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This is an Art Appreciation course

Instructor’s Note below:

Read about contemporary art. Contemporary art IS NOT modern art. Choose a work created AFTER 1980 and discuss it. Compare contemporary and Baroque art. Discuss how your ideas about art have changed.

This week we will cover: evaluating the evolution of your interpretation of works of art, interpreting works of art using questions art historians ask and words art historians use, and differentiating between the characteristics of works of art from varying periods, movements, and regions. Art is a reflection of culture. Art will usually reflect the culture in which it was created. The importance of art history has a lot to do with this idea. In order for us to understand where we have come from and how we have grown, we have to look back at our history. The artworks created throughout history are the keys to this understanding of our past.

Oscar Wilde said art imitates life. It is also true that art is a creator of life. It can be used to reveal and reconstruct and allow us to see things in a new way (Gaggi, 1989). To understand art is to widen your perception of the world itself. We can see things in art that cannot exist in the world and to see that is to see possibilities.

“Nowadays we know that shape always results from an inquisitive process of the material…the specific reaction of the material when submitted to the terrible coercive strength of space that stifles it, pressing and squeezing it all over. Until it creates those swellings that, bouncing from its life, reach the precise limits established by the rigorous outlines of its own original reaction. Many times a piece of material pushed by an exceedingly absolute impulse has been denied; while another piece of material manages to create its own particular life, a piece of material that tries to be what it is possible for it to be, abandoning itself to the pleasure of creating new shapes, despite the tyrannical impact of space.” (Levi, 2000, p.9)

When you started the course, you may have started with very little knowledge of art or you may have had some previous experience with art. Hopefully, at this point in the course you can see how your knowledge of art has expanded and you have a new or renewed appreciation for art.

Directions below:

Select a contemporary work of art or architecture from Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective, a website listed on the ART101 Museum and Images Website document located in your classroom, one of the assigned virtual reality videos, or visit your local museum.

Provide a brief analysis of the work of art using the questions art historians ask and the words art historians use. Consider the media (materials), methods, subjects of the work of art, and the reflections of the region and Contemporary Art movement.

Questions art historians ask are:

How old is it? (look at the physical evidence, documentary evidence,and internal evidence)

What is the style? (period style, regional style, personal style).

Whar is its subject? (Iconograhpy).

Who made it?

Who paid for it?

WORDS Art Historians use are:

Form and Composition

Material and Technique




Space, Mass and Volume

Perspective and Foreshortening

Porportion and Scale

How do the political, philosophical, religious, and social contexts impact the art of today? How does Contemporary Art differ from Baroque Art, which you studied earlier in this course?

Resources below:

Norman, J. (1970). How to look at art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 28(5), 191-201. doi:10.2307/3258480

Kleiner, F. S. (2017). Gardner’s art through the ages: The western perspective (15th ed., Vol. II). Retrieved from

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