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The Individual and Art

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The Individual and Art

  1. 1. Art and the Individual Introduction to Eastern and Western Art
  2. 2. Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian Renaissance) David, 1501 – 1504, Marble, 5.17 meters (17 feet) tall
  3. 3. Individualism The Renaissance (15th and 16th Centuries in Europe) manifested itself in new attitudes towards human beings and the world. During the Middle Ages, recognition of individual accomplishment was rare. Christian humility had discouraged praise of the self; as ones major concern should be salvation in the next world, rather than fame in the present. Medieval writers had studied ancient texts merely as a way to know God, and scholars had interpreted the classics in a Christian sense, often finding points of agreement between the two. During the Renaissance, Individualism became important. Individualism stressed the personality, uniqueness, even genius of the individual either as artist, athlete, painter, scholar, etc. One’s personal abilities should be fully realized, not melded into a communal whole. Individuals developed a burning desire for fame and achievement. Michelangelo's David illustrates the Renaissance idea of Individualism, and in fact, Michelangelo himself is an example of how the genius of the individual was celebrated.
  4. 4. Self-Portraits ● Self-promotional tool ● Artist as celebrity / Importance in society ● Connection to mortality / immortality ● Method of self-expression ● Relationship to psychology ● Narcissism / vanity (relationship to mirrors) ● Identity / Individualism
  5. 5. Jan van Eyck (Flemish Early Renaissance), Man in a Red Turban, 1433, Oil on Wood Panel
  6. 6. Portrait of a Man in a Red Turban was created by Jan van Eyck, a Northern Renaissance artist, in 1433, in Bruges. It is believed by many to have been a self portrait of Jan van Eyck and possibly used as a portfolio piece. The inscriptions in the framing include van Eyck’s personal motto, which is one reason it is often believed to be a self portrait. The idea that the piece was used as a portfolio comes from the idea that he could show potential customers his painting and himself to compare. In this painting van Eyck does not idealize himself, if it is in fact a self portrait, but instead goes into great detail and realism. This lack of idealization is representative of humanist ideals, he accepts himself as imperfect while producing a painting which bolsters his individual skill. Additionally, this piece does not necessarily have any religious aspects; it is simply an individual in a painting. Retrieved from https://atschroth.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/jan-van-eyck-and-humanism/
  7. 7. Parmigianino (Italian Renaissance) Self-portrait in a Mirror, c. 1524, Oil painting
  8. 8. This painting stunned Renaissance Italy. It shows the artist at the age of about 21, romantic, his unkempt face unmanly, even feminine. It emphasizes the fantastic nature of his talent, of his right hand that draws and makes a world. What makes the painting unique is its gimmick. Spectacularly, Parmigianino has not only studied himself in a convex mirror but reproduced what he sees. The painting is not on a flat canvas but on a section of a wooden sphere that reproduces the shape of a convex mirror. In it, we see a world as freakish as Parmigianino's huge right hand - the hand that creates this world and dominates the room, whose window and ceiling have become rounded and spiraling. The theatre of Renaissance perspective space has been replaced here with a mad, mannerist cinema. In painting the mirror, rather than subsuming its visual information into a more generalized, ideal self-image, Parmigianino makes a radical statement about what art is, what it can do, about the nature of the world. Italian art of the 15th century was entranced by the orderly, coherent space it was possible to map on a flat canvas using single-point perspective. But Parmigianino sees reality - specifically, his own reality, as he is this painting's subject - as chaotic, shifting, distorted and bizarre. This is a painting that flirts with the monstrous, the unruly and the occult. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2003/jan/18/art
  9. 9. Hokusai (Japanese), Self-portrait in the Age of an Old Man, c. 1839, Ink Drawing
  10. 10. “From the age of six I had a penchant for copying the form of things and from fifty my pictures were frequently published; but until the age of seventy nothing I drew was worthy of notice. At seventy-three years I was somewhat able to fathom the growth of plants and trees, and the structure of birds, animals, insects and fish. Thus, when I reach eighty years I hope to have made increasing progress and at ninety to see further into the underlying principles of things, so that at one hundred years I will have achieved a divine state in my art and at a hundred and ten, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.” - written by Hokusai in 1835 at the age of 75
  11. 11. Vincent van Gogh (Dutch), Self- portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889, oil on canvas, 60 x 49 cm
  12. 12. This self-portrait was painted shortly after Van Gogh returned home from hospital having mutilated his own ear. The prominent bandage shows that the context of this event is important. Van Gogh depicts himself in his studio, wearing his overcoat and a hat. Is it cold in the studio, or is this a sign of a lack of permanence? His facial expression is still and melancholy, as though he is contemplating his position as an artist. On the left, a blank canvas suggests that there is more work to come from this artist, as indeed there was, and a Japanese print on the right relates to an area of great artistic interest for him. This is a manipulated copy of a real print by Sato Torakiyo, owned by Van Gogh and pinned on the wall in his studio. In order to fit his own face into the composition, Van Gogh has shifted the figures and Mount Fuji across to the right. Retrieved from http://courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/collection/impressionism-post-impressionism/vincent-van-gogh- self-portrait-with-bandaged-ear
  13. 13. Frida Kahlo (Mexican Surrealist), The Two Fridas, 1939, Oil on Canvas, 173.5 cm × 173 cm (68.3 in × 68 in)
  14. 14. This double self-portrait is one of Kahlo's most recognized compositions, and is symbolic of the artist's pain during her divorce from Diego Rivera and the subsequent transitioning of her constructed identity. On the right, the artist is shown in modern European attire, wearing the costume she donned prior to her marriage to Rivera. Throughout their marriage, given Rivera's strong nationalism, Kahlo became increasingly interested in indigenism and began to explore traditional Mexican costume, which she wears in the portrait on the left. It is the Mexican Kahlo that holds a locket with an image of Rivera. The stormy sky in the background, and the artist's bleeding heart - a fundamental symbol of Catholicism and also symbolic of Aztec ritual sacrifice - accentuate Kahlo's personal tribulation and physical pain. Symbolic elements frequently possess multiple layers of meaning in Kahlo's pictures; the recurrent theme of blood represents both metaphysical and physical suffering, gesturing also to the artist's ambivalent attitude toward accepted notions of womanhood and fertility. Retrieved from http://www.theartstory.org/artist-kahlo-frida-artworks.htm
  15. 15. Tseng Kwong Chi (Chinese American Pop Artist), from his Self-portrait series, 1979 – 1989, Silver gelatin print
  16. 16. Tseng Kwong Chi (Chinese American Pop Artist), from his Self-portrait series, 1979 – 1989, Silver gelatin print
  17. 17. Tseng Kwong Chi (Chinese American Pop Artist), from his Self-portrait series, 1979 – 1989, Silver gelatin print
  18. 18. Tseng Kwong Chi (born 1950, Hong Kong; died 1990, New York) is internationally known for his photographic series Expeditionary Self- Portrait Series a.k.a. East Meets West. In over 100 images, he poses in front of iconic architecture and sublime nature as his invented artistic persona, a Chinese “Ambiguous Ambassador” in the classic Mao suit....the work explores tourist photography in a playful juxtaposition of truth, fiction, and identity. Tseng was an important documentarian and denizen of the downtown 1980’s New York club and art scene. During his brief but prolific 10-year career, he created over 100,000 vibrant color and black-and-white photographs of his contemporaries Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, McDermott and McGough, Kenny Scharf, Philip Taaffe, Madonna, Grace Jones, the B-52’s, and Fab Five Freddy, among others, a rich historical archive of the decade. In 1990, Tseng died at age 39 from complications related to AIDS, leaving an enduring body of work that engages major photographic traditions — the tourist snapshot, portraiture, the Sublime tradition of landscape photography, documentary and performance. Tseng’s photographs have been exhibited widely in international exhibitions and are in numerous major public museums and private collections. Retrieved from http://www.ericfirestonegallery.com/artists/tseng-kwong-chi
  19. 19. Marina Abramović (Serbian), The Artist is Present, 2010, 700 hour-long Performance Art Piece at MoMA, New York City
  20. 20. "Sit silently with the artist for a duration of your choosing"—so the instructions read on a small plaque in the second-floor atrium at The Museum of Modern Art. Behind the plaque, a queue of visitors forms, eager to enter a large square space—demarcated only by tape on the floor—to sit down at a wooden table across from a dark-haired woman in a dress that conceals every part of her body save her face and her hands. The woman is the pioneering artist Marina Abramović, but its likely that few of the people in line have any sense of this woman’s indelible impact on contemporary art. As I wait, an anthology of her performances scrolling through my head. Watching her from afar, I look to see the courage and fearlessness in a woman capable of incising a five-pointed star on her own stomach, screaming until she loses consciousness, and living in a gallery for 12 days without food. Strangely, she doesn’t seem reckless at all, but peaceful and wise. I then remember she trained with Tibetan Buddhists and has said she’s able to transcend the limits of her own body and mind through meditation. She’ll need these skills now more than ever as she attempts her longest performance-to-date, sitting at this table for every hour of every day that her retrospective is open at MoMA. No food. No water. No breaks. Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/global-culture/conceptual-performance/a/marina- abramovi-the-artist-is-present
  21. 21. Portraits Traditionally, portraits honor and memorialize certain figures in history (high status, powerful, influential figures often associated with religion and politics) In the past, most portraits were created in the form of painting and sculpture, however today photography is the main medium for portraiture In contemporary art, the genre of portraiture is sometimes used to focus on issues surrounding class, race, and identity
  22. 22. “What is portraiture? It's choice. It's the ability to position your body in the world for the world to celebrate you on your own terms.” - Kehinde Wiley, Artist
  23. 23. Jean Antoine Houdon (French Enlightenment), Seated Voltaire, Plaster, 1778, 35.6 x 14.6 x 20 cm
  24. 24. Voltaire (real name François-Marie Arouet) (1694 - 1778) was a French philosopher and writer of the Age of Enlightenment. His intelligence, wit and style made him one of France's greatest writers and philosophers, despite the controversy he attracted. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform (including the defense of civil liberties, freedom of religion and free trade), despite the strict censorship laws and harsh penalties of the period, and made use of his satirical works to criticize Catholic dogma and the French institutions of his day. Along with John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, his works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions. He was a prolific writer, and produced works in almost every literary form (plays, poetry, novels, essays, historical and scientific works, over 21,000 letters and over two thousand books and pamphlets). Retrieved from http://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_voltaire.html
  25. 25. Raja Ravi Varma (India), Portrait of Maharaja Serpoji II of Tanjore, c. 1875, Oil painting
  26. 26. Raja Ravi Varma (1848 – 1906) was an Indian painter best known for uniting Hindu mythological subject matter with European realist historicist painting style. He was one of the first Indian artists to use oil paints and to master the art of lithographic reproduction of his work. In addition to incidents in Hindu mythology, Varma painted many portraits of both Indians and British in India. Varma was born into an aristocratic family in Travancore state. He showed an interest in drawing from an early age, and his uncle Raja Raja Varma, noticing his passion for drawing on the palace walls, gave him his first rudimentary lessons in painting. When Varma was 14, Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal, ruler of Travancore at the time, became a patron of his artistic career. Soon the royal painter Rama Swamy Naidu started teaching him to paint with watercolours. Three years later Varma began to study oil painting with Theodore Jensen, a Danish-born British artist. Varma was the first Indian to use Western techniques of perspective and composition and to adapt them to Indian subjects, styles, and themes. He won the Governor’s Gold Medal in 1873 for the painting Nair Lady Adorning Her Hair. He became a much-sought-after artist among both the Indian nobility and the Europeans in India, who commissioned him to paint their portraits. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ravi-Varma
  27. 27. Tōshūsai Sharaku (Japan Edo Period), Kabuki Actor Ōtani Oniji III as Yakko Edobei in the Play “The Colored Reins of a Loving Wife” (Koi nyōbō somewake tazuna), Woodblock Print, 1794, 38.1 x 25.1 cm
  28. 28. The actor Otani Oniji II is captured here in the role of Yakko Edobe. A yakko is a manservant often used by samurai to perform violent deeds. Otani Oniji's leering face, shown in three-quarter view, bristling hair, and groping outstretched hands capture the ruthless nature of this wicked henchman. Sharaku was renowned for creating visually bold prints that gave rare revealing glimpses into the world of kabuki. He was not only able to capture the essential qualities of kabuki characters, but his prints also reveal, often with unflattering realism, the personalities of the actors who were famous for performing them. Because kabuki plays have relatively simple plots, the acting style of the performer is central to the performance. As a result, successful kabuki actors enjoyed great celebrity status. Unlike earlier masters, Sharaku did not idealize his subjects or attempt to portray them realistically. Rather, he exaggerated facial features and strove for psychological realism. Retrieved from https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/jp2822/
  29. 29. Kehinde Wiley (American). Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005. Oil on canvas, 108 x 108 in. (274.3 x 274.3 cm)
  30. 30. Jacques-Louis David. Napoleon Crossing the Alps. oil on canvas. 1803
  31. 31. In this large painting, Kehinde Wiley, an African-American artist, strategically re-creates a French masterpiece from two hundred years before but with key differences. This act of appropriation reveals issues about the tradition of portraiture and all that it implies about power and privilege. Wiley asks us to think about the biases of the art historical canon (the set of works that are regarded as “masterpieces”), representation in pop culture, and issues of race and gender. Here, Wiley replaces the original white subject—the French general-turned- emperor Napoleon Bonaparte—with an anonymous black man whom Wiley approached on the street as part of his “street-casting process.” Although Wiley does occasionally create paintings on commission, he typically asks everyday people of color to sit for photographs, which he then transforms into paintings. Along the way, he talks with those sitters, gathering their thoughts about what they should wear, how they might pose, and which historical paintings to reference. Retrieved from https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/global-culture/global-art-architecture/a/kehinde- wiley-napoleon-leading-the-army-over-the-alps
  32. 32. Ren Hang (Chinese), untitled, 2014, color photography
  33. 33. Ren Hang (1987- 2017) was born in Jilin, China. Ren was a poet and photographer. Splicing imagery of urban and rural environments as a metaphor for the increasingly citified millennials of today, he arranged the naked limbs of his friends in his hide-and- seek photographs. In these images, the subjects’ expressions are casual yet provocative, hinting at the erotic and playful energies between Ren Hang and his intimate circle of companions. Ren Hang’s work has been the subject of group exhibitions worldwide. Retrieved from http://www.kleinsungallery.com/artists/ren-hang
  34. 34. Manit Sriwanichpoom (Thailand), from Ordinary/Extraordinary series, 2008, Black and White Photography
  35. 35. “With ‘Ordinary/Extraordinary’, one is confronted by a wall of faces. Spare, black and white portraits lit from above. Ordinary people etched by a simple but dramatic light source that brings out the uniqueness of each one person. Laborer Nivat, who looks like he’s just stepped out of a temple mural; housewife Na Dokmai (“Auntie Flores”), with her haunting Amerindian shaman face; lost-looking Na Haeng (“Auntie Dry”), who washes clothes for a living; 22 year old plumber Mekh (“Cloud”) of the sad eyes; five year old Earth whose sphinx-like presence holds all the answers to all the riddles that ever were… Each unique face weaves its enchantment and sings its own song, of unique joys and secrets and concerns. Retrieved from http://goodartbook.com/book/Ordinary-Extraordinary