Viewpoints: Readings in Art History / Edition 2

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Overview

A comprehensive anthology of well-known readings in art history and art criticism which explore thematic, historical, cultural and formal issues from a variety of critical perspectives. Thematic essays address art and spirituality, art patronage, art and politics, public art, race and gender issues in art and science, and technology. For those interested a broad-based view of art history or art appreciation across cultural, gender and geographical lines.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780139593963
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 11/15/2000
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 386
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.89 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

CAROLE GOLD CALO holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Boston University. She is Director of the Fine Arts Program and an Associate Professor of Art History at Stonehill College, N. Easton, MA. She has previously published with Prentice Hall Writings about Art and a Student Study Guide to Marilyn Stokstad's Art History (Vol. I). She has written articles for Arts Magazine, The Public Art Review, The New Art Examiner, Art New England, and Sculpture Magazine.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE

This second edition of Writings about Art, retitled Viewpoints: Readings in Art History, offers art history and art appreciation students a comprehensive selection of readings that explore thematic, historical, cultural, and formal issues from various critical perspectives. The essays have been grouped by topic: Art and Spirituality; Art Patronage; Art and Politics; Public Art; Issues Concerning Race and Ethnicity; Art and Gender; and Art, Science, and Technology. The readings may be studied and discussed within each thematic section, or professors and students may choose to consider them in an order more in keeping with the content of a particular course. For example, in an historical survey, a chronological treatment may prove most effective, beginning with Scully's "The Sacred Mountain in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Aegean." For an art appreciation class discussing various media and techniques, the professor may opt to group the essays according to architecture, drawing, painting, sculpture, prints, and photography.

For all courses the readings chosen provide students with the opportunity to practice critical thinking skills necessary to fully comprehend and appreciate essays about various topics in art. Through a range of written assignments that encompass summary, analysis, and evaluation, students themselves may develop proficiency in writing about art. Following are suggestions of several ways to use the essays in Viewpoints.

Summarize: Extract and restate the major points made by the author. Any of the essays included in the anthology may be summarized.

Analyze: Break down the whole essay intoseparate component parts so that they can be considered as distinct interrelated units. For example, Frederick Hartt's essay "Art and Freedom in Quattrocento Florence" links changes that occurred in Florentine painting and sculpture during the first thirty years of the fifteenth century to particular political, economic, and social situations. Students can analyze the separate events and how they affected the style and iconography of particular sculptures and paintings.

Compare and contrast: A comparison might be made of works within one essay or of points made in several essays. In reading Albert Elsen's "Images of Gods," a student might compare and contrast characteristics of sculptural representations of Buddha and Apollo. The student could also compare traditional images of Christian spirituality as discussed by Elsen with African concepts of the spirit world as explained by Rosalind Hackett in "Envisioning and (Re)presenting the Spirit World."

Interpret: Determine inferences and unstated assumptions implied in an essay. "Read between the lines" to find an underlying tone or attitude implying the author's opinions as opposed to pure fact. Richard Leppert's interpretations of female and male nudes in well-known paintings may be discussed and compared to more conventional interpretations.

Evaluate/critique: Assess the overall accuracy and effectiveness of a particular essay. Is the essay well written? Do the arguments appear grounded in sound reasoning or evidence? Is the author fair in his or her treatment of the subject? For example, does Vincent Scully convince the reader of the sacred symbolism of ancient architecture? How does he effectively present his points?

Consider different methodologies: The readings in this anthology represent various methodologies used by scholars and critics to write about art. Most authors have combined several methods in their essays, including formalist and stylistic analyses, the iconographic approach, contextual methodologies, the psychoanalytic method, and semiotic readings.

A formalist analysis considers the aesthetic effects of the use of formal elements of composition: line, shape, color, space, light, etc. While none of the essays in this anthology is strictly formalist, many authors do engage in formal analysis as part of a broader approach.

Stylistic analysis examines various styles and their changes over time or place. Comparisons are often made between the characteristics of art from different geographic areas or historical periods. Students might consider whether or not specific stylistic elements characterize art during the Harlem Renaissance as they read Mary Schmidt Campbell's "Introduction to Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America."

The iconographic approach focuses on the meaning of a work of art, its subject matter, symbolism, and interpretation. Albert Boime, in his essay titled "The Iconography of Napoleon," studies the intended and inferred meanings of representations of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Contextual methodologies place art in its particular social, political, religious, or ideological context. For example, in "Inventing 'the Indian' " Julie Schimmel examines how nineteenth-century depictions of Native Americans in American Art reflect societal attitudes of a white America. Art historians analyzing art from a Marxist perspective, as in Toby Clark's "Propaganda in the Communist State," view the significance of artworks in relation to their political and socio-economic roles in society. Feminist art historians like Griselda Pollock, author of "Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity," challenge traditional white male readings of images by women and/or of women to explore women's experiences both as artists and as subject matter in art. More recently a surge of interest in gender studies has expanded the feminist approach to consider broader gender issues in society as reflected in Helaine Posner's catalogue essay, "The Masculine Masquerade: Masculinity Represented in Recent Art."

The psychoanalytic method is explained by Laurie Schneider Adams in "Psychoanalysis I: Freud," in which the theories of Sigmund Freud are applied to the analysis of works of art. A psychoanalytical approach may also include psychobiography and references to various psychoanalaytical theories.

Semiotic readings of art are based on the study of signs as cultural expressions that have meaning beyond their literal identities. Semiotics as applied to art includes Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Decontructionism (Adams, Methodologies of Art. New York: HarperCollins/Icon Editions, 1996, p. 133). The Structuralists attempted to de-emphasize the role of the author/artist in favor of discerning universal mental structures or cultural signs that could be decoded. The Post-Structuralists reinstated the humanistic by exploring the significance of the spectator. Deconstructionism deconstructs the notion of fixed signs and essential meanings to allow for a more dynamic fluidity in which meanings change according to different contexts. Margot Lovejoy explains how photography is being used as a vehicle for deconstructing Modernism in her essay, "The Electronic Era and Postmodernism."

The readings in this second edition represent the widest possible spectrum—chronologically, geographically, culturally, and thematically. The selections have been thought through again and updated to spark the interest of the contemporary student of art and art history. In whatever way the essays are approached, it is my hope that they will inspire creative thinking among students and professors alike and elicit strong responses that will lead to animated class discussion. I am confident that this multifaceted anthology will serve as a catalyst for deeper investigation into the many dimensions of art as it reflects aspects of our lives today and the lives of previous generations.

Carole Gold Calo

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

1. Art and Spirituality.

The Sacred Mountain in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Aegean, Vincent Scully. Images of Gods, Albert Elsen. Envisioning and (Re)presenting the Spirit World, Rosalind I. J. Hackett.

2. Art Patronage.

The Mechanics of Seventeenth-Century Patronage, Francis Haskell. A Matter of Taste: The Monumental and Exotic in the Qianlong Reign, Harold Kahn. Women and the Avant-Garde, Kathleen D. McCarthy.

3. Art and Politics.

Art and Freedom in Quattrocento Florence, Frederick Hartt. Iconography of Napoleon, Albert Boime. Propaganda in the Communist State, Toby Clark. Can Political Passion Inspire Great Art?, Michael Brenson.

4. Public Art.

The Public Realm, Spiro Kostoff. New Deal for Public Art, Marlene Park, Gerald Markowitz. Memorializing the Unspeakable Public Monuments and Collective Grieving, Carole Gold Calo. The Persistence of Controversy: Patronage and Politics, Harriet Senie.

5. Issues Concerning Race and Ethnicity.

Inventing "the Indian," Julie Schimmel. Introduction to Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America, Mary Schmidt Campbell. Naming, Lucy R. Lippard.

6. Art and Gender.

The Female Nude: Surfaces of Desire, and The Male Nude: Identity and Denial, Richard Leppert. Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity, Griselda Pollock. An Infinite Play of Empty Mirrors: Women, Surrealism, and Self-Representation, Whitney Chadwick. The Masculine Masquerade: Masculinity Represented in Recent Art, Helaine Posner.

7. Art, Science, and Technology.

Leonardo da Vinci: Art in Science, James Ackerman. Psychoanalysis I: Freud, Laurie Schneider Adams. The Electronic Era and Postmodernism, Margot Lovejoy. Environment, Audience, and Public Art in the New World (Order), Mara Adamitz Scrupe.

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Preface

PREFACE

This second edition of Writings about Art, retitled Viewpoints: Readings in Art History, offers art history and art appreciation students a comprehensive selection of readings that explore thematic, historical, cultural, and formal issues from various critical perspectives. The essays have been grouped by topic: Art and Spirituality; Art Patronage; Art and Politics; Public Art; Issues Concerning Race and Ethnicity; Art and Gender; and Art, Science, and Technology. The readings may be studied and discussed within each thematic section, or professors and students may choose to consider them in an order more in keeping with the content of a particular course. For example, in an historical survey, a chronological treatment may prove most effective, beginning with Scully's "The Sacred Mountain in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Aegean." For an art appreciation class discussing various media and techniques, the professor may opt to group the essays according to architecture, drawing, painting, sculpture, prints, and photography.

For all courses the readings chosen provide students with the opportunity to practice critical thinking skills necessary to fully comprehend and appreciate essays about various topics in art. Through a range of written assignments that encompass summary, analysis, and evaluation, students themselves may develop proficiency in writing about art. Following are suggestions of several ways to use the essays in Viewpoints.

Summarize: Extract and restate the major points made by the author. Any of the essays included in the anthology may be summarized.

Analyze: Break down the whole essay into separate component parts so that they can be considered as distinct interrelated units. For example, Frederick Hartt's essay "Art and Freedom in Quattrocento Florence" links changes that occurred in Florentine painting and sculpture during the first thirty years of the fifteenth century to particular political, economic, and social situations. Students can analyze the separate events and how they affected the style and iconography of particular sculptures and paintings.

Compare and contrast: A comparison might be made of works within one essay or of points made in several essays. In reading Albert Elsen's "Images of Gods," a student might compare and contrast characteristics of sculptural representations of Buddha and Apollo. The student could also compare traditional images of Christian spirituality as discussed by Elsen with African concepts of the spirit world as explained by Rosalind Hackett in "Envisioning and (Re)presenting the Spirit World."

Interpret: Determine inferences and unstated assumptions implied in an essay. "Read between the lines" to find an underlying tone or attitude implying the author's opinions as opposed to pure fact. Richard Leppert's interpretations of female and male nudes in well-known paintings may be discussed and compared to more conventional interpretations.

Evaluate/critique: Assess the overall accuracy and effectiveness of a particular essay. Is the essay well written? Do the arguments appear grounded in sound reasoning or evidence? Is the author fair in his or her treatment of the subject? For example, does Vincent Scully convince the reader of the sacred symbolism of ancient architecture? How does he effectively present his points?

Consider different methodologies: The readings in this anthology represent various methodologies used by scholars and critics to write about art. Most authors have combined several methods in their essays, including formalist and stylistic analyses, the iconographic approach, contextual methodologies, the psychoanalytic method, and semiotic readings.

A formalist analysis considers the aesthetic effects of the use of formal elements of composition: line, shape, color, space, light, etc. While none of the essays in this anthology is strictly formalist, many authors do engage in formal analysis as part of a broader approach.

Stylistic analysis examines various styles and their changes over time or place. Comparisons are often made between the characteristics of art from different geographic areas or historical periods. Students might consider whether or not specific stylistic elements characterize art during the Harlem Renaissance as they read Mary Schmidt Campbell's "Introduction to Harlem Renaissance: Art of Black America."

The iconographic approach focuses on the meaning of a work of art, its subject matter, symbolism, and interpretation. Albert Boime, in his essay titled "The Iconography of Napoleon," studies the intended and inferred meanings of representations of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Contextual methodologies place art in its particular social, political, religious, or ideological context. For example, in "Inventing 'the Indian' " Julie Schimmel examines how nineteenth-century depictions of Native Americans in American Art reflect societal attitudes of a white America. Art historians analyzing art from a Marxist perspective, as in Toby Clark's "Propaganda in the Communist State," view the significance of artworks in relation to their political and socio-economic roles in society. Feminist art historians like Griselda Pollock, author of "Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity," challenge traditional white male readings of images by women and/or of women to explore women's experiences both as artists and as subject matter in art. More recently a surge of interest in gender studies has expanded the feminist approach to consider broader gender issues in society as reflected in Helaine Posner's catalogue essay, "The Masculine Masquerade: Masculinity Represented in Recent Art."

The psychoanalytic method is explained by Laurie Schneider Adams in "Psychoanalysis I: Freud," in which the theories of Sigmund Freud are applied to the analysis of works of art. A psychoanalytical approach may also include psychobiography and references to various psychoanalaytical theories.

Semiotic readings of art are based on the study of signs as cultural expressions that have meaning beyond their literal identities. Semiotics as applied to art includes Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, and Decontructionism (Adams, Methodologies of Art. New York: HarperCollins/Icon Editions, 1996, p. 133). The Structuralists attempted to de-emphasize the role of the author/artist in favor of discerning universal mental structures or cultural signs that could be decoded. The Post-Structuralists reinstated the humanistic by exploring the significance of the spectator. Deconstructionism deconstructs the notion of fixed signs and essential meanings to allow for a more dynamic fluidity in which meanings change according to different contexts. Margot Lovejoy explains how photography is being used as a vehicle for deconstructing Modernism in her essay, "The Electronic Era and Postmodernism."

The readings in this second edition represent the widest possible spectrum—chronologically, geographically, culturally, and thematically. The selections have been thought through again and updated to spark the interest of the contemporary student of art and art history. In whatever way the essays are approached, it is my hope that they will inspire creative thinking among students and professors alike and elicit strong responses that will lead to animated class discussion. I am confident that this multifaceted anthology will serve as a catalyst for deeper investigation into the many dimensions of art as it reflects aspects of our lives today and the lives of previous generations.

Carole Gold Calo

Read More Show Less

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