This course doesn’t require reviews at the end of each project, but it’s a discipline I got used to during A Creative Approach and it certainly feels like a good time to take stock.
The project started with an exercise on The Canon, a new concept to me. I took a few bites at it – see posts 17-Mar-2013, 13-Apr-2013, 26-Apr-2013, 28-Apr-2013 and 5-May-2013. I find the implications in terms of power particularly interesting, and also how these accepted values change – whether by evolution or revolution. I keep finding more. In the course text book is the comment “the buildings which were to be Rome’s greatest and most enduring contribution to the visual arts of the west were designed by men who … had the freedom of mind to break away from traditional methods of construction and accepted canons of judgement”. On a more modern and local level, a flier for an upcoming lecture series at the Art Gallery of NSW includes “The notion of the perfect sun bronzed Australian body endures into the 21st century as an iconic and nationalistic image that we are reluctant to relinquish” (2). Are some ideas so fundamental to humans that they recur over and over, or is this an enduring legacy of Classical ideals?
For the annotation exercise (20-Apr-2013) I chose a vase seen in the recent Alexander exhibition. It was satisfying to spend time studying one particular item, and I felt fortunate to be able to view it in person a couple of times. Reflecting now, there is a sense of disconnect, of an unbridgeable distance of understanding. I can’t even identify objects (a bell? a helmet?), let alone any ceremonial significance of decoration or use. Perhaps that is part of the point of Art History, going beyond surface appreciation. Daunting.
The final exercise was a visit to a Classical building (11-May-2013). I was determined to make my choice local and relevant to me personally. It was good to revisit some half-remembered history from primary school days. The response of tutor and assessors to this slant remains to be seen.
A much more concerning issue is time management. My first blog post for Understanding Art was 11-March-2013 and the first for Project 1 was 17-March-2013. Ten weeks for one Project, four Projects in this Part, five Parts to complete. Clearly things have to change.
I do have some excuses – watching all 18 episodes of Art of the Western World narrated by Michael Wood, lots of reading, long weekend trips to Canberra and Adelaide, the last couple of weekends spent putting together my assessment package for A Creative Approach, workshop, exhibitions, lectures, a couple of off-blog personal challenges, yada, yada. It’s time for some focus and discipline. Not an attractive thought, but necessary.
(1) Honour, H. and Fleming, J. (2009) A World History of Art (revised 7th edition). London: Laurence King. Page 185.
(2) Art Gallery Society of NSW [n.d.] Moderns Remastered: Sydney Encounters with Modernism, Modernity and Style Moderne. (flier for A Learning Curve Lecture Series) Sydney: Art Gallery Society of NSW.
UA1-WA:P1-p1 Project 1 Review
Understanding Art 1 – Western Art.
Part one: Classical and religious art.
Project one: Ancient Greece.