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