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This introductory exploration of basic artistic concepts and terms applies them to a skeletal multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural history of artistic styles. It treats all the arts–painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, music, theatre, dance, film, architecture, literature–uniformly, and uses a common outline to reinforce the relationship of terms and concepts to the perceptual process. The book also ties both artistic media and history to the theme of art as a reflection of human reality This examination focuses on the media of the arts, pictures, sculpture, music, theatre, cinema, dance, architecture, literature, the styles of the arts, ancient approaches, artistic reflections in the pre-modern world, as well as artistic styles in the emerging modern world and, the beginnings of modernism, pluralism in a post-modern age. For art enthusiasts and others interested exploring how artists express themselves.
This book teaches basic principles and practices of the arts—drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, music, theatre, dance, cinema, literature, and architecture—in Western and other cultures. Designed for individuals whose experience of and in the arts is limited, it treats definitions and concepts in Part I in a cursory fashion, using general terms that can apply readily to the diverse cultural materials examined in Part II. The overall approach seeks to provide a convenient, one-volume outline with sufficient flexibility to serve a variety of classroom purposes.
Part I examines the media of the arts, defining and explaining important terminology, discussing how artworks are composed, and suggesting ways in which art can effect responses. The primary purpose of this compendium approach is to assist readers in polishing skills of observation and gaining confidence in sharing responses. Selection of materials is arbitrary. This text is neither a comprehensive history nor an introduction to aesthetic theory.
Part II is arranged chronologically in order to present a snapshot of arts from around the world that occurred at roughly the same time in history. The focus of Part II, however, is style, not history, and not every culture has been included. Decisions as to what to omit or include were made for two reasons: feedback from instructors and the practicalities of size set by the publisher.
This work is a product of many sources. In many instances it reflects the general knowledge of its author, who has spent nearly fifty years in formal and experiential relationship with the arts in the classroom and around the world. It reflects notes taken here and there as well as formal research. In the interest of readability, however, and in recognition of its generalized purpose, the text avoids footnoting wherever possible. I hope that the method selected for presentation and documentation of others' works meets the needs of both responsibility and practicality. The bibliography gives a comprehensive list of works consulted.
This edition, the fifth, contains several new features. First is a new Introduction which overviews the text and presents a more thorough and transparent approach than previous editions. Each chapter ends with a new "Thinking Critically" feature to assist in developing analysis and insight. That is followed by a "Cyber Study" section for finding additional materials on the Internet.
Within the chapters, an in-text pronunciation guide has been added so that readers can pronounce names and terms without having to look elsewhere for assistance. Also, each of the thirteen chapters contains a "Personal Journey" essay designed to give a personalized view of a specific work of art (designed, however, so as not to break the flow of the text). The intent is to show how experiencing artworks outside the classroom can become a meaningful part of one's life. In addition, a Humanities CD-ROM is available to bring to life several concepts, styles, and processes in the arts. The CD-ROM includes narration and fourteen video clips, with a listing of key terms and definitions that students can download to their hard drive for creating study notes and easy reference material. A web site, developed specifically for the CD-ROM, contains web links specific to each discipline. The CD-ROM also contains a starter kit for each discipline which provides general information for the arts genres, explaining why they are studied and how to study them effectively. Finally, a new section on Latino Art has been added to Chapter 13 in order to bring a better balance of materials to the realities of the contemporary classroom. The music CD available with previous editions continues to this edition. References to its selections are noted as "music CD."
In 1977, when I wrote Perceiving the Arts (Prentice Hall, 7th edition, 2002), I asked Ellis Grove, my colleague at The Pennsylvania State University, to prepare a chapter on film. Ten years later, that formed the basis for Chapter 5 of this book. In twenty-five years of revisions of these two texts, much of Ellis's original work has been altered. Nonetheless, the basics belong to him. Any deterioration of his work is the result of my tinkering, and I am indebted to him and to more than a score of colleagues whose insights, encouragement, and criticism have, I hope, made each edition of Reality Through the Arts better than its predecessor. I also owe much to Bud Therien at Prentice Hall, my friend, editor, and publisher for nearly twenty-five years, to the editors and copy-editors at Laurence King, Ltd., in London, England, and to my wife, Hilda, whose patience, love, understanding, proofreading, note-taking, and research assistance have provided me with a solid foundation from which to generate my own part of the project.
Dennis J. Sporre Spring 2002
Part I- The Media of the Arts: What Artists Use to Express “Reality”
Chapter One–Two Dimensional Art: Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, and Photography
Chapter Two– Sculpture
Chapter Three– Architecture
Chapter Four– Music and Opera
Chapter Six– Cinema
Chapter Seven– Dance
Chapter Eight– Literature
Part II- The Styles of The Arts: How Artists Portray “Reality”
Chapter Nine– Ancient Approaches c. 30,000 to c. 480 B.C.E.
Chapter Ten– Artistic Reflections in the Pre-Modern World c. 480 B.C.E to c. 1400 C.E.
Chapter Eleven– Artistic Styles in the Emerging Modern World c. 1400 to c. 1800
Chapter Twelve– Artistry in an Age of Industry
Chapter Thirteen–The Arts in a Modern, Postmodern, and Pluralistic World 1900 to the Present
Glossary with Pronunciations
The purpose of this book is to teach basic principles and practices of the arts—painting, printmaking, sculpture, music, theatre, dance, literature, and architecture—of Western and other cultures. This text is an introduction to the humanities, and is designed for individuals who have limited experience in the arts. In addition, it attempts to provide the humanities instructor with a helpful textbook for courses that touch upon the arts in an inter- or multidisciplinary manner, and approach the arts from a world viewpoint. In order to meet those ends, I have been selective in the material included. My treatment of definitions and concepts in Part I is cursory: in order to stay within the bounds of practicality and the limited perspective of the intended audience, they are explained in general terms, making it simpler to apply them to the diverse cultural approaches examined in Part II.
This book is, of course, not a self-contained humanities course. It cannot substitute for the classroom teacher, whose responsibility it is to shape and mold a course according to the needs of local curricula, and to assist the student to focus on what is important for the thrust of that particular course. No textbook can be relied upon to answer all the students' questions and include all key points. A good book can only suggest the breadth of what is available. This text should encourage the use of other source materials. The instructor should develop emphases or foci of his or her own choosing by adding lectures, videos, or field trips, and expansion of particular areas raised in the general overview presented here. I have aimed toprovidea convenient one-volume outline, with enough flexibility to serve a variety of purposes.
In Part I we examine the media of the arts—painting and architecture, for example, —define and explain important terminology, discuss how works are composed, and suggest ways in which some art effects responses in viewers and listeners. The compendium approach used in Part I seems useful because it allows us to apply its terms and concepts as tools for perceiving, describing, and understanding the arts of the diverse cultures discussed in Part II.
In discussing works of art, I have for the most part kept to description and compositional analysis. By so doing I hope to assist the readers in polishing their skills of technical observation. By avoiding forays into meanings and relationships, I have left room for the instructor to move discussions in whatever direction is deemed appropriate.
As suggested earlier, the choice of what to include and exclude has been more or less arbitrary. This is not a comprehensive history of the arts; nor is it an introduction to aesthetic theory. Even the media discussed in the various chapters vary—for the simple reason that different cultures have left us different kinds of artifacts, some of which are better examples of the culture than others. In organizing each chapter—particularly in Part II—I have let the nature of the material suggest its own internal structure. In all cases I have tried to keep the focus of the discussion on works of art.
Part II is arranged chronologically. Thus, with what I hope is a reasonably simple format, we are able to glimpse the arts from a variety of cultures that were occurring at roughly the same time in history. We must keep in mind, however, that the focus of Part II is style, not history In addition, not every culture has been represented—for example, I have not included Oceania, primarily because consultation with humanities instructors suggested priorities for inclusion. Given practical considerations, such as space and accessibility of illustrations, those priorities became imperative.
This book is based on the belief that art from whatever culture is a view of the universe, of human reality, that is expressed in a particular medium and shared with others. Throughout time humans have struggled to understand the universe, and, though separated by centuries or cultures, our concerns and questions, as reflected in our works of art, are alike. By examining art we can enrich our own understanding of our existence. Therefore, as we proceed through the text, try to go beyond the facts and descriptions presented and seek meanings, if only from an individual perspective. Ask questions about what the artist may have been trying to accomplish, and seek to understand how you relate to these creative expressions in terms of your own perception of human reality
Finally, a work such as this does not spring entirely from the general knowledge or primary source research of its author. Some of it does, because of my long-term and close affiliation with the various arts disciplines. Much is the result of notes accumulated here and there, of travel around the world, and of research specifically directed to this project. In the interest of readability, and in recognition of the generalized purpose of this text, copious footnoting has been avoided. I hope that the method I have chosen for presentation and documentation of others' works meets the needs of both responsibility and practicality. The bibliography gives a comprehensive list of works used.
This fourth edition contains several major additions. First is a series of feature boxes titled "Profile." These appear throughout the text and introduce the reader to artists of note in fuller biographical detail than would normally occur. Second is a series of feature boxes titled "Masterwork." These appear throughout the second half of the text and draw special attention to several significant works of art, architecture, and literature. The third addition is correlation of the music sections with a compact disc available from Prentice Hall. For the first time, we now have specific illustrations of music that apply both to the descriptive materials in the first half of the text and to the historical materials of the second half. Another addition to this edition is a greatly expanded treatment of music and musicians in the history sections. Also, I have increased the number of literature selections and the number of illustrations.
One final note: in 1977, when I wrote Perceiving the Arts (Prentice Hall, 6th edn., 2000), I asked Ellis Grove, my colleague at Penn State University, to prepare a chapter on film. Ten years later that chapter formed the basis for Chapter Five of this book. In twenty years of revisions of these two books, much of Ellis's original work has been altered by additions and editing. Nonetheless, the basics are his, and I am indebted to him, as I am to a score of colleagues whose insights, encouragement, and criticism have, hopefully, made each edition of this book better than its predecessor. I am also deeply indebted to Bud Therien at Prentice Hall, my friend, editor, and publisher for more than twenty years; to Marion Gottlieb for her gentle and pleasant spirit; to the editors and copy-editors at Calmann & King in London; and, most of all, to my wife, Hilda, whose patience, love, and understanding, proofreading, note-taking, and research assistance provided me with a solid foundation from which to generate my own part of the project.