Monday, January 31, 2011

"Perception vs. Reality"

If you missed class on Monday, January 31st....

Dear Humanities Students,

If you missed class today, we completed the following:
1. JOURNAL #2 entitled " Perception vs. Reality"
       This journal is one that you will need to complete upon your return to class, as it involves the use of several images that I DO NOT want to post. In essence, you can only see the images for approximately 5 seconds, and if they were available to you on the blog that would defeat the point of the journal entry.

"Perception vs. Reality" Journal #2
As you view the images, please record your initial perceptions. Once we have looked at them for a longer period of time, we'll review how closely your perceptions were in comparison with the realities of the images.

2. Students were asked to visit with the other students who researched the same artwork in order to compare their research. We then shared information regarding each piece concerning the difference in reality and perception now that everyone had completed some research.

1. None for Thursday, September 9th

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Understanding the Artist's Intent

Understanding the Artist's Intent......January 25th, 2011

Dear Humanities Students,

If you missed class today, we completed the following:

1. JOURNAL #1 entitled "Artist's Intent"
Consider the following two pieces of art. The first is entitled "Guenica" by Pablo Picasso. The second is entitled "Myra" by  British artist Marcus Harvey. Indicate which piece you prefer. Why do you prefer one over the other? Please include specifics in your response.

"Guernica" by Pablo Picasso

"Myra" by Marcus Harvey

Now that you've told me which one you prefer, let me give you some schema on both pieces of art. "Guernica" is an anti war piece pertaining to the Spanish civil war. Picasso painted it as an indication of the suffering to all living creatures caused by war. The following images portray the devastation Picasso was attempting to mimic.

Myra Hindley was convicted of murdering five children from 1963 to 1968 in Manchester, England. The image above of Miss Hendley was created from the hand prints of children.

Now that I have given you some schema on "Guernica" and "Myra", does your perspective change?
 Return to your journal entry, and discuss the change in perspective now that you have more understanding regarding the two pieces of art.

HOMEWORK: Complete the following writing assignment in association with your chosen image from above. The assignment is due on Monday, January 31st


What is the Artist’s Intent? How does the “intent” change your perspective?

Introduction: The artist’s intention has always been to convey his thoughts, ideas or creativity through his work. Sometimes the intention is to depict an important historical scene, so that it is documented for later generations. Sometimes the intention in the artwork is to be educational as well as figurative; nonetheless the artist wants to be understood. The problem lies in the fact that the audience, in most instances, does not perceive, nor understand the artist’s intent. They simply decide that they don’t like a piece of art without considering what might have been affecting the artist at the time the work was developed and completed.

All perception requires transformations: when we see, we filter out noise, fill in gaps, connect dots, rotate, stretch, and juxtapose. Perception is creative. Basically, different minds interpret similar input differently. Perception is learned. Infants cannot see much until they learn to see. The eye’s signals must be processed and infants learn to filter out noise, fill in gaps, and integrate with their other senses, etc. until the output correlates with pre-existing patterns. One can not interpret simply by perceiving. In order for an audience to interpret without prejudice, they must consider ALL of the components surrounding the artist’s intent. In many instances, perception is not reality.

1. What was taking place historically and politically during the time the work was created?

2. What was happening with the artist on a personal level when the piece was created?
Assignment Explanation: Each of you will have the opportunity to learn more about a specific piece of art, that when initially perceived, is misunderstood, simply because the audience fails to realize the artist’s intent. The audience looks at the work, without considering the outside effects imposed upon the artist.

1. Your assignment requires some research; the Internet will suffice as your primary source. Three Internet sources are required. WIKIPEDIA SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS A RELIABLE SOURCE. Have fun learning more about your artist and their controversial work.

2. A “Works Cited” page is compulsory, and it is a separate page from your assignment. The following citation example is used for Internet sources:

Gombrich, E.H., Why Art Matters? 2005, 7 August, 2009

(Author’s name, title of the website, publication date, date of access, and the URL in angle brackets on the second line indented five spaces)

3. Please research the following:

a. Begin your response by explaining your initial reaction to the piece. How the piece makes you feel. Do you like or dislike the work? Explain your response. Now begin your research by discovering the initial reaction to the piece by the public. How was the piece received by the public? What has happened to the work since its original introduction into society? What was taking place when the piece of work was created? Does the historical background affect the piece of art work? Was the artist attempting to convey a message about what was taking place in their personal life? What was the artist attempting to convey through the piece? Has your perspective regarding the work changed now that you have a greater understanding regarding the artist’s intent?
4. Please include an image of the work on your assignment.

Previous student example for above assignment. NOTE: the image would not copy to the blog, so look up "Madame X" on your own.
A Different Perspective regarding Madame X
An individual living in the 21st century may regard Madame X,

This painting, created by John Sargent, was first exhibited in the Salon Gallery, Paris, France in 1884. The subject's name, Madame Gautreau, a French beauty, was well known for her infidelities. This information gave insight into the painting's name, Madame X. If she remains nameless, then her immorality is more easily hidden. The painting is 7 feet tall, so it appears threatening to the viewer. I also found this interesting. If a spouse has an affair, then the other partner feels self conscious, inferior and “small” in comparison to the lover. In addition, her pose and exposed skin, suggested for the time period, that she possessed lose morals. Female clothing was form fitting, but the revealing of any skin was considered inappropriate. The low neckline indicated an “open invitation” to the audience that she was “selling herself.” Her fair skin tone draws the viewer's eye to her breast, which, of course, added to the sexual suggestiveness of the painting. Basically, the audience felt that John Sargent had openly accepted and was promoting her “profession.”

Through researching this work, I learned that John Sargent, a lonely, quiet man,who never married, had developed a strong fascination for Madame Gautreau. He wrote, “ I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty.” She willing accepted his invitation, and they began working together; their work progressed to a love affair. A friend commented regarding Sargent, “He seems to have blossomed as an artist and as a man due to his painting of Madame X.”

Although I don't agree with his relationship with the subject, understanding more about his association with her helped me to understand his artistic intent and view the painting with a different perspective. His relationship with her gave him a confidence that he had previously not possessed. He wanted to share her beauty and the effect it had on him with others, not in a demeaning or inappropriate fashion, but in a way that expressed his passion for her. The choice to paint her profile also suggests that he wanted to keep some of her to himself; that he did not want to reveal of her to his audience. Her scandalous reputation did not work well with his chosen pose, nor with her bare skin, but at the same time, I believe he captured the woman that he loved.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Welcome to Humanities!

Dear Humanities Students,
I welcome you to an exciting semester! I am thrilled that you have chosen to take this class. Humanities is a senior English credit, designed to give you a broad understanding of the many facets that affect human perspective. Our focus will pertain to art, literature, drama, music, philosophy, religion and architecture concerning the Classical to the Renaissance time periods.

HOMEWORK for Friday, January 21st
Please remember the following:

1. Your signed Disclosure Document.
2. Your notebook organized and set-up with the following tabs ("homework, handouts, notes, vocab./mechanics and journal)
3. Your assignment entitled "What are the Humanities? Why is studying the Humanities important?" 
As you consider these questions, remember the story shared with you in class today regarding the blind men and the elephant, specifically in relationship to the second question..

I look forward to seeing you on Friday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What have you learned, Humanities Kids? I wish you luck as you move on.........

Dear Humanities Students,

It is difficult to believe that your year is half over! I have thoroughly enjoyed learning from you; every day has been the best for me. Please keep in touch!

 We completed your last journal entry. 

Journal #10: "Enduring Studies"
What makes the pieces of literature, artists, and certain architectural forms that we have studied this semester worth your time? Basically, why do we study The Iliad and The Odyssey? Why read "Pygmalion" and "Cupid and Psyche?" Why do you need to comprehend the engineering prowess of ancient Rome? Why learn about the magnificence of Gothic cathedrals? Why is Dante's "Inferno" part of our curriculum? Why discuss Islam? Why do you need to comprehend the significance of Classical cultures, such as the Minoans and Mycenaean Greeks? I could continue to ask you questions, as the list is prodigious. WHY do we study aspects of culture that are centuries old? Consider what you have learned,  what has affected you the most in our study? 

 1. Please remember that your final exam question is available below: You are welcome to seek opinions from other individuals, and use your handouts. Your response needs to pertain to aspects associated with the following:
  • literature
  • art
  • architecture
If you select to discuss aspects associated with philosophy and/or religion then extra-credit will be assigned. Yes, I know that you're required to think for the final exam, but that is, in essence, what a study in the Humanities is about.

If you were enrolled in a Humanities course 400 years in the future, what would your curriculum entail regarding the 21st century. In essence, what would you study and why from our current time period.  In essence, how do the Humanities exhibit themselves in our current culture and why are they worth studying?

"Creating" the "Sistine Chapel"

Dear Humanities Students,

I have some reminders for you:
1. Your "Renaissance Symbolism" essay is due on Wednesday, January 12th.
          a. You will need three sources (1 must be a quintessential text, and the other two may come from  the Internet)
          b. Please remember that you must include textual support in the form of quotes to support your points
          c. Select three areas associated with symbolism as discussion for your paper.
          d. Remember to use ACADEMIC VOICE (no passive verbs, no first or second person and no contractions)
          e. Remember to include an image of your particular piece in your essay.
          f. Remember that you need to reference your three sources in a "Works Citation" page

2. We continued our discussion of the artists associated with the High Renaissance. Each student had the opportunity to "take one the roll" of Michelangelo, as they painted their version of the "Sistine Chapel."

3. I have posted the question for your final exam. Please consider it, and develop some logical ideas prior to Friday.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Symbolism in Renaissance Art, Leonardo da Vinci, and MIchelangelo

Dear Humanities Kids,

I LOVE YOUR 'INFERNO' Assignments! You punishments are incredibly clever. The Greeks and Dante would be so proud of your thought processes.  I have completed grading the visual portion of your assignment, and will begin correcting the written portion over the weekend.

What did you do in class on Thursday, January 6th?
1. We continued looking at the pieced entitled "THE ARNOLFINI WEDDING" by Jan van Eyck for its symbolism and deeper meaning.

2. Students were then introduced to a new assignment due on WED., JAN 12th. I have included the instructions for the assignment below. If you missed class, and therefore did not "draw from the hat," you may choose from the two pieces of paper that remained. You may select either "The Ambassadors" or "Primavera."

Symbolism in Renaissance Art
Due Date________________________

Instructions: Your assignment involves researching one of the following Renaissance art pieces in association with allusions and symbols used within the chosen piece, and how these allusions and symbols add understanding to the work.
·        Primerva by Sandro Boticelli
·        The Last Judgement by Micelangelo
·        The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein
·        The School of Athens by Raphael
·        The Divine Comedy by Domenico di Michelion

1. Your paper needs to discuss a minimum of three allusions and/or symbols present within the piece, and how the artist’s choice to use them heightens the understanding of the viewer regarding the artist’s intent.

2. Your paper must include an introduction, conclusion and three body paragraphs. If you wish to discuss more than three symbols then clearly you would have more than three body paragraphs.

3. You must include a “Works Cited” page indicating your THREE sources. You may use the Internet for two of the three, but one source needs to come from a quintessential text. Please do not consult Wikipedia as a source. You are welcome to obtain information from any of my books pertaining to Renaissance art, but you can’t check them out.

4. An image of the artwork must appear either in the body of your paper or prior to the introductory paragraph. Extra-credit will be given if additional images of the work are incorporated in your paper. Please make sure that your additional images correlate with information within your paper.

5. You must include a minimum of two quotes within the body of your paper, which help to support the points included within your paper.

6. Please use ACADEMIC VOICE!

Citation Examples:
Crampton, Kori. Why I think My Humanities Students are so Intelligent. Orem, UT: Timpanogos

           Publishing Co., 2010.

Van Gogh, Vincent. The Sunflowers. 1889. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Simeon, Daniel. The Mona Lisa. 2005, 7 August, 2006

The following is a paper that was written by a student who took Humanities in 2000! You may use it as an example to follow when writing your own.

Jennae Harding                                                                                               Jennae Harding
Mrs. Kori Crampton  
Symbolism found in “The Arnolfini Wedding” by Jan van Eyck

The Renaissance represented a time of great change and discovery in all areas of learning. For example, Johannas Guttenberg created the printing press, which allowed the spread of ideas to become accessible to more people. In the area of science, Nicolas Copernicus discovered the revolution of the Earth around the Sun. Prior to his discovery, the Earth was considered stationary and the Sun and the planets rotated around the Earth. Pieces of literature from the classical time period became widespread and artists created realistic forms in their work. The “rebirth” in all areas of learning inspired great change and inspired a thirst for knowledge. This desire to learn not only existed with the “inventors” of the Renaissance time period, but also with those that observed their work. Artists, for example, did not simply create purely to create, but also to challenge the mind of their audience. This idea become obvious in “The Arnolfini Wedding” by Jan van Eyck, as he  places many different symbols within his work, which challenge the viewer, but also help them to fully understand this significant piece of Renaissance art. The placement of figures and items  play a large part in the symbolism of the painting.
This painting illustrates a wedding “contract” between Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife Giovanna Cenami.  Renaissance couples would ask an artist to “prove” the validity of their wedding through art. Basically, this piece of art acted as a “wedding certificate.” It acts as a legal record proving that the marriage took place. The artist has signed it as a legal document.  The viewer witnesses the “contract” through observing the hands of the couple.  The man uses his left hand to support his wife’s hand, but he does not grasp her hand. He raises his right hand up as if he is taking an oath.  The positioning of the hand symbolizes that the couple have to the “contract” of marriage.
Another interesting point concerning the symbolism of the characters’ placement involves the fact that the male stands next to the window, while his wife stands next to the bed. The husband has access to the world, and his wife‘s responsibilities pertain to the home and the creation of children. The location indicates their roles not only in society, but in their home.
 In essence, God watches over the couple and he plays an important role in their lives.  In addition, a mirror hangs at the back of the room with ten images of Christ placed around it. This represents that Christ watches over and observes the couple.  According to art historian  Claire d’Harcourt, “The artist, van Eyck consciously placed the chandelier candle and the mirror in the center of the couple to symbolize the religious significance of God and Christ in their lives.
In the“The Arnolfini Wedding,”  Jan van Eyck uses different symbols to represent a higher meaning to the audience. He wants the view to recognize that the couple has protection from God and Christ, and that their marriage will have fulfillment through their faith. The symbols used and their placement within the piece also indicate the holiness of the event.

  MOVING ON.......
1. We then proceeded to discuss artists of the "HIGH RENAISSANCE" primarily Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. We will continue discussing influential  Renaissance artists and their art on Monday.

    .1. Your final will consist of ONE QUESTION. I will give it to you momentarily. The most effective way to prepare for your final is to consider the following: WHY DO HUMANITIES CLASSES, specifically your humanities course, STUDY CERTAIN CULTURES, FAITHS, ARTISTS, PIECES OF LITERATURE, and CERTAIN ARCHITECTURAL FORMS? BASICALLY, why have these areas of study endured for centuries?

If you were enrolled in a Humanities course 400 years in the future, what would your curriculum entail regarding the 21st century. In essence, what would you study and why from our current time period.  In essence, how do the Humanities exhibit themselves in our current culture and why are they worth studying?

Happy Thinking, my young friends!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dante's Inferno...Your "Hell" is due on Thursday, Jan. 6th!

Dear Humanities Kids,

If you missed class, we completed the following:

1. You were introduced to images of Dante's impression concerning Lucifer. We then proceeded to read Canto XXXIV and discuss the lowest level of Dante's Inferno.

2. We then started discussing the Renaissance time period, and the significance of symbolism within pieces of art.

1. Underworld is due on Thursday. Remember that you need to have your visual interpretation indicating both Romanesque and Gothic time periods. Your seven sins and their punishments should also be indicated.

2. Your written portion needs to include the following points:
                a. Your sins
                b. Why you consider each "sin" a crime
                c. Punishments (bold/underlined type)
                d. Why the punishments are appropriate for the particular sin

I look forward to your "Inferno" assignment!