Wells

How to Look at Great Art-Tools for 31-33

How to Look at and Understand Great Art - Tools from Lectures 31-33

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?