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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Academic art -- Académie des beaux-arts

1. During the second half of the 18th century the Western culture entered the ‘modern’ era. Change happened quickly in technological advances as well as with governments being challenged to become democracies. Give the years of the revolutions and the names of the two countries that became democracies during this century.

1774-1783: the American Revolution establishes independence of the thirteen North American colonies from Great Britain, creating the republic of the United States of America.

The French Revolution 1789–1799 was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of republic, citizenship, and inalienable rights.

2. What is so shocking about West’s painting The Death of General Wolfe #23.7?

The inclusion of Simon Fraser, Lieutennant Colonel of the 78th Fraser Highlanders (the man in the green) is interesting, because General Wolfe had always spoken highly of Fraser's regiment, but Fraser was not at the battle, he was recovering from wounds received earlier. In the painting, Fraser wears the Fraser tartan, which was probably worn by officers in that regiment.
There are many themes in this painting, including a biblical layout resembling La Pietra and the Indian warrior knelt with his chin on his fist, looking at General Wolfe. In art, the touching of one's face with one's hand is a sign of deep thought and intelligence. The depiction of the Native American in the painting has been analyzed in various ways. Some consider it an idealization inspired by the noble savage concept.
On the ground in front of Wolfe is his musket, a cartridge box, and bayonet. Wolfe went into battle armed as his men were, although his musket was of higher quality. He is also wearing a fairly simple red coat, a red waistcoat, red breeches, and a white shirt. Such dress was rather simple, especially for a commanding officer.
The clothing West depicted in this scene was highly controversial at the time. Although the event was relatively recent -- only eleven years prior -- its subject matter made it a fitting example of the genre of history painting, for which contemporary dress was unsuitable. During the painting, several influential people, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, instructed him to dress the figures in classical attire, and after its completion, George III refused to purchase it because the clothing compromised the dignity of the event.

3. American architect, Thomas Jefferson [the 3rd US President] created a beautiful home in Virginia in the neoclassical style. [Some refer to it as Georgian style.] Describe the features that make it Neoclassical.

Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, an anti-tectonic naturalistic ornament, and an outgrowth of some classicizing features of Late Baroque. In its purest form it is a style principally derived from the architecture of Classical Greece.
The house is of Jefferson's own design and is situated on the summit of an 850-foot-high peak in the Southwest Mountains. The he named the house Monticello, in Italian, means "little mountain."
The original design was based on the classical style of Palladian architecture. When Jefferson left Monticello in 1784 for extended travels in Europe, the original design of the house was largely completed except for porticos and decorative interior woodwork. Upon his return, Jefferson expanded his vision for Monticello to incorporate features of Palladian buildings and ruins he admired overseas.

The original main entrance is through the portico on the east front. The ceiling of this portico incorporates a wind plate connected to a weather vane, showing the direction of the wind. A large clock face on the external east-facing wall has only an hour hand since Jefferson thought this was accurate enough for outdoor laborers. The clock reflects the time shown on the "Great Clock" (designed by Jefferson) in the entrance hall. The entrance hall contains recreations of items collected by on their famous expedition. The floor cloth here is painted a, "true grass green" upon the recommendation of artist Gilbert Stuart in order for Jefferson’s ‘essay in architecture’ to invite the spirit of the outdoors into the house.
The south wing includes Jefferson's private suite of rooms. The library holds many books in Jefferson's third library collection. His first library was burned in a plantation fire, and his second library to the US Congress to replace the books burned by the British. Jefferson considered much furniture to be a waste of space, so the dining room table was erected only at mealtimes, and beds were built into alcoves cut into thick walls that contain storage space. Jefferson's bed opens to two sides: to his cabinet (study) and to his bedroom (dressing room).
What relates the Monticello to neoclassical design?
A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea first appeared in ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.
Some famous examples of porticos are the East Portico of the United States Capitol, Bologna, Italy’s Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca, and the portico adorning the Pantheon in Rome.
Villas with reference to their setting, and if on a hill, such as Villa Capra, had facades that were frequently designed to be of equal value so that occupants could have fine views in all directions.

4. English Gardens are a perfect compliment to Neoclassical structures. Describe several features that can be found in an English Garden.

The term English garden or English park (French: Jardin anglais, Italian: Giardino all'inglese, German: Englischer Landschaftspark) is used in Continental Europe to refer to a type of garden with its origins on the English landscape gardens of the 18th century. The main ingredients of every garden are statues, water, and the surrounding land. The name differentiates it from the formal baroque design of the French formal garden.
The canonical European English park contains a number of Romantic elements. Always present is a pond or small lake with a pier or bridge. Overlooking the pond is a round or hexagonal pavilion, often in the shape of a monopteros, a Roman temple. Sometimes the park also has a "Chinese" pavilion. Other elements include a grotto and imitation ruins.
Notable designers of English gardens include Stephen Switzer (1682-1745), William Kent (1685-1748), Charles Bridgeman, Capability Brown (1716-1783), John Vanbrugh (1664-1726), and Lucas Pieters Roodbaard.


6. State the difference between ‘picturesque’ and ‘sublime’.

Picturesque is an aesthetic ideal first introduced into English cultural debate in 1782 by William Gilpin in the year 1770, Picturesque, along with the aesthetic and cultural strands of Gothic and Celticism, was a part of the emerging Romantic sensibility of the 18th century.
In aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness or vast magnitude, whether physical, moral, intellectual, metaphysical or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared.

7. President George Washington was sculpted by Houdon, a Frenchman. Describe its style and symbolism.

Houdon's portrait sculpture of Washington was the result of a specific invitation by Benjamin Franklin to cross the Atlantic specifically to visit Mount Vernon, so that Washington could model for him. Washington sat for wet clay life models and a plaster life mask in 1785. These models served for many commissions of Washington, including the standing figure commissioned by the Legislature of Virginia, and located in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond. Numerous variations of the Washington bust were produced, portraying him variously as a general in uniform, in the classical manner showing chest musculature, and as Roman Consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus clad in a toga. A version of the latter is located in the Vermont State House.

8. What is the meaning of David’s painting ‘The Death of Marat’ #23.30?

The painting represents the 1793 fate of Jean-Paul Marat, the writer of the radical newspaper L'Ami du peuple (The Friend of the People). The paper was prominently associated with the Jacobin faction during the Reign of Terror, although he was never an outright member. Marat often took cold baths to ease violent itching caused by a skin disease called coeliac that he contracted in his earlier years from hiding from his enemies in sewers. Marat was stabbed on July 13 by Charlotte Corday while writing in his bathtub. Corday was a supporter of the more moderate Girondist faction.
David was a close friend of Marat, as well as a strong supporter of Robespierre and the Jacobins. He was overwhelmed by their natural capacity for convincing crowds with their speeches, something he hadn't yet easily achieved through painting (not to mention his difficulty to speak, due to a facial deformation caused by an injury during a duel). Determined to memorialize his friend, David not only organized for him a lavish funeral, but painted his portrait soon afterwards.

9. Define Romantism as a style. Identify one painting by title and artist that fits your deinition. [2 pts.]

Romanticism is an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated around the middle of the 18th Century in Western Europe, during the industrial revolution. It was partly a revolt against aristocratic, social, and political norms of the enlightenment period and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature in art and literature.
The name "romantic" itself comes from the term “romance" which is a prose or poetic heroic narrative originating in medieval literature and romantic literature. The ideologies and events of the French Revolution are thought to have influenced the movement. Romanticism elevated the achievements of what it perceived as misunderstood heroic individuals and artists that altered society. It stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror, and the awe experienced in confronting the sublime aesthetics of untamed nature. These sublime emotions are aesthetically drawn out in the romantic heroine, drawn by John William Waterhouse, called The lady Shalott (1888). This exotic scene relates to a neo-medieval techniques and the figures closely relate to the Arthurian Romance.

10. Compare a landscape painting by Joseph Mallard William Turner with another landscape painting found in Chapter #24. State the name of the artist and the title of each painting. Describe the differences in the painters’ techniques. [2 pts.]

Thomas Cole. The Oxbow (1908).

Thomas Cole gave himself a goal to develop The Course of Empire to comprise no less than five paintings of a historic composition. His friend, Reed, had begun to notice Cole was becoming lonely and depressed, and suggested that he suspend work on The Course of Empire and paint something that was more in his element for the April 1836 opening of the National Academy of Design's annual exhibition.
The Oxbow was the substitute, the painting moves from a dark wilderness with shattered tree trunks on rugged cliffs in the foreground covered with violent rain clouds on the left to a light-filled and peaceful, cultivated landscape on the right, which borders the tranquility of the bending river. This painting is designed with a technique commonly used by realists for precession in large scale design.
Joseph Mallard William Turner used basic operating premises similar to Constable. Constable, like Thomas Cole, painted with scientific accuracy in the land. Turner was aspired to rival great history history painting and consequently invested his views with a rich overlay of historical motifs, references to Old Masters, and metaphorical themes. Constable’s paitings became more like Turner’s paintings in the later years with cataclysmic, symbolic, and metaphorical complexity associated to historical paintings.

11. What makes Francis Rude’s sculpture ‘The Departure of the Volunteers of 1792’ Romanticism?

Romanticism elevated the achievements of what it perceived as misunderstood heroic individuals and artists that altered society. It stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror, and the awe experienced in confronting the sublime aesthetics of untamed nature.

In the case of the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, the Départ des volontaires de 1792 (Departure of the Volunteers of 1792), also known as La Marseillaile is a work full of energy and fire, immortalizes the name of Rude.

12. Romanticism in architecture involved revivals of various historical styles. Name two of these architectural revival structures by title and artist’s name. [2pts.][2pts.]

· Expressionism
· Gothicism
· Nationalism
· Symbolism
· Surrealism
Romanticism typified by the artwork of Eugène Delacroix. Debates also occurred over whether it was better to learn art by looking at nature, or to learn by looking at the artistic masters of the past.
Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies or universities.
Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des beaux-arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, and the art that followed these two movements in the attempt to synthesize both of their styles, and which is best reflected by the paintings of William-Adolph Bouguereau, Suzor-Coté, Thomas Couture, and Hans Makart. In this context it is often called "academism", "academicism", "L'art pompier", and "eclecticism", and sometimes linked with "historicism" and "syncretism".
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