The works displayed above represent the works that are described, visually analyzed, researched and written about as part of the online art exhibition in Dr. McKay’s AHY 3200 Writing in the Discipline of Art and Art History course (Fall 2015). Each student chose a work of art and started with a written visual analysis. They then researched using tools and methods employed by art historians, art critics, and curators. Each page on this site represents the work by each of the students.
This introduction will attempt to tie together the variety of works that are represented here, that span temporally from the Assyrians (ca. 700 BCE; still to be uploaded) to modern art by Boccioni’s Futurist painting from 1911. Each student worked on multiple drafts in the course of the semester. These drafts were read by their Writing Fellow, junior Communication major Hannah Smutny, each other, as well as by me. Over the course of the semester these students have worked hard to learn the basics of visual analysis, interpretation through research, and digital identities for another project on which they are working.
This exhibition does have some similarities between the works. If we take the examples of the two dimensional works, I would say one commonality between them when they are shown together is the choice of colors. The Italo-Byzantine panel painting, which is discussed by Stockton-Juarez, has lost a bit of its vitality over the years, but the reds would have been very vibrant when first created. In the middle ages, red was an expensive color, and so its appearance on the panel painting as well as the tapestry is a testament to the expense involved in creating both works. The tapestry is part of a larger series that Eckard delves deeply into, carrying out research on the patronage, iconographic meaning, and conservation of this alluring piece.
Color is a hallmark of Botticelli and his use of it to enlighten a dark wood is obvious in Primavera. Sentz offers some interesting new interperative insights into the painting, both in terms of patronage as well as iconographic meaning, after setting the piece within the context of humanism during the Italian Renaissance.
Hayden takes us to the far East, where we learn about the Taima Mandala. Hayden, who has been interested in Japanese culture for years and plans to find a way there after graduation, spent a significant part of the semester researching and describing the elements, including color, that make up this mandala composition.
Our final two-dimensional works are all examples of late nineteenth-century or early twentieth-century movements in painting, predominantly interested in color. Seurat starts us off with a small painting of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The Tower itself was unfinished at the time of the painting in 1889. We see Seurat’s characteristic use of pointillism, which is based on the principles of scientific color discoveries in the nineteenth century, sometimes referred to as divisionism or chromoluminarism. Shuggars includes interesting critical views on the Tower, as well as Seurat’s interpretation of it. Starry Night is possibly one of Van Gogh’s most recognizable works. Lighter demonstrates her fascination with the painting by describing it and by focusing her research on the astronomical sights that Van Gogh captures with his heavy, impasto brushwork. Finally, we enter the twentieth century with Metcalf’s exploration of Futurism through the work of artist Boccioni, who explores the notion of movement and travel in the modern world. Influences of Cubism, Divisionism, and Neo-Impressionism are explored by Metcalf as well.