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Introduction to Humanities. Humanities Through The Arts By F. David Martin and Lee A. Jacobus. Chapter One The Humanities A Study Of Values. What is humanities? The humanities are those studies that are directly concerned with human values.

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introduction to humanities

Introduction to Humanities

Humanities Through The Arts


F. David Martin and Lee A. Jacobus

chapter one the humanities a study of values
Chapter OneThe Humanities A Study Of Values
  • What is humanities?
  • The humanities are those studies that are directly concerned with human values.
  • Unlike the sciences, which are expressed through numbers and symbols, human values can be perceived, felt, and expressed in subtle and enduring ways.
  • In the medieval period the word “Humanities” distinguished that which pertained to humans from that which pertained to God.
humanities a study in values
Humanities a Study in Values
  • Humanities covers a broad area of human creativity but are distinct from mathematics and the “hard” sciences.
  • The separation between the humanities and the sciences is illustrated in the way values work differently in the two areas.
  • Both the scientist and the humanist must make value judgments. The development of powerful weapons is seen as a positive development for the scientist - because of the many possibilities the development of the weapon might bring.
  • On the other hand the humanist might see the development of powerful weapons as a bad thing that will eventually affect or even destroy a culture, people and or an entire life style.
a humanist approach
A Humanist Approach
  • The humanists say, “what we need is a study that will get us closer to ourselves.
  • Of the many ways to study an approach to the humanities is through art and the subtle & enduring ways values are expressed in the arts.
taste is an exercise values
Taste: is an exercise values!
  • People are often quick to say they like or dislike a piece of work because of taste.
  • An there is no accounting for taste.
  • The taste of the mass public shifts constantly. It does not matter if it is in; fashion, programs, slang words or terms, etc., it will one day go out of style. Examples: the cabbage patch doll, the pet rock, the eight ball, gold teeth, mini skirts, the thong, etc.
  • Everyone can and should be educated about the arts and should learn to respond to as wide a variety of the arts as possible
  • Because when we do there is a change within us - something has been added.
many facts are involved in the study of the arts
Many facts are involved in the study of the arts
  • We can verify the dates of Beethoven’s birth and death; the dates of his important compositions, as well as, their key signature and numbers.
  • We can investigate the history of jazz and the claims of Jelly Roll Morton for having been its “inventor.”
  • We can make lists of the Impressionist painters and those they influenced.
  • There are oceans of facts attached to every art form. But our interest is not in fact alone.
what we mean by a study of the arts penetrates beyond facts
What we mean by a study of the arts penetrates beyond facts
  • to the values that evoke our feelings
  • In other words we go beyond the facts about a work of art and get to the values implied in the work.
  • We learn to recognize the values expressed in such works as well as to understand the ways in which they are expressed.
responses to art
Responses to Art
  • Our responses to art are complex
  • Education in the arts permits us to observe more closely and thereby respond more intensely to the content.
  • Consider Eternal City 1934 – 1937 by Peter Blume (p.7 - 5th ed/p.9 - 6th edition)
knowledge about a work of art can lead to your knowledge of the work of art
Knowledge about” a work of art can lead to your “knowledge of” the work of art,
  • which implies a richer experience.
  • THIS IS IMPORTANT as a basic principle since it means that we can be educated about what is in a work of art, such as its form, shapes, and objects, as well as what is external to a work, SUCH AS its political references.
artistic form
Artistic Form:
  • Form is the interrelationships of lines, color, light, textures and shapes.
  • Form of any painting can be analyzed because any painting has to be organized
  • Frequently, we need to know something about the background of a work of art that would aid our perception.
  • Composition is basic to all the arts
  • To perceive any work of art adequately, we must perceive its structure.
abstract ideas and concrete images
Abstract Ideas and Concrete Images:
  • Examine the following poem “l(a”- by e. e. Cummings.
  • Cummings’ poem presents an abstract idea fused with a concrete image or word picture.
  • It is concrete because what is described is a physical event; a falling leaf.
  • Abstract idea on the other hand deal with words or terms such as; love, hate, indecision, arrogance, jealousy, ambition, justice, civil rights, etc.
what is a work of art
What is a work of art?
  • A work of art is often said to be something made by a person. Not natural beauties. Instead it is of human creation!
  • Identifying Art Conceptually:
  • Criteria for determining whether or not something is a work of art:
  • 1. That the object or event is made by an artist,
  • 2. That the object or event is intended to be a work of art by its maker
  • 3. that important or recognized experts agree that it is a work of art.
  • mass produced works do not qualify as works of art.
identifying art perceptually
Identifying Art Perceptually:
  • Perception, what we can observe and conception, what we know or think we know, are closely related. Do they possess artistically perceivable qualities?
four factors for identifying art perceptually
Four Factors for Identifying Art Perceptually
  • 1. Artistic form: All objects and events have form. Form is the interrelationships of part to part and part to whole. Perceptible unity! Artistic form distinguishes art from objects or events that are not works of art.
  • 2. Content: Content is the meaning of artistic form. The meaning!
  • 3. Subject Matter: is the content or meaning of the work of art; is never directly presented in a work of art;
  • 4. Participation: We must not only give but also sustain our undivided attention. Only by participation can we come close to a full awareness of what the painting is all about. Good Analysis
being a critic of the arts chapter 3
Being a Critic of the Arts Chapter 3
  • There are methods and means for becoming a good critic and understanding the goals of responsible criticism.
  • The act of responsible criticism aims for the fullest understanding and the fullest participation possible.
  • It requires being at the height of awareness while examining a work of art in detail, establishing its context, and clarifying its achievement.
being a critic of the arts continued
Being A Critic Of The Artscontinued
  • You are already an art critic - when you; choose a film or change the channel looking for something better, turn a radio dial looking for good music, when you stop to admire a building or a sculpture.
  • Our experience is one factor which qualifies us to make such critical judgments. It helps us make critical judgments without hesitation.
critics of the arts
Critics of the arts
  • Everyone has limitations as a critic.
  • Without some specific critical training ourselves we are capable of going only so far.
  • By learning some principles about criticism and how to put them to work, we can develop our capacities as critics.
being a critic of the arts
Being a Critic of the Arts
  • Our basic critical purpose is to learn, by reflecting on works of art,
  • how to participate with these works more intensely and enjoyably;
  • good criticism will sharpen our perception of the form of a work of art and increase our understanding of its content.
kinds of criticism descriptive criticism
Kinds of Criticism:Descriptive Criticism
  • Descriptive criticism concentrates on the form of a work of art,
  • Describing the important characteristics of that form in order to improve our understanding of the part-to-part and part-to-whole interrelationships.
  • Still, we miss things and oftentimes we miss things that are right there for us to observe.
  • Good descriptive critics call our attention to what we might otherwise miss in an artistic form.
kinds of criticism interpretive criticism
Kinds of Criticism:Interpretive Criticism
  • Interpretive criticism gives detailed explanation of the content of a work of art.
  • It helps us understand how form transforms subject matter into content: what has been revealed about some subject matter and how that has been accomplished.
kinds of criticism evaluative criticism
Kinds of Criticism:Evaluative Criticism
  • Evaluative criticism – to evaluate a work of art is to judge its merits (praiseworthy quality).
  • At first glance, this seems to suggest that it is prescriptive criticism, which prescribes what is good as if it were a medicine and tell us that this work is superior to that work.
kinds of criticism evaluative criticism continued
Kinds of Criticism:Evaluative Criticism continued
  • If evaluative criticism makes you uncomfortable, your reaction is based on good instincts.
  • Nevertheless, evaluative criticism of some kind is generally necessary.
  • Evaluative criticism’s three fundamental standards: perfection, insight, and inexhaustibility. -30-