INTRODUCTION
Introduction
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts
Copyright © 2011 Thames & Hudson
INTRODUCTION
What Is Art?
 Art communicates ideas and emotions by visual means: it
is a form of language
 Art helps us see the world in new and exciting ways
 Art is not made of a defined, prescribed set of media
 Art has many purposes
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
0.1 The Journey of the Sun God Re, detail from the inner coffin of Nespawershefi, Third Intermediate Period, 990–969 BCE. Plastered
and painted wood. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England
0.2 William G. Wall, Fort Edward, from The Hudson River Portfolio, 1820. Hand-colored aquatint,14½ × 21⅜”
0.3 Louise Nevelson, White Vertical
Water, 1972. Painted wood,
18 × 9’. Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum, New York
INTRODUCTION
Where Is Art?
 Art is in many places:

Objects as diverse as coffins or books

Museums

Parks and public places

Our homes
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
0.4 Simon Rodia, Watts Towers, 1921–54.
Seventeen mortar-covered steel sculptures with
mosaic, 99½’ high at tallest point. 1761–1765 East
107th Street, Los Angeles, California
0.5 Thomas Jefferson, Virginia State Capitol Building, 1785–8, Court End District, Richmond, Virginia
INTRODUCTION
Who Makes Art?
 A single individual or many
 Artists or artisans – craftspeople also make beautiful and
useful works
 Famous or anonymous
 Not all artists make their art themselves
 Making of art also influenced by patrons who commission it
 Can be affected also by training (or lack of): artist as follower
of tradition or as innovative genius
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
0.6 Jeff Koons, Rabbit, 1986. Stainless steel,
41 × 19 × 12”. Edition of 3 and artist’s proof
0.7 Tea bowl, 16th century. Stoneware with red glaze (Karatsu ware), 3 × 19⅞”. Indianapolis Museum of Art
0.8 Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1503. Oil on wood,
30⅜ × 20⅞”. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
0.9 Titian, Isabella d’Este, 1536. Oil on
canvas, 40¼ × 25¼”. Kunsthistorisches
Museum, Vienna, Austria
INTRODUCTION
The Value of Art
 Value can mean sale price in money
 Value can mean rarity or uniqueness
 Fame of the artist can influence value
 Objects can have a ceremonial or spiritual value
 Art can be valuable because it expresses a society’s
cherished ideals and identity
 Art can be valued for its beauty and power to inspire awe
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
0.10 Gustav Klimt, Adele Bloch-Bauer,
1912. Oil on canvas, 6’2⅞” × 3’11¼”.
Private collection
0.11 Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-portrait,
1630. Oil on copper, 6⅛ × 4¾”.
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden
0.12 The Lincoln Memorial statue by Daniel
Chester French, 1920. Marble, 19’ high. The
Mall, Washington, D.C.
0.13 Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a
Pearl Earring, c. 1665. Oil on canvas,
17½ × 15⅜”. Mauritshuis, The Hague,
Netherlands
INTRODUCTION
Censorship of Art
 Art can be very powerful: it can challenge or offend
 Art can be censored for many reasons:

Because it is pornographic

Because it offends religious beliefs

Because viewers object to its political message

Because it expresses values that others do not share
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
0.14 Marc Quinn, Self, 1991. Blood
(artist’s), stainless steel, perspex, and
refrigeration equipment, 81⅞ × 24¾ ×
24¾”. Private collection
0.15 Otto Dix, Kriegeskrueppel (War Cripples), 1920. Drypoint, 12¾ × 19½” (sheet size). MOMA, New York
INTRODUCTION
Why Do We Study Art?
 There are many ways to see and interpret a work of art
 We can analyze art as visual language
 What can historical or social context tell us about art?
 Alternatively, can art teach us something about history and
culture?
 Does art reflect its creator’s opinions?
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
0.16 Winslow Homer, Prisoners from the Front, 1866. Oil on canvas, 24 × 38”. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
0.17 Eugène Delacroix, The
Massacre at Chios, 1824.
Oil on canvas, 13’8” ×
11’7⅜”. Musée du Louvre,
Paris, France
0.18 Carved ivory mask-shaped hip
pendant, mid-16th century. Ivory inlaid
with iron and bronze, 9⅝ × 5 × 2⅜”.
British Museum, London, England
INTRODUCTION
The Master Sculptors of Benin and Ife
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Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts, Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
INTRODUCTION
This concludes the PowerPoint slide set for the Introduction
Gateways to Art: Understanding the Visual Arts
By Debra J. DeWitte, Ralph M. Larmann, M. Kathryn Shields
Copyright © 2011 Thames & Hudson
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INTRODUCTION
Picture Credits for Introduction
0.1
Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge/Bridgeman Art Library
0.2
Spencer Collection, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
0.3
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Mr. and Mrs. James J. Shapiro, 85.3266. Photo David Heald ©
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2011
0.4
© Nik Wheeler/Corbis
0.5
© Ian Dagnall/Alamy
0.6
© Jeff Koons
0.7
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Gift of Charles L. Freer/Bridgeman Art Library
0.8
Musée du Louvre, Paris
0.9
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
0.10
Private Collection
0.11
Photo © Erik Cornelius/Nationalmuseum, Stockholm
0.12
© Ian Dagnall/Alamy
0.13
Mauritshuis, The Hague
0.14
Photo Marc Quinn Studio. Courtesy White Cube. © the artist
0.15
Publisher Heinar Schilling, Dresden. Printer unknown. Edition 15. Museum of Modern Art, New York, Purchase, Acc.
no. 480.1949. Photo 2011, Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence. © DACS 2011
0.16
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Frank B. Porter, 1922, Acc. no. 22.207. Photo Metropolitan Museum of
Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florence
0.17
Musée du Louvre, Paris
0.18
André Held /akg-images
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