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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Dear Humanities Academy Kids,
1. You were introduced to your first exam.
2. If you missed class, we started by having a practice session for your test, which is scheduled for Wednesday, September 25th.

We looked at the following piece by Mary Cassatt called The Bath and then discussed the composition, color, balance/harmony, movement and mood established by the piece. Remember that part of your exam on Friday pertains to doing the same evaluation. Make sure you refer to the five images I posted last time. Review and research them in order to make sure that you have a strong understanding of the composition, color, balance/harmony, movement and mood for each. I HAVE INCLUDED A FORMER STUDENT'S RESPONSE BELOW THE IMAGE.

Elisa Wilson 
Mrs. Crampton
  22 September, 2001
The Bath by Mary Cassatt
The Bath by Mary Cassatt embraces the natural love between a mother and a child. Through the design elements of composition, color, balance, mood and movement one greatly appreciates Cassatt’s intent, and the viewer develops a deeper understanding for Cassatt's depiction of the mother and child. 
The composition of The Bath focuses the audience’s attention on the child. The eye is immediately drawn to the child, and then to the mother. This draws attention to the emotion of the moment. Cassatt has also used circles in the piece to indicate unity and peace between the mother and child. One can see the circle in the basin, the shape of the heads, and in the circular form of the pitcher. The background of the painting appears muted or slightly fussy, which helps bring the attention to the mother and child. The overall arrangement of subjects gives the viewer a sense of peace.
The color used indicates a moment of peace. Cassette used white for the little girl to indicate her innocence and naivety. The mother appears in a stripped dress using light green, pink and white. These colors let the audience know that the moment is serene. The red colored carpet, although subtle, lets the audience know that the relationship between the mother and child is genuine.
Cassatt has created a balance in the work, as the mother and child are placed in the middle of the piece. No contention or disharmony exists here. The balance gives the viewer an understanding of harmony and relaxation, as these are the emotions experienced by the two subjects.
The movement of the piece begins first with the child. The audience sees the little girl and then the eye is drawn down toward the basin. The mother washing the child’s foot helps the audience understand the connection between the two of them. In addition, both subjects are looking in the same direction towards the child’s feet as the mother gently cleans them. This positioning helps the audience follow the gaze to the feet of the child. 
The audience becomes captured by the peaceful and relaxed mood set by this piece. Cassatt clearly valued relationships, especially those among children and mothers. The mother portrays concern for the child’s well-being by securing the child in her lap with one hand, while the other hand gently caresses the girl’s foot. These actions appear natural, and help the viewer recognize the significane of the relationship.

1. Your first EXAM is scheduled for Friday, September 20th. Prepare this way:
a. What are the Humanities?
b. Why is studying the Humanities so important?
c. Why should an "observer" learn more of the time period and artist's personal life prior to making a judgement about a piece of art?
d. Define the following terms and make sure you can apply them: Composition, Mood, Color, Balance/Unity, and Movement
e. Students will randomly draw one piece of artwork from the "hat." They will then need to evaluate the piece using the above elements. We did this in class with "The Raft of the Medusa." In order to assist you with this section of the exam, I have included the pieces of artwork below. Realize that you won't know your focus until the day of the exam; however, you can easily learn more about them through some research. Remember that I am going to ask you to comment on the composition, color, mood, balance/unity and movement in the piece that you select.
"Judith and Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi

"Weeping Woman" by Picasso
"Burial of Count Orgaz" by El Greco
"Penitent Magdalene" by Georges de la Tour
"The Dead Christ" by Andrea Mantegna

1. Locate information for TWO of the FIVE art pieces  included above. You can easily locate the information via the Internet. Focus on color, emotion, reflection of society, one element and one principle.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Dear Academy Kids,

If you missed class, we completed the following:

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 Thursday, September 12th.

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, by John Sargent, as rather dull and mundane. My initial perspective involved no great excitement. I neither liked nor disliked this particular piece. The female is attractive, but not stunning. Her dress appears drab, and without must excitement. The artist has used darker hues for every aspect of the piece expect for the lady's skin tone. I wonder if this was an intentional contrast? In addition, her gaze is focused on something or someone that the audience can not see. Is she looking at her husband, or rather a more scandalous idea, her lover? Why is the piece entitle Madame X? Did the artist not know his model? I am curious as to why this piece was so controversial for its time period? I hope my perspective will change once I learn more.

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, September 10th, 2013

Dear Humanities Kids,

If you missed class, we completed the following:

1. Students were asked to submit their annotations regarding their controversial pieces of art. Students stapled the article that Davis and Crampton gave them to the one that they located on their own.

2. SENIORS were then taken to the media center and the 704 lab to complete the UTAH FUTURES work. If you missed this, please communicate with the counseling office.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Friday, August 29th, 2013

Dear Humanities Kids,

We hope you have a wonderful weekend! IF YOU MISSED CLASS, and several of you did, then you MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SUBMIT your assignment(s), even if you are not in class. The two assignments that were due on Friday were given to you earlier in the week; consequently, you had prior knowledge of a due date. The assembly does not excuse you of turning your assignments in on the scheduled due date. For those of you that did not submit your annotations or your adaptive cover, please note that you will need to submit them on Wednesday for up to 50% of the total points. STOP MAKING THOSE CHOICES!

1. We completed our discussion on Journal #2. We discussed that all art forms have merit; even if you do not care for a piece, the fact that someone else does indicates that you still must respect it.

2. We also discussed some of the color choices for your annotations. Each student submitted their annotations.

3. We then shared our "Adaptive Covers." We were SO IMPRESSED with the ideas you developed for your Humanities Academy covers....well done!

4. Ms. Davis then continued with discussing the ELEMENTS and PRINCIPLES of ART. If you missed class, please stop by the Humanities Academy room and locate the handout covering the "Elements and Principles of Design."

1. NONE! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!