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The Power of Art - Chapter 1


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The Power of Art - Chapter 1

  1. 1. The Power of Art Chapter 1: Looking at Art The first step in learning to appreciate art is learning to look. Art can renew the pleasure of seeing and make us feel more alive.
  2. 2. Methods and Materials <ul><li>The Mona Lisa is the best known work of art in the West </li></ul><ul><li>Leonardo revolutionized the art of portraiture, adding movement and life </li></ul><ul><li>The use of sfumato lighting is a soft light that dissolves edges and blurs details, giving his forms a sense of ambiguity, as in her smile </li></ul><ul><li>The background not lining up on both sides also adds movement, suggesting that her shoulder shifts as we view her </li></ul><ul><li>sfumato – vanished, gone up in smoke </li></ul>
  3. 3. Art and Culture <ul><li>Just as the Mona Lisa reflects the ideals of Renaissance Italy, this Japanese sculptural group reflects the taste and beliefs of the world in which it was made </li></ul><ul><li>This Buddha is as refined and aloof as a prince who looks down graciously at his worshippers </li></ul><ul><li>The Buddha is floating to earth with music-making angels to bring people to a paradise where the aristocratic class believed their life of luxury and beauty would continue </li></ul>
  4. 4. Bringing Faith to Life Prehistoric Art and Magical Powers <ul><li>The Venus of Willendorf reflects a different use of art than we are familiar with </li></ul><ul><li>Exaggeration of the parts of the body related to childbearing suggests the idea of a fertility goddess </li></ul><ul><li>The small size of the work suggests a magic charm held in the hand to promote fertility and survival in the harsh ice age environment </li></ul>
  5. 5. Prehistoric Art and Magical Powers <ul><li>These cave paintings seem to have been used for some sort of hunting rituals as they were mostly painted deep in the caves, away from where the humans dwelled. </li></ul><ul><li>The primary subjects are animals, painted naturalistically and appearing to be alive and in motion . </li></ul><ul><li>Art maintains its ritualistic function to this day in some parts of the world. </li></ul><ul><li>These self-decorations are a part of ceremonies and have magical implications </li></ul>
  6. 6. Bringing Faith to Life: The Power of Religious Art <ul><li>Spiritual spaces (and the images they contain) from the prehistoric caves to the Gothic Cathedrals convey particular religious messages and spiritual values. </li></ul><ul><li>The soaring vertical space of the cathedral seems to lift the soul heavenward toward God. </li></ul><ul><li>Within the cathedral we experience the power of art to transform the physical act of viewing into the spiritual act of worshipping. </li></ul><ul><li>The stained glass tells stories and creates a mystical atmosphere </li></ul>
  7. 7. Art Represents Ideals. Art as a Declaration of Power <ul><li>The western conception of great art as a combination of the real or truthful, and the ideal, or beautiful, is descended from the aesthetics of Ancient Greece. </li></ul><ul><li>Physical beauty and athletic strength were considered as important .as mental and spiritual growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Besides expressing cultural beliefs, art has been used from the earliest times to express power. </li></ul><ul><li>This realistic portrait of Henry VIII emphasizes him as a larger than life-size figure. </li></ul><ul><li>He appears forever to us as an enormous, insatiable powerhouse because of Holbein’s portraits. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Power to Change our Beliefs <ul><li>Art has the power to change the way we think by illuminating cultural stereotypes. </li></ul><ul><li>In her diorama-like work Betye Saar incorporates familiar found objects like images of Aunt Jemima, but radicalizes them with an addition of a black power fist and guns. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Power to Shock <ul><li>Many artists in the early 20 th century wanted to wake viewers up and make them question their preconceptions about art. </li></ul><ul><li>Duchamp seems to be rejecting centuries of tradition by creating a kind of parody of the Mona Lisa. </li></ul><ul><li>He creates a new category of art object – the rectified readymade, where he simply alters something that already exists; in this case a postcard of the painting. </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Power to Touch our Emotions <ul><li>Art can touch our emotions and begin a process of healing </li></ul><ul><li>Even a very abstract work can effect us in a very powerful way </li></ul><ul><li>The Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial reminds us of the losses of American lives in that war by listing all of the names of the dead and missing </li></ul><ul><li>With the underground placement of the work, the viewer literally walks down into the earth and sees himself and others reflected on the marble surface </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Power to Awaken our Senses <ul><li>Art can wake us up to the beauties of the natural world In the modern world - photography has become a medium for this kind of artistic revelation – to slow us down, make us stop, and really look </li></ul><ul><li>Ansel Adams wanted to reveal “an austere and blazing poetry of the real” – to show us the spirituality, beauty and grandeur of the natural world </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Power to Transform the Ordinary <ul><li>Sometimes art can show us something familiar in new ways </li></ul><ul><li>Christo and Jeanne-Claude transformed Central Park in New York for 3 weeks in February 2005 with the creation of “The Gates” </li></ul><ul><li>Their work was temporary but delighted countless visitors and changed the way that people experienced the park </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Power of Art for the Artist Self-Expression <ul><li>Artists sometimes use their art to transform painful experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Frida Kahlo’s painting seems to have cathartic, healing powers, as she addresses the physical pain she suffered from an early traumatic accident </li></ul><ul><li>She shows her strength through her calm facial expression </li></ul>
  14. 14. Defining Art Art is Beauty <ul><li>Ideas about what is beautiful change and evolve over time </li></ul><ul><li>Once a critic accused the Impressionists of “making war on beauty” </li></ul><ul><li>Today people flock to admire these works - they see them as beautiful as well as romantic and sweet </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes a work continues to be controversial </li></ul><ul><li>Yet both of these works use loose, expressive brushwork and color for emotion </li></ul><ul><li>Neither artist feels the need to be precisely descriptive </li></ul>
  15. 15. When we know more we see more <ul><li>Sometimes if we open our minds and really look we are rewarded with a new world opening up </li></ul><ul><li>This initially appeared to passers-by as a piece of a building fallen to the ground </li></ul><ul><li>Close inspection revealed an artist’s studio under the ground </li></ul>