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Purposes of art

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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments This is great -- thanks Ruth.


message 2: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 1140 comments "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."
-- Picasso


message 3: by Patty (last edited Apr 19, 2010 05:47PM) (new)

Patty Barnett (barnettfineart) | 24 comments Very good, thanks Ruth.

I would like to adapt it from you for my clients.
What do you think? And if ok, do I use the credit that you used or credit it to you?


message 4: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments I'm sorry, I've removed my post. I should have thought about the copyright issues.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 57 comments The purpose of art is to entertain the eyes first- the mind second
Rick friedman (me)


message 6: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Rick wrote: "The purpose of art is to entertain the eyes first- the mind second
Rick friedman (me)"


Aha. That's where you've gone wrong. Here's a handout I used in my Art History classes.


FIVE REASONS FOR MAKING ART

Art is a visual language and as such is used for many purposes. Some of these are listed below. It is important to understand that a single piece of art may have more than one purpose.

Beautification

This is the desire to make a beautiful object that visually enhances the place it is in. The work of the French artists from the Impressionists through Bonnard, Vuillard, Matisse, etc., is a good example. It is also the basis of some abstract art. This category also includes the decorative arts such as tapestries, gold and silver work, etc., and the decoration of useful objects.

Reflection of what is

This is a way of showing us what the world is like. Like the real world, this art may be beautiful or terrifying, ugly or marvelous, or any other word that describes the world about us. It may or may not express an opinion or try to make us think about our world. (If it does, then it also fits under the category of Transformation.) It's what the photorealists do when they show us a row of telephone booths shattered into a glory of reflections, and it's what much photography does. The Dutch and Flemish still-life painters did it to perfection. It's an important element in the multiple purpose of any art that is the tool of a civilization (such as ours) emphasizing the joys and sorrows of the physical world.

Transformation

This is art that tries to change a situation, a society or an individual. It doesn't use magic, but appeals to the emotions and/or the intellect to try to change a person's mind about something, or to confirm and strengthen ideas or beliefs that a person may already hold. It is the purpose of all political, social, religious and commercial art.

Self-Expression

This art shows the artist's feelings, thoughts and innermost emotions. It speaks to all of us because human emotions are universal. It has become very important in Western Europe and the Americas since the late 19th century. It is important almost nowhere else and at no other time. A society that considers self-expression as a purpose of art must believe in the idea of the individual as distinct from the social mass. There must be a certain level of income available so that artists can pursue a purpose not immediately related to economic or social gain.

Magic

This is almost entirely absent from our present idea of art. It tries to intervene in and to change a natural situation by supernatural means. It doesn't appeal to our intellect or emotions like art for transformation, but the art object itself is actually considered to have magical powers. It was an important purpose of most Prehistoric and much tribal art.

Adapted from a column by\ Fred Martin, in Artweek


message 7: by John (last edited Feb 06, 2011 05:47PM) (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) When I look at a Matisse, I don't think "beautification" at all, honestly. Which isn't to say that it's ugly. But it doesn't strike me as decorative. In fact, the only art that does seem decorative to me is kitsch or camp, and maybe Art Deco.


message 8: by Ruth (last edited Feb 06, 2011 05:58PM) (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Matisse and the Impressionists didn't have deep messages.

I think a lot of Matisse is quite decorative.
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message 9: by Heather (new)

Heather I love Matisse. He sure had a way with color!


message 10: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Heather wrote: "I love Matisse. He sure had a way with color!"

He certainly did.


message 11: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments We could say all art is decoration, even the sistine ceiling.


message 12: by Okpara (new)

Okpara | 4 comments "Purpose of Art"...
Art is not only for aesthetic value, but also to celebrate or emphasize its function. For example the design of a chair, table, lotion pump, wall paper...
When I speak to school boards about the importance of visual arts. I tell them to look around in any room. There is nothing that is seen that is not touched by an artist first. The conceptual mind of an artist brings thought into reality. 3 of the 10 ancient virtues is "1.Control of Thought, 2. Control of Actions and 3. Steadfast in Purpose". The purpose is to add balance to our lives.


message 13: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Monica wrote: "We could say all art is decoration, even the sistine ceiling."

There's very little art that has only one purpose. Of course, the Sistine ceiling is made to look beautiful. But it is also there to trumpet the glory of God.


message 14: by Monica (new)

Monica | 909 comments Yes some smart alec was pontificating that all (renaissance) artists were basically decorators. We're the ones deifying them.


message 15: by Okpara (new)

Okpara | 4 comments There's very little art that has only one purpose. Of course, the Sistine ceiling is made to look beautiful. But it is also there to trumpet the glory of God.

The creation by Michael in 1509 for pope Julius II, was also to promote propaganda by the Catholic Church. It was the first image that promoted a "White Jesus".
Prior to that time Europe bowed before the Black Madonna and Child in art of their art.


message 16: by Ruth (last edited Feb 07, 2011 12:33PM) (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Okpara wrote: "It was the first image that promoted a "White Jesus".
Prior to that time Europe bowed before the Black Madonna and Child in art of their art.
..."


I'm sorry, but you've somehow been totally mislead. Long before the time of Michelangelo, Early Christan, Byzantine and Early Renaissance art abounded in images of a white Jesus.

Just a few famous examples out of thousands.


The oldest surviving panel icon of Christ Pantocrator, encaustic on panel, c. 6th century.


Giotto, The Arena Chapel Frescoes The Lamentation. 1305-1306.


Martin Schongauer
Adoration of the Shepherds
1480


message 17: by Ruth (last edited Feb 07, 2011 11:17AM) (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Monica wrote: "Yes some smart alec was pontificating that all (renaissance) artists were basically decorators. We're the ones deifying them."

They were decorators in the sense that they were hired guns. The idea of the independent artist painting his heart out and hoping to sell a few visions of his self-expression didn't exist in those days. Artists were paid on commission and often told pretty much what to paint.

The Church was the major employer, and though they certainly wanted the art to be beautiful, they also wanted it to further the cause of Christianity.

In those days, most people couldn't read, so visual images were vitally important, and the Church could pay for the best.


message 18: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Ruth, can't you tell that all of those images were originally black, but that one of our patriarchal, imperialistic white forefathers went back and repainted it white?


message 19: by Heather (new)

Heather Seriously? I don't know about any of this! What an interesting topic!


message 20: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments John wrote: "When I look at a Matisse, I don't think "beautification" at all, honestly. Which isn't to say that it's ugly. But it doesn't strike me as decorative. In fact, the only art that does seem decorat..."

I think that folks are using the word "decorative" in all kinds of ways, from the pejorative to the descriptive.

I would suggest that one sense of decoration is in the sense of embellishing, or enhancing experience, another the sense of glorying and centering the work in the purity of the two dimensional surface, and another, the literally superficial, the dishonestly ingratiating work of kitsch.

If you examine the discussion of decoration, above, you will see that there is an oscillation between these meanings.

In terms of Matisse, for example, I would say that he fits with the first two definitions.


message 21: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Heather wrote: "Seriously? I don't know about any of this! What an interesting topic!"

John is joking, Heather.


message 22: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) I have no idea what "embellishing or enhancing experience" means.

And I'm not sure how to see kitsch as "ingratiating."


message 23: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie | 52 comments Apologies all, I'm jumping in late AGAIN!
Picking up on the 6thC image of Christ Pantocrator from Ruth's post. A Goodread is 'The Shroud' by Ian Wilson.
Also see www.shroudofturin4journalists.com
Is the image of Christ Pantocrator taken from the face of Edessa/Turin shroud?


message 24: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Considering the Shroud of Turin is a late medieval/early Renaissance hoax, if anything it's probably the other way around.


message 25: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie | 52 comments Or not John. I personally don't consider it a hoax. The idea that it is late medieval/early renaissance just doesn't stand up for me. (I also believe that the Sudarium of Oviedo is also the gen article, but that is something else.)


message 26: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments I'm sure it's a hoax.


message 27: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) What you consider it doesn't really matter, unfortunately. It's called carbon dating. And it doesn't lie.


message 28: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie | 52 comments I consider the carbon dating tests on shroud to be flawed. However, my post is concerned with art here.
The white Jesus image. There happen to be many early first millenium Greek/Byzantine Icon images of J.C. that show many corresponding,similar features that show up on the Turin shroud!?! As seen in above icon Christ Pantocrator.


message 29: by John (last edited Feb 08, 2011 01:04PM) (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Which part of the dating methodology was flawed? And can you provide citations?


message 30: by Heather (new)

Heather I found this article, I don't know how relevant it is here, but it talks about carbon dating accuracies and problems. It is based on dating dinosaur bones which of course is much older than our subject.

"There have been serious technical conferences world wide for over 50 years where scientists gather to exchange information concerning this technology. Labs do NOT get "absolute dates" as claimed by some. There is always some degree of uncertainty and often dates are given as +or- so many years from a number. For older samples the more a "calibration correction curve " is normally used. The farther back the date the more uncertainty in the date. However carbon dating is extremely useful since it covers all the years for which we have written history and also sound archealogical artifacts."

PROBLEMS WITH RADIOCARBON DATING

"With any radiometric dating scheme certain assumptions must be made. The first assumption made is that carbon 14 has always been produced and had the same concentration in the atmosphere. This assumption is more important the older the carbon sample is. After 10,000 years there are no absolute calibration points such as tree rings. Another assumption is that radioactive decay rates stay the same and have always been what we measure them now to be. We have only been able to measure radioactive decay rates within the last hundred years."

http://www.dinosaurc14ages.com/carbon...

I have to agree with Pete, though, "However, my post is concerned with art here." Take from this what you will.


message 31: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Feb 08, 2011 07:10PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 57 comments John wrote: "Which part of the dating methodology was flawed? And can you provide citations?"

Ruth wrote: "I'm sure it's a hoax."

First- thank you so much Ruth for the excellant post on Art as ultimatley a multi-sensory experience- I read it and learned quite a bit.

1. You say "the Impressionists didn't have deep messages" I believe you are wrong..as wrong as wrong can be.. prior to the Impressionists- Art was restricted by the confines of the human anatomy. Realism was the only accepted form. When Monet painted 'IMPRESSION:SUNRISE" an art critic derisively discarded it and the artist as "These impressionists" hence the name of the movement was born. This led to a revolution in Art- in which natural light was the emphasis- and the subject matter,secondary. The message was and IS- light - natural light - affects how we view the World..no greater message could have been illuminated (pun intended)

John- You speak from an analytical, pragmatic and scientific view..The Shroud holds much value to millions not guided by science..but by a Faith which sustains them through all Life hands them..I...for one..will not rise above millions and tell them they are wrong- rather I will applaud their faith and good works


message 32: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Heather, I hate to break this to you, but whether the Shroud of Turin is a hoax or not IS a matter that is "concerned with art." He may have mentioned that he's concerned with the Christ Pantocrator, and that's all well and good. But if that's the case, he needs to not make unsubstantiated assertions.


message 33: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Rick, faith is great. I have faith. It means a lot to me. But that doesn't mean I'm going to blindly go against what repeated and rigorous scientific tests have asserted - which is that the Shroud of Turin isn't authentic.

Would you praise the "faith and good works" or someone who chose to believe in the literal truth of Genesis? I hope not. If you would, I would humbly suggest you examine the difference between respecting a person and respecting what that person believes. Some beliefs, quite simply, are not respectable.


message 34: by Ruth (last edited Feb 08, 2011 04:39PM) (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments I know the basis of Impressionism, Rick. I used to teach Art History at the college level. What you've said about them is true. They were more concerned with the fleeting look of things than with any earthshaking intellectual or emotional truths.


message 35: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Feb 08, 2011 07:12PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 57 comments Ruth wrote: "I know the basis of Impressionism, Rick. I used to teach Art History at the college level. What you've said about them is true. They were more concerned with the fleeting look of things than with ..."

and - what, I ask , is so wrong with that? must all Art be Earth shattering?


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 57 comments John wrote: "Rick, faith is great. I have faith. It means a lot to me. But that doesn't mean I'm going to blindly go against what repeated and rigorous scientific tests have asserted - which is that the Shro..."

my main thrust in the post is not my views- but respect for those of others


message 37: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Yes, Rick, respect for others is good. Respect for their ideas - not in all circumstances.


message 38: by Ruth (last edited Feb 08, 2011 09:35PM) (new)

Ruth | 1945 comments Rick wrote: "Ruth wrote: "I know the basis of Impressionism, Rick. I used to teach Art History at the college level. What you've said about them is true. They were more concerned with the fleeting look of thin...and - what, I ask , is so wrong with that? must all Art be Earth shattering? "

I'm sorry. You've misunderstood. I never said there was anything wrong with that. If you read that into any of my comments, you were quite mistaken.


message 39: by John (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) I want the punchy Ruth back.


message 40: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie | 52 comments Woe...lots of posts here! May I qualify myself please. I'm not from the world of any faith. My interest is as a historian. However I'm no art historian. May I disagree that repeated and rigorous scientific tests have asserted that the shroud isn't authentic. But for the sake of these posts...ok it's a fake. If we accept that then we must see the work of the worlds most knowledgeable and incredible forger ever, who's work can still not be explained.
The face of Edessa has historical provenance from early Christianity through to the sack of Constantinople, where it was held as a sacred relic,i.e. the burial cloth of Christ, at the start of the 4th crusade in 1204. Here it is lost from the Byzantine/Eastern Orthodox world. It is said this image was copied by artists and reproduced in stone, mosaics and icon paintings...like Christ Pantocrator. Not the image of Roman/Greek depictions of JC but a face with thick dreadlock like hairstyle, centre parted with forked beard and moustache and prominent nose. Also like Christ Pantocrator showing a beat up face, particularly the right cheek area below the eye, and similar lines of forehead and eyebrows.
Punchy Ruth may know more than I of Eastern Orthodox\Byzantine art of this type.


message 41: by John (last edited Feb 09, 2011 11:09AM) (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) Not an art historian? The HELL you say!

But you're wrong about how it "can't be explained." The work can, and has been, reproduced using organic acidic pigments that were widely available in the fourteenth century (when it was made). It doesn't even take an expert forger.


message 42: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments John wrote: "I have no idea what "embellishing or enhancing experience" means.

And I'm not sure how to see kitsch as "ingratiating.""


An example would be a very competent, technically well constructed Norman Rockwell painting which strokes the audience's most banal beliefs and assumptions.


message 43: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments John wrote: "Not an art historian? The HELL you say!

But you're wrong about how it "can't be explained." The work can, and has been, reproduced using organic acidic pigments that were widely available in the..."


And I remember a wag used these chemicals to produce a "Shroud of Bing Crosby".

On the other hand, don't think this says much about art.

(Maybe we can have a "fight room" topic where folks can duke it out. It's getting kind of hot in here.)


message 44: by John (last edited Feb 09, 2011 01:49PM) (new)

John David (nicholasofautrecourt) You don't think the possibility of art forgery has a place in art and art history?

I'm not sure "hot" would be the right word, Ed. I'm not here to fight. If I came in here making unsupported assertions, then I hope I'd be called on them, too. If you want to harbor unpopular opinions that have received no scientific support, that's fine. But don't expect for no one to call you out when you do so in public.


Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 57 comments not my intention to start a heated debate- merely a cival discussion. I have great respect for John and Ruth (If I misinterpreted what you wrote- I appologize Ruth) Yet there does seem to be a bit of elitism here- Art is universal- and being so- it is open to universal interpretation. When words such as "banal" are used to describe Rockwell- that is fine as far as ONE person's opinion- yet generations would beg to differ- and I value their opinions as well- even though they may not have a pedigree in Art History- they have eyes and hearts - and to me their judgements are just as important.


message 46: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Rick wrote: "not my intention to start a heated debate- merely a cival discussion. I have great respect for John and Ruth (If I misinterpreted what you wrote- I appologize Ruth) Yet there does seem to be a bit ..."

Slight misinterpretation of what I was saying. Rockwell was a talented illustrator and highly skilled. He was very good at getting exactly the kind of nostalgia and myth that his clients demanded, and that is what I meant by ingratiating.

His skill in doing this can be appreciated aesthetically. Rockwell himself described himself as an illustrator. He was aware of what he was doing and his limitations. He was also far broader in his personal tastes than his public and was quite interested in modern art both as done by others and experimenting with it privately.


message 47: by Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB (last edited Feb 09, 2011 07:09PM) (new)

Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB  | 57 comments Ed wrote: "Rick wrote: "not my intention to start a heated debate- merely a cival discussion. I have great respect for John and Ruth (If I misinterpreted what you wrote- I appologize Ruth) Yet there does seem..."

appreciate the info Ed- as he was contracted by the Post as well as many other entitites- he did become, in a sense, a prisioner of his own fame. Much like a brilliant actor who becomes typecast after a particularly great role. Errol Flynn and Robert Newton come to mind- both brilliant actors (Just watch some of Flynn's last films..Too Much Too Soon, The Sun Also Rises) who became typecast as a swashbuckler and a pirate.


message 48: by Ed (new)

Ed Smiley | 871 comments Rick wrote: "he did become, in a sense, a prisoner of his own fame..."


That's an interesting analogy. Even though an artist may be very distinctive, they can't start second guessing themselves and say, "is this the true (fill in the blank with the artist's name) style?"


message 49: by Ike (new)

Ike Rose | 10 comments John wrote: "Rick, faith is great. I have faith. It means a lot to me. But that doesn't mean I'm going to blindly go against what repeated and rigorous scientific tests have asserted - which is that the Shro..."

Since I'm Jewish - I have no opinion about the Shroud of Turin - but since the History Channel tends to be on a lot on my TV - I've seen quite a few documentaries about it.

There has been only ONE carbon testing allowed of the Shroud - to do carbon testing, you must destroy a piece of the object.

There is scientific debate about the validity of the dating on two grounds. The church where the Shroud was stored (and the box it was in) was burned at about the time the testing says it was MADE - so it may be soot from the fire that was tested.

To get an accurate test for carbon dating of fabric, it must be uncontaminated. Unfortunately, the technology was new when it was done. Numerous drawings and paintings of the display of the Shroud to the crowds over a 200 year period show an identical scene - priests and bishops holding it up by the corners in their bare hands. It was one of those contaminated corners that was tested.

So many say that invalidates the tests, and the Church will not allow a piece of the center to be cut out to be tested.

I suspect that we will never know the "truth" - so we should allow the Faithful their treasure - and ask them to allow us our beliefs.


message 50: by Pete (last edited Feb 10, 2011 02:15AM) (new)

Pete daPixie | 52 comments Shalom Ike. That's my view of the carbon tests. Maybe science will advance so that these tests can be repeated without destruction of the sample. The cloth itself has been examined. It's weave and size of loom used point to a near eastern origin of around 1stC. Pollen tests show even a link to Jerusalem itself. As do other micro dirt samples. Blood tests show a human blood group, type AB, is the same as the blood group on the sudarium of Oviedo. The artist is a world expert of crucifixion, 700 years before modern science caught up. Art of the period shows nails in the palm of the hand, not physically possible. The shroud shows nail through the wrist. He also knew the Roman flagrum. As for pigments used, the image is made up from billions of submicrometre particles. The image is greatly enhanced in negative black and white photography. This 13thC artist is still fooling our anatomical forensic experts. For an artist of so great skill and knowledge to produce a full body, front and back image of a crucified victim, to pass this work to the social elite of the day, remain anonymous after all the trouble. I can't get my head round that! If this were purported to be the burial cloth of Emperor Tiberius, found in Capri in 13thC I also can't see the same sceptical excitement.
However, going right back to the beginning, I was just fishing for someone with a knowledge of Byzantine/Eastern Orthodox iconography art to give me their opinion of the 'eastern' images of JC and if they agree/disagree that these artistic works bear resemblance to the face on the Turin shroud.


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