Wells

How to Look at Great Art -Tools for 1-36

How to Look at and Understand Great Art - Tools from Lectures 1-36

Lecture 1. The Importance of First Impressions (10-09-2018)

Notice where the work is displayed:
⦁ Indoors or outdoors?
⦁ Alone or with other works?
⦁ Museum, church, government building, street, park, or other venue?

Notice how the work is displayed:
⦁ Painting - frame or no frame?
⦁ Sculpture - pedestal or no pedestal?
⦁ Is the frame or pedestal suited in some way to the work?
⦁ Is the work freestanding or an installation, or does it transform the environment?
⦁ What are the work's genre and medium, and what tools and techniques may have been used to create it?
⦁ Is the work a reproduction that might lose some features of the orignal, such as texture or detail?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the basic features of the work and the way it is displayed affect how I see it?

Lecture 2. Where Am I? Point of View and Focal Point (10-09-2018)

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, or close-up point of view?

Notice which parts of the work your eye is drawn to, the focal point(s):
⦁ What catches your eye when you first look at a work?
⦁ How does your gaze move around the work as you explore it?
⦁ Where does your eye finally come to rest?
⦁ Is this the kind of work that doesn't have a focal point, or that has more than one? (If it's a three-dimensional work, be sure to walk around it.)

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the point of view and focal point in this work contribute to its meaning?

Lecture 3. Color - Description, Symbol and More (10-09-2018)

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 in this work analogous (near each other on the color wheel, like blue and purple) or complementary (opposite each other on the color wheel, like red and green)?
⦁ Are the colors mainly dark or light?
⦁ Are the colors high intensity (like bright red) or low intensity (like pink or maroon)?
⦁ Are the colors the same as we see in nature(blue sky) or not (red or yellow sky)?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the artist's color choices influence my response to the work?

Lecture 4. Line - Description and Expression (08-10-2018)

Notice the lines in the work:
⦁ Are the lines straight, with sharp angles (geometric), or curved and natural (organic)?
⦁ Notice the scale and proportion in the work:Are the lines descriptive (depicting an object) or expressional (conveying emotion)?
⦁ Are the lines bold outlines, cross-hatching, or merely implied 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 effect do the lines have on the work?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the lines in this work affect my feelings about it?

Lecture 5. Space, Shape, Shade and Shadow (08-10-2018)

Notice the shapes:
⦁ Are they organic or geometric?
⦁ Is there a sense of three-dimensionality suggested in the work?
⦁ Do objects in the work overlap?
⦁ Are shadows visible in the work?
⦁ Is the shape the figure and the void around it the ground, or is the shape the ground, making the void read as the figure?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the impression of mass and space in the work influence my reaction to it?

Lecture 6. Seeing the Big Picture - Composition (08-10-2018)

Notice the full composition of the work:
⦁ Is the composition symmetrical or asymmetrical?
⦁ Is the composition open or closed?
⦁ Is there a focal point? Where is it?
⦁ If the composition is asymmetrical, how is balance achieved?

Notice the scale and proportion in the work:
⦁ Is the work itself very large or very small?
⦁ Are any objects or figure in the work out of scale - that is, different from what they would be in nature?
⦁ Are any parts of an object or figure out of proportion to the rest of the object or figure?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the composition (symmetry, scale, proportion) of the work influence my response to it?

Lecture 7. The Illusion - Getting the Right Perspective (12-11-2018)

Notice how a sense of depth and distance is created in a two-dimensional work:
⦁ Do you see evidence of linear perspective - horizon lines, vanishing points?
⦁ Are background objects proportionally smaller than foreground objects?
⦁ Are background areas of the picture less detailed, distinct, and brightly colored than foreground areas?
⦁ Can you detect any distortions or lack of consistent perspective in the picture?
⦁ Are you aware of any anamorphic forms or trompe l'oeil?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the artist's manipulation of perspective affect the way I see the work?

Lecture 8. Art that Moves - Time and Motion (12-11-2018)

Notice whether the work suggests motion or the passage of time in any way:
⦁ Are there repeated depictions of the same character in one work?
⦁ Are there processions in the work?
⦁ Is the composition cropped, or are there unstable poses, suggesting future movement?
⦁ Are there optical illusions that seem to move when you gaze at the picture?
⦁ Does the way paint is applied suggest strong, active gestures by the artist?
⦁ Does the work actually physically move in some way?

Ask yourself:
⦁ Does this work suggest movement or passage of time, and if so, what does that contribute to its meaning and my response to it?

Lecture 9. Feeling with Our Eyes - Texture and Light (12-11-2018)

Notice how texture is created:
⦁ Walk around a sculpture and imagine what it would feel like to the touch. Is it rough or smooth?
⦁ For a painting, use a raking light (or stand at the extreme edge of the picture) to see whether the actual texture of the paint is thin and smooth or thick and textured. Imagine what it would feel like. (Don't touch!)
⦁ In a painting, how are soft objects, like fabrics and feathers, made to look soft? Are there little dabs of white paint that suggest hard surfaces?

Notice how light is used:
⦁ Can you see where light is supposed to be coming from?
⦁ How are shadows used? Do they create a sense of mass and volume? A sense of mystery?
⦁ Are shadows gray and black, or are they just darker shades of other colors?
⦁ Are there strong contrasts between light and dark in this work?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the artist's use of texture and light affect my response to this work?

Lecture 10. Drawing - Dry, Liquid, and Modern Media (10-12-2018)

Notice how the drawing is made:
⦁ What purpose does the drawing serve? Is this perhaps a preliminary sketch for a painting, or is it meant to stand alone as a work of art?
⦁ What kinds of lines is the artist using: contour, cross-hatching, other?
⦁ What medium is the artist using: chalk, pencil, charcoal, ink, ink wash, metalpoint, pastel, computer?
⦁ Is the drawing in black and white or in color?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the artist's choices of line and medium affect my response to the drawing? What if those choices had been different?

Lecture 11. Printmaking - Relief and Intaglio (10-12-2018)

Notice how the print is made:
⦁ What is the subject of the print?
⦁ What was the purpose of the print (for a magazine or book, to be sold as an individual work)?
⦁ Which printing process did the artist use:
1. Relief (wood engraving, woodcut, linocut)?
2. Intaglio (metal engraving, etching, drypoint, mezzotint, aquatint)?
3. Planographic (lithograph, silkscreen, or monotype)?
⦁ Is the print made in black and white or color? Is the color part of the print process, or was color added after it was printed?
⦁ Is the print numbered? Does that mean anything?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the printmaker's choices of subject, color, and printing process affect how I respond to the work?

Lecture 12. Modern Printmaking - Planographic (10-12-2018)

Notice how the print is made:
⦁ Which printing process did the artist use:
1. Relief (wood engraving, woodcut, linocut)?
2. Intaglio (metal engraving, etching, drypoint, mezzotint, aquatint)?
3. Planographic (lithograph, silkscreen, or monotype)?
⦁ Is the print numbered? Does that mean anything?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the printmaker's choices of subject, color, and printing process affect how I respond to the work?

Lecture 13: Sculpture - Salt Cellars to Monuments (14.01.19)

Notice how sculpture creates its effects:
⦁ What is the subject of the sculpture (person, animal, object, other)?
⦁ How big is the sculpture compared to the natural size of the figure or object in nature?
⦁ How does light affect how we see the sculpture?
⦁ Is the sculpture indoors or outdoors?
⦁ Is the sculpture on a level with you or raised above you?
⦁ Is the sculpture in relief or in the round?
⦁ Is the texture smooth or rough?
⦁ What medium is the artist using - marble, clay, bronze, wood, gold, acrylic, found objects?
⦁ Has the work been painted or gilded or otherwise had its color altered?
⦁ Is the sculpture in an expected place, like a museum or a public square, or does its placement surprise you in some way?
⦁ Is the work additive or subtractive, carved or cast?
⦁ Is the sculpture interactive in some way? Does it invite you to respond?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the sculptor's choices of lighting, subject, size, placement, texture, medium, or interactivity affect how I respond to the work?

Lecture 14: Development of Painting - Tempera and Oils (14.01.19)

Notice the type of paint the artist chose and how it was applied to the surface:
⦁ Is the paint oil, watercolor, tempera, or some other type?
⦁ On what surface is the paint applied?
⦁ Are brushstrokes smooth or rough, tiny or large, hidden or visible?
⦁ Can you tell if a palette knife has been used on the paint?
⦁ Do you see evidence of varnishing?
⦁ Did the artist use more than one medium?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the types of paint and the method of application affect how I see the painting?

Lecture 15: Modern Painting - Acrylics and Assemblages (14.01.19)

When you look at modern paintings, notice the effects of acrylic paint or other nontraditional materials and methods of application:
⦁ Was acrylic paint used in this work? What effects does it have that are different from a traditional oil painting?
⦁ Can you detect other media used in combination with acrylic, like wax or oil sticks, enamel, or chalk?
⦁ Has the painter used any nontraditional methods of applying paint: finger painting, splattering,dripping?
⦁ On what surface are the paint and other media applied?
⦁ Can you see the texture of underlying canvas, indicating thin gesso, either hand-applied or preprimed?

Ask yourself:
⦁ What effects can modern painters create with new materials and methods of application that earlier painters could not?

Lecture 16: Subject Matters (11.02.19)

Notice the subject that the artist has chosen for the work:
⦁ Is the subject of this work a portrait, a historical event, a scene from religion or mythology, a landscape, or a still life?
⦁ Is the work a genre painting - a scene from everyday life?
⦁ What layers of the subject's meaning can you identify beyond the literal?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the artist's choice of subject affect the way I see the work?

Lecture 17: Signs - Symbols, Icons, and Indexes in Art (11.02.19)

Notice how the artist uses signs and symbols in a work to suggest meanings:
⦁ Are there any elements in the work that suggest a particular season or time of day?
⦁ In a picture with people in it, what objects are associated with each person? How are the people dressed? What are they doing? What relation do they have to each other and to the viewer?
⦁ What period is the work from? What meanings would the significant objects in the work have had at that time?
⦁ Are there any traditional symbols in the painting?
⦁ Are there any objects that seem like they might be symbolic, but you aren't sure what they mean?
⦁ Are there signs or pointers that link us indirectly to the signified object, person, or concept?
⦁ How do various signifiers - sybols, icons, and indexes - relate to style-based signs such as line, color, light, texture, composition, motion, and so forth? Together, how do they enhance your understanding of the work?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the way the artist uses signs and symbols contribute to the meaning of the work?

Lecture 18: How Artists See Others (11.02.19)

When you look at a portrait, notice how the artist presents the person:
⦁ Is this a famous or an unknown person? What do you know (or can you learn) from other sources about this person?
⦁ Is the portrait painted, sculpture in relief, or sculpture in the round?
⦁ Is the portrait formal or informal?
⦁ Was the portrait done in profile, three-quarter, or full face?
⦁ Is the portrait life size, larger, or smaller?
⦁ Is the person in the portrait looking at you, at something in the picture, or off into space?
⦁ How are you looking at the person in the portrait (from above or below, from the point of view of someone in the picture, in a mirror or through a window in the picture)?
⦁ Is the portrait realistic, idealized, distorted, or abstracted?
⦁ What objects are associated with the person in the portrait, and what might they signify about that person?

Ask yourself:
⦁ What does the way an artist portrays a person tell me about that person?

Lecture 19: Self-Portraits - How Artists See Themselves (11.03.19)

When you look at a self-portrait, notice how the artist presents him or herself:
⦁ Is the self-portrait painted, sculpture in relief, or sculpture in the round?
⦁ Is the self-portrait formal or informal?
⦁ Was the self-portrait done in profile, three-quarter, or full face?
⦁ Is the self-portrait life size, larger, or smaller?
⦁ Is the artist looking at you, at something in the picture, or off into space - that is, where is the artist's gaze directed?
⦁ How are you gazing at the artist - from above or below, from the point of view of someone in the picture, in a mirror or through a window in the picture?
⦁ What objects are associated with the artist, and what might they signify about him or her?
⦁ Is the self-portrait realistic, idealized, distorted, or abstract?
⦁ Is the self-portrait flattering, distinctly unflattering, or neutral?
⦁ How does the self-portrait reflect the times and circumstances in which the artist lived and the role of artists at that time?
⦁ Is the artist the main subject of the work or just a cameo appearance as part of a larger work?
⦁ If there are other self-portraits by this artist, how does this one compare to them?

Ask yourself:
⦁ What does the artist seem to be saying about herself or himself in this portrait, and what does it reveal about the role or status of the artist at that time?

Lecture 20: Landscapes - Art of the Great Outdoors (11.03.19)

Notice how the artist composes and fills the landscape:
⦁ Where is the horizon line in the painting?
⦁ How much of the canvas is filled by the foreground, the middle ground, and the background?
⦁ How close is the foreground to you, and how distant is the background?
⦁ What is the interplay of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines in the landscape?
⦁ Where does the light come from in the landscape, and what kind of weather is suggested?
⦁ If there are any figures in the picture, what is their proportion to the landscape?
⦁ Where do you as a viewer enter the landscape, and how easy is it to imagine walking through it?
⦁ Is the overall feeling of the landscape serene and peaceful or wild and dramatic?
⦁ Is it a wooded landscape, farm landscape, seascape or cityscape?

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the way the artist presents the landscape influence my response to the work?

Lecture 21: Putting It All Together (11.03.19)

When you "read" a work of art, notice as much as you can about it:
⦁ Use all your tools here!
⦁ Take time to really look at the work; use your imagination to enter into the spirit of it.
⦁ Pay attention to what your eye falls on first, how your gaze moves around the work, where it comes to rest. What emotions or thoughts does it evoke?
⦁ Look from more than one angle.
⦁ Do your own reading of a work before you read the plaque. Does the plaque add anything new to what you were able to see for yourself?

Ask yourself:
⦁ After reading what you can from a work and enjoying that reading, what question do you want to ask about the work?

Lecture 22: Early Renaissance - Humanism Emergent (08.04.19)

How to recognize art of the early Renaissance:
⦁ Subjects are still largely religious but put more emphasis on the human identity of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints than medieval art did; the childhood and human life of Christ emerged as a new topic.
⦁ Landscapes are included in paintings, demonstrating an interest in nature.
⦁ Paintings show the influence of classicism.
⦁ Artists paid more attention to accurate anatomy in human figures.
⦁ Artists made a greater attempt to create believable forms.
⦁ Attempts at realistic scale and proportion are inconsistent.
⦁ Atmospheric and linear perspective are attempted but imperfect.
⦁ Shading and shadowing may be inconsistent.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How has this work evolved in subject and style from medieval art? How do its perspective, scale, and shading show that it is not High Renaissance art?

Lecture 23: Northern Renaissance - Devil in the Details (08.04.19)

How to recognize art of the Northern Renaissance:
⦁ Primary features are compulsive details and use of oil.
⦁ Subjects include both religious art and everyday civic interests, but either subject will address everyday life in its details and objects.
a. In religious depictions, many apparently ordinary objects are used symbolically, according to a specific code.
⦁ Like early Italian Renaissance art, some attempt is made at perspective, but it is far from perfect. They were much more accomplished at atmospheric perspective than linear perspective.
⦁ Artists were interested in realism but not in the classicism that interested their early Renaissance counterparts.
a. They did not adhere to the classical canon of proportion, nor a full classical sense of illusion.
b. They tended to use hierarchical scale, rather than realistic scale.
⦁ Oil paint allowed a remarkable wealth and realism of detail. Once the artists figured out how to use oil paint in this way, they were able to replicate the level of detail, but not the saturated hues, with tempera.
⦁ The cool light used highlights sharp folds and lines, not soft classical folds and lines, in clothes and other fabrics.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How is this work like and unlike early Italian Renaissance art?

Lecture 24: High Renaissance - Humanism Perfected (08.04.19)

How to recognize art of the High Renaissance:
⦁ Works demonstrate the culmination of humanism and classicism.
⦁ Artists had perfected observation and drawing, especially of plants and human anatomy.
⦁ Works demonstrate mastery of the human figure.
⦁ Compositions follow "perfect" shapes - circles, squares, or equilateral triangles.
⦁ Every feature of the work aims at glorifying humanity and imitating of nature.
⦁ Works feature classical proportions.
⦁ Artists had mastered linear and atmospheric perspective - not on a studied level but intuitively.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How are proportion and perspective in this work different from that of early Renaissance and Northern Renaissance art?

Lecture 25: Mannerism and Baroque - Distortion and Drama (13.05.19)

How to recognise Mannerist art:
⦁ It breaks the rules of Renaissance neoclassicism.
⦁ The palette consists of tertiary or "off" colours.
⦁ Objects show distorted proportion, size, perspective; space is truncated.
⦁ Human figures are elongated.
⦁ The overall impression is artificial, rather than natural.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How are colour, proportion, and perspective in this work different from High Renaissance art? How can I enjoy something so different and so elegant?

How to recognise Baroque art:
⦁ The rules of the Renaissance are bent to produce drama.
⦁ The palette is returned to basic colours (highly saturated primary and secondary), figural proportions, and classical scale.
⦁ Line and colour are expressional.
⦁ Scenes are highly dramatic, intense, and exuberant.
⦁ We see strong contrasts of light and dark.
⦁ Painters use impasto to build up texture.
⦁ The scene has no background, and the foreground pushes into the viewer's space, or there is extreme contraction or expansion of space.
⦁ Composition uses strong diagonals and less symmetry.
⦁ The subjects are "big" - royalty, exploration, great architecture, and so forth.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How are colour, scale, and the human figure in this work similar to High Renaissance art?
⦁ How is the use of drama, light and shadow, and spatial manipulation different from High Renaissance art?

Lecture 26: Going Baroque - North versus South (13.05.19)

How to recognize Spanish, Flemish, and Italian Baroque art:
⦁ It is heavily influenced by the Catholic Church: religious stories and divine visions are major subjects, and it often uses symbols referring to the lineage of the pope.
⦁ It uses strong visual effects to excite and teach.
⦁ Diagonals and spatial expansion are used to create extreme drama.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice and didactic purpose distinguish this work from other forms of Baroque art?

How to recognise French Baroque art:
⦁ Royal absolutism and the divine right of kings (and of Louis XIV in particular) are major themes.
⦁ Works show strong classical influences.
⦁ Foregrounds are pushed forward, and point of view is dramatic.
⦁ Works are exuberant, with an abundance of figures, details, and decoration.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do presentation and the influence of absolutism distinguish this work from other forms of Baroque art?

How to recognise Dutch Baroque art:
⦁ It is influenced by Protestantism, with Christian subjects aimed at private buyers, not an established church.
⦁ Canon contains genre paintings, portraits, and still lives.
⦁ Lighting is intense and dramatic.
⦁ Compositions are dynamic, with extreme depth.
⦁ Landscapes do not conform to classical proportions.
⦁ Painters use impasto textures to create drama.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice and composition distinguish this work from other forms of Baroque art?

Lecture 27: 18th-Century Reality and Decorative Rococo (13.05.19)

How to recognize Rococo art:
⦁ Baroque's sweeping diagonals become light Rococo curves.
⦁ Point of view is often looking slightly down on the scene.
⦁ Light is graceful, delicate, and decorative; small areas of highlights replace the strong light/dark contrasts of Baroque.
⦁ The subject matter is upper-class pleasures; love (human or mythical), angels (especially cupids, or putti), gardens, and dances.
⦁ The application of paint is very tactile and even sensual, with a wide variation of thick and thin and subtle use of glazes.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, tone, use of light and line, and point of view distinguish this work from Baroque art? How does the work match the lifestyle of the times?

Lecture 28: Revolutions - Neoclassicism and Romanticism (10.06.2019)

How to recognise Neoclassical art:
⦁ It has similarities with classical and Renaissance art.
⦁ The subjects are simple yet noble, stressing stoicism and morality.
⦁ It rejects Rococo sensuousness and frivolity.
⦁ The lines are organized around horizontals and verticals.
⦁ The compositions are closed and highly ordered.
⦁ The space is restricted, with a shallow foreground, action in the middle ground, and limited or no background.
⦁ Shapes are outlined with thin, sharp, clear lines.
⦁ The palette contains highly saturated primary colors or monochromatic brown.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, directions of line, composition, and use of color distinguish this work from Rococo art? From Romantic art?

How to recognize Romantic art:
⦁ It has many similarities with Baroque art.
⦁ Subjects express extremes and high drama or an escape into nature, exotic worlds, or an idealized past.
⦁ Its emphasis is on emotion and spirituality, rejecting Neoclassical forms as overly mechanical and unfeeling.
⦁ The lines are organized in diagonal and swirling directions.
⦁ Compositions are open, complicated by multiple figures, objects, and spaces.
⦁ Light and color show strong contrasts.
⦁ Landscapes are favored as a vehicle for the expression of emotion.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, directions of line, composition, and use of color distinguish this work from Rococo art? From Neoclassical art?

Lecture 29: From Realism to Impressionism (10.06.2019)

How to recognize Realism:
⦁ Scenes are from contemporary life, although religious subjects and landscapes sometimes appear.
⦁ The theme is often didactic, intended to teach a lesson about the ills of contemporary society.
⦁ They are easy to understand; honesty and sincerity toward the subject are highly valued.
⦁ The head-on point of view further reflects honesty.
⦁ The color palette is often drab and earth toned, the application of paint flat.
⦁ Baroque-style drama is absent.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, use of color, point of view, and lack of drama distinguish this work from Neoclassical art? From Romantic art?

How to recognize Impressionism:
⦁ Contemporary social life of a middle class in the cities and suburbs, usually at leisure, is the main subject.
⦁ The composition implies a glimpse or fleeting impression of a scene.
⦁ Painters experimented with varying elements such as light and viewpoint.
⦁ Painters had a fascination with the effects of light and color.
⦁ Painters observed nature in natural light; ther are no blacks and no chiaroscuro shading.
⦁ Figures and objects have no outlines; contrast of color and value create shapes instead.
⦁ Compositions are cropped: partial figures, unusual points of view above or below the scene, awkward poses suggesting imminent movement.
⦁ Paint is applied in short dabs of color.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, use of light and color, point of view, and application of paint distinguish this work from earlier Realist art?

Lecture 30: Postimpressionism - Form and Content Re-Viewed (10.06.2019)

How to recognize Postimpressionism:
⦁ We can no longer identify a work's period by its style. Welcome to modern art!
⦁ It is a reaction to the two losses of Impressionism: 1) the illusion of form in space, and 2) significant content.
⦁ It uses complementary and analogous colors to produce psychological effects, rather than descriptive color.
⦁ As in the work of Seurat, brushwork may be pointillist, attempting firmer contours through an almost scientific approach to application of color. Pointillism is the only easy-to-identify style of Postimpressionism.
⦁ As in the work of Cezanne, paint may be applied in solid blocks or patches of color; we may see black shadows and even outlines. The effect is two-dimensional up close, but three-dimensional when viewed from afar. The artist may manipulate linear and atmospheric perspectives or offer multiple points of view in the same image.
⦁ The work may be Symbolist, using symbols to address universal truths or philosophical or spiritual ideas, often using some abstract elements to lead a viewer away from a traditional, illusionistic reading of the work.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, use of line and color, and application of paint distinguish this work from Impressionism?

Lecture 31: Expressionism - Empathy and Emotion (09.09.2019)

How to recognise Expressionist art:
⦁ Artists use distortion, simplification, and abstraction of spaces, figures, and objects.
⦁ Color, line, composition, and space are used expressively, not descriptively.
⦁ The goal is to produce psychological empathy, not pleasure, in the viewer.
⦁ Open or closed composition might be used for emotional expression.
⦁ The point of view is often confrontational.
⦁ It often addresses animal-like peace with nature versus soul-deadening life in the city.
⦁ The application of paint may be very heavy, almost sculptural.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, use of line and color, distortion of space, and application of paint distinguish this work from Realism? From Impressionism?

Lecture 32: Cubism - An Experiment in Form (09.09.2019)

How to recognize Cubist art:
⦁ The focus is the relation of three-dimensional form to a two-dimensional surface.
⦁ The artist takes a playful, experimental approach to his work.
⦁ Forms are simple and geometrical.
⦁ Lines are sharp and geometrical, often distorted.
⦁ The viewer is presented with multiple points of view in a single two-dimensional work. Forms are broken up to present more sides at once.
⦁ Artists sometimes employ collage techniques.
⦁ Color is distorted, often monochromatic or neutral.
⦁ Picasso and Braque's subjects are traditional and neutral, with references to Parisian culture; their still lives often contain musical instruments. The later artists whom they influenced (sometimes called Cubistic artists) make references to modern culture in general.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do subject choice, use of line and color, and application of paint distinguish this work from Impessionism or other art styles?

Lecture 33: Abstraction/Modernism - New Visual Language (09.09.2019)

How to recognize modern abstract art:
⦁ Most of the tools of earlier art forms can still be applied to the work. (The exceptions are gaze, perspective, and point of view.)
⦁ May contain abstract (simplified natural objects) and nonrepresentational (geometric and universal) shapes.
⦁ The feelings (not necessarily positive feelings) and empathy experiencedby the viewer are crucial to understanding the work.
⦁ The artist uses nontraditional application of paint, such as dripping, gesture painting, and so forth.
⦁ Imitation of nature is no longer the standard.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do abstract or nonrepresentational forms, expressiveness, distortion of space and perspective, and application of paint distinguish this work from Realism? What influence, if any, do you see from Cubism? From Expressionism?

Lecture 34: Dada Found Objects/Surreal Doodles and Dreams (14.10.2019)

How to recognise Dada art:
⦁ It contains found objects, taken out of their functional context, including ready-mades.
⦁ Collage and assemblage are common techniques.
⦁ It critiques civilization, sophistication, artistic training, and high culture.
⦁ It is anti-art - nihilistic but playful.
⦁ It may seem unfinished or deliberately messy.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the materials and style of the work, as well as its negative yet playful attitude, suggest the anti-sophistication of Dada?

How to recognise Surrealist art:
⦁ It is concerned with internal, not external, reality.
⦁ It strongly references the subconscious mind and Freudian psychology.
⦁ It may depict dream imagery: an odd juxtaposition of objects portrayed in realistic or illusionistic style.
⦁ It may be rooted in doodling or automatic drawing.
⦁ It often involves nonnaturalistic scale and proportion or distortion of forms.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How does the dreamlike quality of this work - its style, scale, and proportion, all combined with odd settings and juxtapositions - set this work apart from Realism? From other kinds of modern art?

Lecture 35: Postmodernism - Focus on the Viewer (14.10.2019)

How to recognize Postmodern art in general:
⦁ The focus is on the viewer rather than the artist-as-genius.
⦁ Multiple interpretations of one work are possible.
⦁ The artist deliberately mixes and confuses images, styles, and media.

How to recognize Pop art and Neo-Dada:
⦁ Collages and found objects are common.
⦁ The focus is on the external world, not the inner life of the artist.
⦁ Subjects come from popular media and marketing and from contemporary life.
⦁ Techniques, colors, visual effects come from advertising.
⦁ Uses repetition to reference modern technology/consumer appetites and create sensory overload. The silkscreen process in particular was used because it is fast, cheap, and not too finished.

How to recognize Op art:
⦁ Compositions are optical illusions based on retinal reactions.
⦁ There is a playful interplay of reality and illusion.

How to recognize minimalism:
⦁ Shapes are basic, geometric, and nonrepresentational.
⦁ There is a deliberate lack of artist's manipulation or intervention.
⦁ Pieces are often fabricated not by the artist but by a shop on the basis of an artist's design specification.
⦁ It is a purely formal investigation with no spiritual intent.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How do the subject choices, techniques, colors, and composition of this work differentiate it from Modernist Abstract art?

Lecture 36: Your Next Museum Visit - Do It Yourself! (14.10.2019)
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