • Light-hearted decoration, gold and pastel colors • Fête galante – paintings of luxury of French nobility • Three main artists – Watteau, Boucher, and Fragonard

  45. Neoclassical Art • Push for political revolution in France = change in culture = change in art • Neoclassicalism – revival of interest in Ancient Greek and Roman art • Challenged Rococo and aristocracy • Sharp outlines, lack of emotion in figures, geometric forms and rational order • Jacques Louis David and pupil Jean Dominique Ingres main artists of period

  46. Romanticism • “Emotional and dream-like” • Feeling over reason • Focused on the natural world • Nature often the main subject matter • Delacroix, Theodore Gericault, and William Blake main artists of period

  47. Rococo vs. Neoclassicalism vs. Romanticism

  48. Realism and Impressionism • Realism - shows positive and negative features, ordinary people • Gustave Courbet’s The Stonebreakers • Impressionism – “broke the rules” • Bright, contrasting colors, ordinary subject matter, light over detail, lack of solid form • Manet and Monet main Impressionists

  49. Realism vs. Impressionism

  50. Post-Impressionism • Paul Cezanne – countered Impressionism with art divided into foreground, middle ground, and background • Derived form into basic geometric shapes (later influence of cubism) • Georges Seurat – optical mixing technique gave vibrant color • Van Gogh – color should show human emotion • Intense color, new brush strokes • Paul Gauguin – went to Tahiti and painted “through the lens of colonialism” • Change in technology and focus = change in art • Camera = art no longer needs to capture history • Chemically based paint = artists can paint outdoors • Large focus on colonialism = artists’ interest in African masks and Japanese prints • Edgar Degas combined photography and Japanese perspective • Industrial Revolution dissatisfaction creates Pre-Raphaelites (religious + Romanticist + Archaic) and Art Nouveau (organic decoration and flowing line) • Art Nouveau in architecture and engineering as well as art