Language of Art (00:22)
Viewing and analyzing art includes descriptions of materials, design, composition, period, theme, content, and concept.
On Materials (Media) (00:58)
Art media is the substances or objects used to create the artwork. Tony Lewis states that graphite is the most commonly used material in his studio. Nazafarin Lotfi discusses using the language of the materials.
On Design and Composition (00:53)
Design is the skilled arrangement of materials in a composition; composition is the placement of elements in a work of art. Albert Aguilar discusses using a "view finder."
On Period (01:06)
Deborah Boardman explains what to look for to determine a phase of art defined by its place in time.
On Theme (00:58)
Titus O'Brien explains why themes are important to an artist; they tend to appear early in an artist's work. Themes include: human mortality and man's search for meaning.
On Content (Subject Matter) (00:27)
Content is that which is represented in a work of art.
On Concept (01:51)
Concept is the idea or notion expressed through a work of art. See a list of resources for studying art.
Analyzing Art (00:25)
We analyze art to determine the artwork's historical significance. Art historians consider context, meaning, and value.
Art Historian's Role (01:09)
An artist's goal is communication; historians restore the communication that may have been lost during intervening years. Historians are invested in a contextual frame.
How the Art Historian Works (00:34)
Stephen Eisenman looks to understand the social, political, and psychological location in which an artwork was created. He considers who created the piece and looks at it in context with other works and the cultural society of that period.
Understanding the Conversation (00:38)
Titus O'Brien states that "artwork wants to have a conversation with you." Contexts to consider include: historical, personal, emotional, intellectual, and physical.
Finding Meaning (02:00)
Gender theory, post-colonialism, and psychoanalysis are theories about societal organization; works of art are the expression of ruling ideas of that period. Understanding these larger bodies of thought is important to finding meaning in an artwork. See a list of resources for studying art.
Art and Everyday Life (00:40)
Everyday objects are often depicted in fine art. Some artworks are mass produced and placed on everyday items.
Exploring the Boundaries of Art (01:17)
The word for art does not exist in most first cultures; art is a natural function of life. The specialization of art in the early 19th century led to a separation of artists and society; avant-garde is an attempt to break down barriers between art and life.
Everyday Life as Inspiration for Art (02:58)
Marchel Duchamp used ready-mades in his artwork. Kirsten Leenaars draws inspiration from everyday life. O'Brien states you cannot define art by media or content. See a list of resources for studying art.
Non-Western Cultures and the Western Canon (01:02)
Art has different functions within different cultures. Picasso and Jackson Pollock took inspiration from African cultural artworks. Globalization and the Internet allows art from other cultures to "be in conversation" with art from the West.
New Sources of Inspiration (03:22)
O'Brien states that artists often look outside the dominant paradigm to introduce a new vitality; he wants his art to evoke feeling. In every culture's history, art was sacred at some point. See a list of resources for studying art.
Common Stories and Themes (00:42)
Art creation helps us better understand, reflect, and direct circumstances. Universal themes that appear across culture and time include: love and death, hero's journey, and man versus nature.
Exploration of Universal Themes (05:35)
An artist convinces him or herself that a theme is vital through repetition; themes often appear early in one's work. Universal themes include: human mortality, man's search for meaning, permanency, belonging, happiness, language, martyrdom in war. See a list of resources for studying art.
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